Fred Heller leads the firm’s international finance practice from London and spends substantial time in Moscow.
Practice & Background
Mr. Heller has practiced in Europe for more than 20 years and served as partner in charge of the firm’s London office from 2001 to 2010. He has acted in significant financings and mergers and acquisitions in most emerging markets, including Russia, all CIS states, the Middle East, Africa and India, and in every European Union member state. He also acts for clients in European Commission merger, competition and regulatory proceedings.
Mr. Heller has participated in the growth of international telecommunications, from the introduction of competition to European state-owned operators in the early 1990s to the present liberalized environment. For the last ten years, he has advised VimpelCom Ltd., a leading international telecommunications company, in financing its expansion through Russia, the CIS, Africa, Asia and other emerging markets, as well as in the European Union. Previously he served as outside general counsel for Europe to an American telecommunications operator in its pursuit of mobile telecommunications licences and ventures in most EU member states.
Mr. Heller acts for issuers and borrowers in the full spectrum of debt financings, ranging from debt capital markets through syndicated, club, export credit and every other form of financing.
Mr. Heller is recognized by Chambers & Partners UK 2012 as a “Key Individual in Banking and Finance” in the London legal market. Chambers and Partners 2013 states that “Clients and peers speak of him highly: "I think he is excellent. If I was a corporate and I had a big financing I would want him. I think he very eloquently argued VimpelCom's point; he is a very effective negotiator”.”
Legal 500 UK reports “Fred Heller has a ‘very commercial and practical’ approach and advises a strong corporate client base including Russian telecoms operator OJSC VimpelCommunications.” Mr. Heller is also recognized in the two editions of Best Lawyers in the UK for mergers and acquisitions and listed in Legal Business Legal Experts for Corporate M&A.
Mr. Heller was a member of the London office team awarded both Corporate Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2012 and the 2011 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Award for Legal Innovation in Emerging Markets, for its representation of VimpelCom Ltd.’s $27.5 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom. He was also a member of the team named as runner-up in the IFLR Middle East Awards 2012 in the M&A Deal of the Year category for the demerger of Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. into two companies listed on the Egyptian Exchange with GRDs listed on the London Stock Exchange. .
Before joining Akin Gump in 2001, Mr. Heller practiced with another international law firm. He established and managed that firm’s Brussels office and, in 1997, moved to London to head its European offices.
Mr. Heller received his B.A. from Yale College and his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the State Bar of Georgia, is a Registered Foreign Lawyer with the Law Society of England and Wales and is a member of the B List of the Brussels Bar.
Before entering law school, Mr. Heller worked as a news reporter with The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Constitution, The New York Daily News and The Concord (N.H.) Daily Monitor.