Private equity transactions are becoming increasingly complex and, consequently, the role of expert advisors has become important in this field. Preqin’s Buyout Deals Analyst online service reveals information about 1,320 law firms which have together advised on over 7,100 private equity deals, on either the buy-side or sell-side. The highest number of firms (246) are based in the US, followed by 131 UK-based advisors.
Unsurprisingly, the top 10 legal advisors to private equity firms in 2014 by aggregate number and value of deals are primarily based in the US and UK. The only non-UK/US-based advisor to secure its place in the top 10 is Canada-based Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg; this is largely due to its involvement in the mega add-on of Tim Hortons by 3G Capital-backed Burger King. Other legal advisors involved in the deal on the buy-side were Kirkland & Ellis as well as Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
With regards to private equity deals that involved the highest number of law firms on both the buy-side and sell-side, the following three public-to-private transactions top Preqin’s list:
1) The acquisition of Focus Media by Carlyle Group, FountainVest Partners, CITIC Capital and China Everbright alongside company management, announced in December 2012 (number of law firms involved: 14);
2) The acquisition of Giant Interactive Group by Baring Private Equity Asia, CDH Investments and Hony Capital alongside company management, announced in March 2014 (number of law firms involved: 13);
3) The acquisition of Chemspec International Limited by Primavera Capital-backed Halogen Limited, announced in March 2011 (number of law firms involved: 10)