Links raids Giliberti for Milan push

Linklaters has stepped up its Italian push with the lateral hire of corporate partner Francesco Stella.

Stella has left Giliberti Pappalettera Triscornia e Associati, a one-time prospective merger partner for Linklaters, to join the magic circle firm’s practice in Milan. The two firms began talks in January 2006 after Linklaters split from long-term ally Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners, but the move never materialised.

Stella will work alongside two other partners that joined Linklaters from Italian firms last year: Giovanni Pedersoli who joined from Pedersoli e Associati and Luca Picone from Bonelli Erede Pappalardo.

The move brings the total number of partners in Linklaters’ Milan office to nine.

Linklaters is one of several City firms attempting to muscle in on the Italian market, which has been traditionally dominated by small local firms.

Rising associate salaries and several high-profile partner rifts have led to opportunities for global players.

Stella, who joins on 1 March, will focus on acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures. Linklaters said he would also work on real estate transactions, which are becoming increasingly important in Italy.

Italian co-managing partner Sarosh Mewawalla said: “The continuing development of our Italian practice is one of the firm’s priorities. Over the past 12 months we have grown rapidly in Italy in response to client demand.”