Latham scoops mammoth Russian IPO

Latham & Watkins has cemented itself as the go-to firm for Russian companies listing in London, landing a key role on the world’s biggest IPO this year.

The firm was lead counsel to Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB, in its $8bn (£4.04bn) London listing.

Linklaters also grabbed a role, advising underwriting banks Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Renaissance Capital in what is the first overseas listing by a Russian bank.

Latham often works with Linklaters on Russian listings, said corporate finance partner Lene Malthasen, who led the Latham team out of London with corporate finance partner Ian Clark. At Linklaters, capital markets partner Jason Manketo led the team.

As of last week, foreign companies listing in London must promise to keep UK standards of corporate governance. These new rules “were not unduly burdensome” to the listing, according to Malthasen, “given its considerable size, the listing process went very smoothly”.

Latham’s role follows its work on London’s first major listing of a foreign company this year, with the IPO of Russian technology group Sitronics (The Lawyer, 26 February).

Latham is VTB’s go-to firm and the relationship originated with Moscow managing partner Anya Goldin, who was also responsible for the $940m (£474.64m) IPO of Russia’s largest independent gas company Novatek.

VTB, which has a sizeable in-house legal team, is planning to open 180 retail branches in Russia over the next two years, on which Latham will also advise should there be any overseas elements.