Clifford Chance has signalled its intention to build its European corporate practice by hiring four M&A partners to join its Amsterdam and Paris offices.
The firm has lured Tom de Waard and Hector de Beaufort from top Benelux firm Stibbe Simont Monahan Duhot to join its Amsterdam office.
And Marcus Billam and Frederic Peltier join the Paris office from leading French M&A firm Darrois Villey Maillot & Brochier.
Joachim Fleury, a Clifford Chance Amsterdam corporate partner, says: “They add to the general capacity, but in particular in IPO work.
“Internationally, we have a strong practice, but we haven't had the market reputation or the people to do the work in The Netherlands. They will make a big difference.
“They are very senior and have a strong reputation in the domestic market and it will be easier to tap the big Dutch corporates for their international work.”
De Waard is a former dean of the Dutch bar and is acting chairman of Stibbe Simont's local managing committee. His departure is understood to have rocked the firm, which a Dutch source says is “the Slaughter and May of The Netherlands”, because it relies on best friends' referrals rather than international mergers.
Billam and Peltier's arrival doubles the number of corporate partners in Paris.
Yves Wehrli, managing partner of the Paris office, says: “They will extend our capacity on stock exchange transactions. Peltier brings contentious expertise in the stock exchange field, which we were missing.
“The Paris corporate market is booming. There are a lot of takeovers and restructurings. French companies are quite active, and certain French companies are good targets for foreign investors.”
The four men are the first corporate partners to be hired by Clifford Chance since the firm's merger with Rogers & Wells and Punder Volhard Weber & Axster.
David Childs, head of the global corporate practice, says: “The tripartite merger has created the effect in the US and European recruitment markets we had anticipated. We expect to announce further senior lateral hires over the next few months.”