Industry Frontline – October 2005

INDUSTRY FRONTLINE 2005-10-01 Staff Writer <b>McDermott Will hires private funds lawyer</b><br />Law firm McDermott Will & Emery has recruited Edwin Laurenson to its New York office. As a partner in McDermott's corporate department and as part of the firm's managed funds practice, Laure

McDermott Will hires private funds lawyer
Law firm McDermott Will & Emery has recruited Edwin Laurenson to its New York office. As a partner in McDermott’s corporate department and as part of the firm’s managed funds practice, Laurenson will advise clients on the regulation of public and private investment funds and investment advisory matters. In recent years, Lauren-son’s practice has focused on private funds – including private equity funds and hedge funds – and the application of the regulations governing those funds. Prior to joining McDermott, Laurenson was a partner within the corporate practice of international law firm Baker & McKenzie’s New York office.

Orrick opens Russia practice
International law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has created a 19-lawyer Russia practice to focus on clients active in Russian M&A, private equity and capital markets. The practice group will be spread across the firm’s Moscow, London, and Washington DC offices. The new Moscow office will be led by partner-in-charge John Sheedy and house 13 lawyers, including M&A and corporate restructuring expert Larisa Afanasyeva. Peter O’Driscoll – who specializes in Russian private equity, M&A and financing transactions -will head the Russia practice team in London.

Fulbright expands Texas investment practice
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, an international law firm, has added counsel Bryan Wittman to its office in San Antonio, Texas. Wittman was previously of counsel at Hughes & Luce law firm, and he has represented clients in private and public equity investments, as well as compliance with SOX and other securities regulations. Earlier this year, Fulbright added counsel Jennifer Nelson and senior associate Bryn Sappington to its Dallas office. Both Nelson and Sappington have advised private equity and venture capital funds in M&A and sales transactions.

Cadwalader strengthens corporate practice
Law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has added three attorneys as special counsel at its New York office. Loren Taub and David Viklund will join Cad-walader’s global finance department, while Terence Workman will join the firm’s capital markets department. Taub and Viklund’s expertise involve real estate, focusing on transactions involving institutional lenders and borrowers, including institutional real estate investors, opportunity funds and REITs. Workman specializes in advising issuers, borrowers, lenders and underwriters in municipal finance transactions.

Debevoise lawyer made partner
Geoffrey Kittredge, who works in the London office of international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, has been named partner. Kittredge is a member of the investment management and private equity groups in the corporate department. He focuses on advising institutional and independent sponsors of private equity funds in Europe and the US. Kittredge joined Debevoise in 1996 and has worked in the New York and Paris offices. He received his law degree from NYU. Among his recent clients have been Park Square Capital and Exponent Private Equity Partners.

Goodwin Procter builds leveraged finance practice
US law firm Goodwin Procter has expanded its leveraged finance practice by hiring partner V. Carl Walker to the firm’s New York office. In the past, Walker has represented both private and public clients in US and international M&A deals, as well as loan and mezzanine transactions. Walker was a partner at law firm Dorsey & Whitney’s New York office. Goodwin Procter, headquartered in Boston, specializes in providing services relating to private equity financial services, IT, REITs, and intellection property.

Patriot Capital recruits three from GE
Specialty lender Patriot Capital Funding has added three new hires to its team. Basem Pharaon, Andrew Brown, and Ryan Magee join Patriot Capital from the Global Sponsor Finance unit of GE Commercial Finance, where they focused on providing debt funding to private equity firms. Patriot Capital Funding, created and capitalized by middle market private investment firm The Compass Group in 2003, provides financing to private equity sponsors focused on making investments in SMEs. Led by president and CEO Richard Buck-anavage, the company has provided over $110 million in debt funding to date for transactions involving private equity. Patriot Capital Funding priced its initial public offering earlier this year and now trades on the NASDAQ National Market.

Probitas Partners grows
Global placement agency Probitas Partners has promoted Jeffrey Mills to the position of vice president. Mills is based in San Francisco, where he is a member of the firm’s project management and client relationship teams. To expand its project management practice, Probitas has also added Ellen Antrim and Patrick Deem as associates, bringing its San Francisco presence to 11 professionals. Probitas provides private placement and liquidity management services to private equity firms and operates out of offices in New York and London, in addition to its San Francisco headquarters. Recent clients of Probitas include KRG Capital Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, and ArcLight Capital Partners. Probitas is led by its founder and president, Michael Hoffman, who was previously a director at Credit Suisse First Boston’s private fund group. On a related note, Probitas’ headquarters has moved to a new San Francisco address at 425 California Street.

PR firm opens Hong Kong office
Financial Dynamics, a London-based business communications consultancy, is building up its presence in Asia by opening a Hong Kong office. The firm has hired Diana Footitt, former head of Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s operations in North Asia, to manage the firm’s Asia activities. Footitt was an early entrant to the investor relations advisory market in China and has advised transaction communications for investment bank clients in Hong Kong. Financial Dynamics’s CEO, Charles Watson, has stated that the firm intends to build up its presence in Asia – where the firm is already active in India – through additions to its Hong Kong team in the near future.

AlixPartners adds execs
AlixPartners, an international middle market turn-around advisory firm, has recruited a slew of new hires. Most recently, the firm installed Keith Williamson -formerly a forensic accountant at Deloitte & Touche – as a director in AlixPartners’s London office. Since May, other recent hires have included five directors to the New York office, two supply chain management executives and three directors to the Southfield, Michigan office, a former AT Kearney consumer goods and retail industry specialist as director in its London office, two directors to the Chicago office, and a director to its Milan office. Founded in 1981 by Jay Alix, AlixPartners focuses on corporate turnaround, performance improvement, and financial advisory for a variety of companies, including Fortune 1000 companies and private equity portfolio companies.

FTI rearranges corporate practice
FTI Consulting, Inc. has shifted three senior managing directors to its corporate finance and restructuring practice. Jerome Gold, David Smalsig, and Christopher Nicholls – all of whom previously held senior man-aging director positions within the firm – will join FTI’s corporate finance/restructuring practice. Gold, based in Los Angeles, comes from a private equity and communications background, having formerly served as CFO at Platinum Equity, as well as managing director of Gold International consultancy and CFO of Time Warner Music Group. Residing at FTI’s Chicago office, Smalsig was previously a director within PricewaterhouseCoopers’ transaction services group where he developed a considerable local private equity client base. Mean-while, New York-based Nicholls led GE Capital’s telecom risk management team before joining FTI. FTI provides advisory and technology services to large corporations, financial institutions, and law firms, and operates from offices in the US, Europe, and Australia.

JPMorgan appoints new European financial sponsor group leader
At global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co, Larry Slaughter has been selected as head of the firm’s European financial sponsor group, which provides financial advisory services to private equity firms. Slaughter will take over the responsibilities of John Coyle, who was recently appointed the global head of JPMorgan’s financial sponsor activities and will move to the firm’s New York office. Slaughter joined JPMorgan in 1987 and was most recently co-head of JPMorgan’s European M&A group.

BofA adds to financial sponsor group
Financial services company Banc of America Securities LLC has added Suhail Shaikh as managing director in charge of the firm’s financial sponsors corporate and investment banking group. Shaikh joins the New York office of Banc of America Securities from CIBC World Markets, where he served as executive director in the firm’s leveraged finance and financial sponsors group.

Christian & Timbers acquires search firm

Christian & Timbers, an executive search firm headquartered in New York, is expanding its capacity to cater to the demand for global chief human resources officers through the acquisition of Feehan Barr Partners. New York-based Feehan Barr, created by co-founders Bill Feehan and Dan Barr in 2001, specializes in human resource executive search. Since its creation, Feehan Barr has grown to a team of six professionals who possess industry experience in early stage ventures, business processes outsourcing, capital markets, and life sciences. Through the acquisition, Christian & Timbers will expand its New York presence and continue adding highly specialized global practice groups to its business.

Researchers launch biotech due diligence venture

London-based researchers have launched a new venture, Bio Life Technical, to provide independent due diligence services to investors involved in the medical device technology sector. Researchers at Bio Life Technical include Chris Toumazou and Sir Magdi Yacoub, both professors at Imperial College in London. In addition to offering technical due diligence from researchers in the field, Bio Life Technical will also provide quantitative estimates of the commercial value for medical devices at the pre-development stage, without having to rely on the financial inputs typically required for the calculations. The venture will specialize in nanotechnology and personalized healthcare technology, targeting VC groups, investment banks, business angels, and institutional investors as its client base.

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