London Finance Practice Sees Stellar Start to 2019
Despite the general leveraged finance market softness in the first quarter of 2019, the Ropes & Gray London-based finance team has seen a very busy first half of 2019. The seven-strong partner team of English and US qualified lawyers, supported by one counsel and 16 associates, advised clients covering a broad range of sectors, including telecoms, content, consumer products, healthcare and education. Ropes & Gray acted on approximately $9.6 billion aggregate principal amount of transactions, covering the full spectrum of leveraged finance products: syndicated loans, high yield bonds and privately placed credit, tapping both the US and European debt markets.
The first half of the year saw Ropes & Gray complete several transactions for its marquee repeat issuer-side clients such as Cable & Wireless, Altice France, Altice USA, VodafoneZiggo and Virgin Media with issuances in the high yield and syndicated term loan B markets. Partners Malcolm Hitching and, recent addition to the team, Carol Van der Vorst, complemented the traditional strength of Ropes & Gray’s US and UK-based private equity transactions practice generating financing deal flow from clients such as Silverfleet Capital (CARE Fertility), Epiris (Diamorph), Fortress, CCMP and TPG.
Ropes & Gray has also continued to expand its London client base into new segments of the leveraged finance market in 2019, with a string of recent mandates advising credit fund lenders and investment banks. Led by partner Alex Robb, the firm has carried the momentum from its credit fund representations in 2018 (junior debt financings for Alloheim, Sunrise Medical, Itiviti, The Binding Site and Boparan, among others) into 2019, with the representation of Bain Capital Credit and Intermediate Capital Group in connection with the financing of the acquisition of Study Group by Ardian. On the investment bank side, partner Carol Van der Vorst has landed mandates on several sponsor-led buyouts and a recently announced take-private by its founding shareholder, continuing to grow Ropes & Gray’s market share of underwriter-side representations. In addition, together with counsel Alexandru Mocanu, she demonstrated her well-rounded finance background in executing the €1.9 billion infrastructure financing to fund the deployment of fibre-to-the-home infrastructure by SFR FTTH.
Michael Kazakevich, Global Co-Head of Finance at Ropes & Gray, said: “I am very proud of the strides the London Finance Group has made in the last year as we build the breadth of our offering of cutting-edge legal advice across the debt financing product range. We added some significant pieces through lateral hires and promoted several talented lawyers to partner, which has positioned us to capitalise on the significant opportunities we see for further growth in this market. I believe the deal flow we have seen in the first half of this year is just the beginning as our talented team of lawyers continues to provide an elite level of service and responsiveness in meeting the financing needs of our growing list of clients.”