Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s London office is the focal point for the firm’s international practice. The firm’s strategy in London has been to grow practices that complement core strengths of the firm. This has resulted in the growth of a fully integrated office practicing at the top of its markets. The core strengths on which the office is founded are corporate transactions (including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and private equity) in emerging markets, debt and equity capital markets, energy, finance, investment funds (hedge and private equity), disputes and tax. The integrated nature of the practice means that the lawyers based in London work closely on a regular basis with their counterparts in the firm’s other international practices as well as those in the firm’s U.S. offices.
The corporate practice in London regularly advises on market-leading cutting-edge transactions in, or relating to, emerging markets. It includes transactional work (M&A, joint ventures and other corporate transactions) and capital market deals.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Corporate lawyers in London have advised on a wide range of M&A deals in a variety of sectors. The team has very strong experience in the energy and telecommunications sectors. The vast majority of the team’s work is in, or relates to, emerging markets transactions. The firm has a strong track record in Russia and the CIS and an impressive list of Russian corporate clients, including one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators, VimpelCom Ltd, and two of the largest Russian oil companies, LUKOIL Oil Company and Surgutneftegas. The group was named ‘Corporate Law – Emerging Markets Law Firm of the Year 2011’ at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards for its successful representation of long-standing client VimpelCom Ltd. in its $27.5 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom and was also named Corporate Team of the Year by Legal Business. The practice has expanded in recent years to include Middle East transactions and deals in Asia. The firm also has a growing India practice.
The firm’s capital markets practice is integrated with its corporate practice. Consistent with the strategy of the office, it capitalizes on areas where the firm has significant knowledge. Accordingly, it represents issuers from emerging markets (or whose principal asset is in an emerging market), energy companies, telecommunications businesses and investment funds. Its experience extends to offerings on the Official List of the London Stock Exchange, AIM and the Specialist Funds Market in London, Euronext in the Netherlands and the RTS and MICEX in Moscow.
The London office has extensive experience in all aspects of the energy industry, including oil and gas, power and renewable energy. Our experience includes mergers and acquisitions; project development and finance; upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas transactions; sales and marketing agreements; energy dispute resolution; and LNG projects. We have the leading energy practice in Russia, having been involved in several “firsts” in Russia, including the first public listing of a Russian energy company’s securities on a Western stock exchange. Additionally, we recently advised long-standing client ExxonMobil in its ground-breaking $3.2 billion joint venture with Rosneft in the Russian Arctic.
The finance team has an extensive international banking and finance practice, providing advice on secured and unsecured bank finance; offerings, placements and listings of debt securities; and hedging arrangements. We primarily represent corporate borrowers, including portfolio companies, raising finance in the international debt and capital markets. In addition, we represent a variety of clients, including financial institutions and private equity and hedge funds, on complex structured finance transactions and financial derivatives.
Investment Funds and Private Equity
Akin Gump’s global alternative investment funds practice is widely recognized as a world leader in the areas of hedge funds, private equity funds and other alternative investment funds. We provide advice and support on structuring, establishment and capital-raising for alternative investment funds implementing hedge fund strategies and also those funds investing in private equity, distressed debt and other credit-led opportunities, real estate and a broad range of other asset classes. We advise fund managers on the structuring of their own businesses, as well as provide support in a wide range of areas in connection with the trading and investment of fund assets. This includes providing advice on compliance-related matters, ranging from licensing and registration requirements in all jurisdictions in which we operate to the application of law and regulation to our clients’ investment and trading activities. We have significant knowledge and experience in advising our clients on their fund-raising activities and negotiations with investors, including the creation of bespoke products and accounts for particular investors. We are also experienced in negotiating relationships with trading counterparties, prime brokers, financing providers, experienced custodians, administrators and other service providers for funds managed by our clients.
We work closely with a number of trade bodies around the globe to help our clients address the challenges of the rapid implementation of global regulatory change affecting the alternative asset management industry. In particular, we are advising a significant number of the world’s leading alternative investment managers on adapting their businesses in a number of locations to address the requirements of SEC and CFTC registration, compliance with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers’ Directive and revisions to the Markets and Financial Instruments Directive regime.
Our litigation practice in London focuses on complex, high-value English law disputes, typically with an international aspect. We are involved in many of the highest-profile disputes in London, spanning energy, telecommunications, construction, M&A, investment funds and shareholder issues. For example, we currently act for Petrobras in its $500 million litigation concerning the P36 production platform, described in The Times newspaper as “the world’s largest oil platform dispute.” We also regularly work alongside local counsel in handling litigation in other jurisdictions, notably India.
Our international arbitration practice in London focuses on English law disputes and has extensive experience under all major institutional rules. Recent London arbitrations we have handled range from the successful defense of a $19 billion corporate-shareholder dispute to debt recovery proceedings in which several million dollars are at stake. Much of our practice involves working in teams drawn from across Akin Gump’s global network, including other arbitration practitioners operating out of the firm’s offices in Geneva, Abu Dhabi, Moscow, Beijing and the United States.
The international tax team, based in the London and Geneva offices, advises Swiss and international clients, including European, Middle Eastern and U.S. investment banks, asset management companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and other similar businesses on operational and transactional tax issues, including tax-efficient structuring and transfer pricing. The London office also provides advice to high-net-worth individuals regarding tax planning and offshore trusts, as well as corporate and individual representation, in conjunction with our offices in the United States, in disputes with taxation authorities.
Our London anticorruption practice has acted for numerous clients in formulating and implementing policies and procedures and in advising generally on the UK Bribery Act 2010 and related law. Many organizations require compliance with both English and U.S. law in this area, so our London practice frequently works together with colleagues in our U.S. FCPA practice to provide a client-friendly “one-stop shop.”
Trade controls and sanctions
Our London trade control and sanctions practice advises on English and EU law and works closely with our market-leading practitioners in the United States and Abu Dhabi to provide a ‘joined-up’ service with global reach.
Recent Accolades and Rankings
“Corporate Team of the Year” at the Legal Business Awards 2012
Winner of Corporate Law – Emerging Markets Law Firm of the Year at the 2011 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards
Lawyers in the London office provide legal services through Akin Gump LLP, practising under the name Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Akin Gump LLP is a New York limited liability partnership and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 267321. A list of the partners is available for inspection at Eighth Floor, Ten Bishops Square, London E1 6EG.