Spearheading Olswang’s push into Malaysia is all in a day’s work for Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand. Not only has she carved out a role for herself advising Malaysian companies across South-East Asia, but she plays a key role in joining the dots between the firm’s London headquarters and its Singapore office, which opened in 2012.
A qualified barrister who practised at Malaysian firm Shook Lin & Bok for 12 years, in February 2013 Ariffin-Boromand left Fasken Martineau to join Olswang.
As well as helping Malaysian companies – particularly those in Olswang’s TMT sweet spot – float on Aim or invest in the UK, Ariffin-Boromand chairs the Overseas Malaysian Executive Council, which helps to foster connections with UK professionals. No doubt her fluency in both Malay and Bahasa-Indonesian helps those relationships along.
Allen & Overy (A&O) corporate partner Edward Barnett had a stellar 2013. While developing the firm’s relationships with key clients GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Morgan Stanley and Thomson Reuters, he was also busy building the magic circle firm’s corporate technology group, taking the lead on confidential investments for Facebook and Symantec.
Most notable was advising GSK on one of the biggest deals of 2013. Worth a whopping £1.35bn, Barnett led on GSK’s sale of British brands Lucozade and Ribena to Japanese consumer goods company Suntory Beverage & Food.
The transaction, which closed at the end of 2013, points to a growing trend in Japanese investment across the UK and Europe and, says Barnett, a shift in strategic buyers returning to the market.
We’ll raise a glass of squash to that.
William Hill had a busy 2013, making a £485m joint bid with GVC Holdings for Sportingbet, acquiring Playtech’s stake in its online joint venture for £424m and coming up with a strategy for funding both deals.
And it knew where to turn for legal advice. Ashurst corporate partner Jonathan Earle spent a big chunk of 2013 leading the firm’s advice on all of the transactions, while simultaneously running its relationships with Markit, National Express and Laird.
That was all fresh from advising on the £572m contested takeover of GlobeOp by SS&C in 2012 alongside former global corporate head Stephen Lloyd – one of the few properly contested M&A bids in recent years. Earle is set to remain a cornerstone of the corporate practice in the coming year.
Some criticise single-site firm Macfarlanes for its lack of international presence. But one man has gone the extra mile to prove it has just as much global clout as its multi-office rivals.
As a member of the firm’s international committee, corporate partner Graham Gibb works to ensure Macfarlanes’ global strategy is on course.
His efforts were vindicated in 2013 when he was instructed to play a leading role, alongside senior partner Charles Martin, on one of the biggest corporate deals ever – advising Verizon Communications on its purchase of Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless for $130bn.
Although the mega-deal ate up most of Gibb’s time, he also managed to squeeze in advising on a multi-jurisdictional deal spanning five African countries, as well as a slew of instructions for South-East Asian investors.
Emma Gibson spent six years as a successful businesswoman in the leisure sector before switching to law.
She is now a highly regarded private equity lawyer and heads the Shoosmiths’ Thames Valley corporate group.
In a particularly successful year for Gibson, her team completed 15 deals last year, many of which ran consecutively.
Highlights included the £111m sale of domiciliary care services provider Enara Group to Mitie Group and advising Minerva Education Finance on the acquisition of Palatinate Schools Holdings.
Gibson is also director of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and voluntarily chairs the partnership’s Access to Finance group, which helps to provide funding strategies for small and start-up businesses.
When Squire Sanders decided it would split its global corporate group along regional lines, there was an obvious candidate to head the EMEA team. That person was Manchester office head Jane Haxby, who in July this year took on the brand new role.
Haxby is charged with developing the links between the firm’s various EMEA offices and is intent on making herself as accessible as possible. She continues to practise, with deals in the past year including the £100m acquisition of Cardpoint Services by Nasdaq-listed Card-tronics.
She is one of the few women to take on such a high-profile appointment in an international firm, proving a great role model for Squire Sanders’ younger female corporate lawyers.
Walker Morris corporate partner Debbie Jackson had a busy year last year on the back of her developing niche in the consumer credit and technology sectors.
With both sectors now ripe for consolidation, Jackson is picking up instructions from clients regionally, nationally and internationally.
Her clients in the past few months have included Nasdaq-listed EZCorp, which acquired a 72 per cent stake in UK payday loans company Cash Genie; search engine optimisation company Branded3, which was bought by St Ives Group; and most recently, UK-listed InTechnology, which sold subsidiary InTechnology Managed Services to Redcentric for £65m.
Jackson’s deal list might not be crammed with mega-deals, but it is crammed, and with her expertise in growing areas, the work is set to keep on coming.
RPC corporate insurance head James Mee is a driving force behind the firm’s strong growth in corporate work. In 2012, Mee led an RPC team advising Swedish company Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget on its £1.1bn acquisition of Georgia-Pacific’s European tissue operations in a deal that spanned 22 jurisdictions and won the firm Corporate Team of the Year (mid-cap) at The Lawyer Awards 2012.
Last year, Mee continued to advise on a string of high-value transactions, including acting for Dutch firm ANV on the merger of its Lloyd’s managing agency operations with Jubilee Managing Agency to create a new underwriting business with capacity of more than £400m.
As well as advising on transactions, Mee is recognised as an advocate for promoting diversity in the insurance industry.
Floating Royal Mail on the stock exchange was never going to be easy – as one of the most talked-about corporate transactions of 2013, it required the brightest minds in the law. Step forward Slaughter and May equity capital markets specialist John Papanichola.
Papanichola was supremely qualified to lead on the deal, having helped steer insurer Esure towards an IPO back in March 2013.
Over the past year he also advised on the refinancing of online grocery business Ocado, having helped it with its flotation three years ago.
As the IPO market continues to warm up, Papanichola is no doubt in for a busy 2014.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) co-head of nuclear Julia Pyke had quite a year in 2013, advising long-standing client EDF on its £16bn deal to build the UK’s first nuclear power plant for a generation.
The development of two European pressurised reactors at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset came saddled with a wide spectrum of legal issues, with Pyke and her team needing to work closely with EDF’s in-house legal department to make sure that the processes put in place went as smoothly as possible.
The deal was unique in that it involved the first funded decommissioning programme to be developed under the Energy Act 2008, the first contract for the transfer of waste and the first UK financing of privately built nuclear reactors.
“Getting a project of this size and complexity to its current milestone is a huge achievement for all
involved,” Pyke told The Lawyer last year. Hear hear.
Slaughter and May
Playing a lead role on the biggest corporate deal of 2013 would be more than enough to keep most lawyers busy.
But not Slaughter and May partner Roland Turnill. As well his work advising Vodafone on the disposal of its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for a whopping $130bn, he also acted for longstanding client Aegis on its £3.2bn takeover by Japanese advertising agency Dentsu.
In May, Turnill also advised his regular client Santander on the sale of half of the bank’s asset management arm to private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.
When not sitting behind the board table, Turnill is a member of the Commerce & Industry Group Corporate Governance Committee and a trustee of London Youth Rowing.
As co-head of global chemicals at Linklaters, Sarah Wiggins has a big task on her hands. And as the lead relationship partner for BP she is kept even busier.
In the past 12 months Wiggins has worked on the sale of the company’s interest in TNK-BP and has just spent eight months on secondment at BP’s head office dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
She is also one of the firm’s lead relationship partners for UK accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers and has recently been working for the accountancy firm on a number of matters involving sub-Saharan African.
On top of all this she has also found the time to develop Linklaters’ aspiring non-executive directors training programme with CASS Business School and
she sits on a steering committee that is aimed at bringing more women on to the UK’s corporate boards.