Weil to shed clients in private equity reshuffle

Weil Gotshal & Manges

is realigning its London private equity practice around a core group of premium clients in the ongoing battle to become the number-one private equity firm in the City.

The US firm is looking to reduce the number of clients serviced by the booming London-based group to an as yet unspecified number in a bid to bolster its profitability and avoid ‘diluting’ its service.

Partner Mark Soundy explained that the refocusing was driven in part by the London private equity team receiving a series of first-time instructions from 30 private equity and hedge fund clients over the last 18 months.

“We’ve been slightly too successful in selling ourselves and we’re just trying to rein that in,” he said. “That’s probably been accelerated by Marco [Compagnoni’s] team joining. We have to figure out what’s core and what’s not.”

Although the list of core clients is still under debate, it is likely that the team will focus on those such as Apax Partners, Advent, Lion Capital, HM Capital and HgCapital.

The aim is to cover a wide spectrum of deals from mid-market and top-tier private equity houses and hedge funds based in the UK, US, Continental Europe and other international jurisdictions.

The refocusing comes after a successful year for the London team. Most notably it has replaced Lovells on the panel of both HgCapital (The Lawyer, 17 July) and Advent (The Lawyer, 29 May) following the hire of Compagnoni and his team in February.

But this does follow a difficult period in 2005 for Weil, when the London private equity team was only successful in a third of its 160 instructions.