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London office steps in after lack of resources forces Freshfields to refuse work
White & Case's London office has taken its first instruction from CIBC World Market's collateralised debt obligation (CDO) practice after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer turned down the work because it did not have the resources. Structured finance partner Rich Reilly led the team advising CIBC as arranger on a tap issue for Duchess I, a CDO by Duke Street Debt Capital Management. The tap issue, which is worth e250m (£152.5m), makes Duchess I the largest CDO in Europe. It is also the first ever tap issue in a CDO transaction and a resolution had to be passed before it could be authorised. Reilly said: "CIBC came to us on 1 December and said that it needed the work done very quickly. We had three partners and six or seven associates working round the clock for a week." Freshfields, led by structured finance partner Simeon Rudin, advised CIBC on the original structure for the deal. However, CIBC managing director of asset securitisation Simon Perry said that when the bank asked Freshfields to do the tap issue, it claimed it was unable to do it in the necessary timeframe. Freshfields partner David Trott said: "The team was busy in December and did not have the capability available for the quick turnaround needed." White & Case has strong links on the CDO side with CIBC in the US. However, in London its relationship is on the leveraged finance side. CIBC has a formal UK panel which includes Freshfields, but which is understood not to include White & Case. However, the CIBC relationship with White & Case has been strengthened by the recruitment of Reilly, who joined the firm from Weil Gotshal & Manges' New York office last year. At Weil Gotshal, Reilly advised the monoline insurer Financial Security Assurance, which guaranteed the bond issue on the original Duchess transaction and he therefore knew the structure of the deal well. CIBC is currently instructing the London office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood on a CDO called AIG Mezzvest. However, White & Case is expected to attract further work on the back of this transaction. Duke Street was advised by Clifford Chance, led by partner Neil Hamilton.