Ashurst, Freshfields triumph over CC and Travers on new Apax panel

Ashurst and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have made it onto Apax Partners’ much-anticipated panel, knocking out longtime advisers Clifford Chance and Travers Smith Braithwaite.

The result is a huge boost for Freshfields, where the Apax relationship has mainly been linked to Germany through the firm’s former co-head of private equity Peter Nussbaum and Apax chief executive Martin Halusa.

However, Nussbaum left for Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy in May.
At this stage, it is not clear which firm is primary or secondary adviser on the panel for leveraged transaction deals over £100m.

For Clifford Chance, especially David Pearson, managing partner of the London corporate practice and relationship partner for Apax, the outcome of the drawn-out review is a devastating blow. The firm has worked for the private equity group for a number of years.

However, sources say that the panel, overseen by Stephen Green, head of the financial services group and a director in the leveraged transaction group, will be reviewed. Travers’ chances of making the panel were knocked when the firm lost client partner Mark Soundy last month.

Allen & Overy also pitched but missed out on a place.

The Lawyer revealed (17 May) that, as part of a clause in their agreements, panel firms had to have a “key man”, ie a chief representative, for Apax.

It is understood that at Freshfields this role will be shared by banking partner David Ereira and corporate partner Christopher Bown. At Ashurst, it is thought that either head of M&A and private equity Charlie Geffen or corporate partner Stephen Lloyd will be the key representative.

Freshfields and Ashurst declined to comment. Apax was unavailable for comment.