Weil US rescue party flies in for private equity push

Weil Gotshal & Manges

is enlisting the assistance of its US partners in attacking the UK private equity market after a disappointing set of results, which lagged 6 per cent behind budget.

Revenue in London crept up 4 per cent to £54m and profit per equity partner inched up 4 per cent to £853,000 when both were expected to rise by 10 per cent.

London managing partner Mike Francies explained that, while the figures were disappointing, 2005 had still been a successful year for the London office after securing mandates from a string of new clients such as Candover and Bridgepoint.

He said the office received 160 new mandates last year, signalling an upswing in corporate and private equity instructions, but it had only managed to close less than one in three deals.

The results follow a refocusing of Weil’s private equity group in a bid to achieve its stated ambition of becoming the world’s number one private equity firm. Its recent recruitment of Lovells partner Marco Compagnoni, as first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (2 February), was a significant step towards achieving this aim in London.

As part of this ambitious strategy, co-head of US private equity James Westra and co-head of the global corporate group Barry Wolf are spending an increasing amount of time in the UK and Europe to cross-sell the firm’s expertise internationally.

Westra was appointed co-head of US private equity, along with Glenn West, who is licensed in England, last year as part of the strategy. At the same time, Wolf was appointed co-head of the global corporate group, into which private equity falls, along with Thomas Roberts.