Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s London office is the hub for the firm’s international practice. The firm’s strategy in London is to grow practices that complement its core strengths. This has resulted in the growth of a fully integrated office advising clients at the top of their respective markets. The core strengths on which the office is founded are financial restructuring, corporate transactions (including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and private equity), finance, global project finance, energy, debt and equity capital markets, securitisation, financial services regulatory, disputes and international arbitration, investment funds (hedge, private equity, real estate and infrastructure), EU competition, international trade and tax. The integrated nature of the practice means that our London lawyers work closely, and on a regular basis, with their counterparts across the globe.
We are widely recognised for our representation of creditors in financial restructurings, with a deep bench of lawyers across Europe, the United States and Asia.
Our financial restructuring team has played leading roles acting for groups of bondholders, noteholders and mezzanine lenders in the largest and most complex international restructurings around the world, many of which have broken new ground, from our representation of bondholders in the benchmark Marconi restructuring in 2002-2003, to the resolution of the Icelandic banks’ bond obligations from the banks’ collapse in 2008, resulting in a consensual solution for all three banks in 2016.
We work with many of the world’s leading financial institutions on their stressed and distressed investments, and in maximising the value of those investments, and we are particularly effective at harmonising divergent interests and building consensus.
We have extensive experience in a wide range of industries, including traditional and renewable energy, financial services, offshore oil and gas, shipping, manufacturing, insurance, telecommunications and transportation. Akin Gump was named Restructuring Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2016 and was named Insolvency and Restructuring Firm of the Year in 2015 and 2016 by Who’s Who Legal. In addition, in the last two years, the team has won awards from Financial News, IFLR and The American Lawyer. Our team and its members are consistently Band 1 ranked for Restructuring and Insolvency in the leading industry directories Chambers UK, Legal 500 UK and IFLR1000, and we are the only firm to be top-ranked by Chambers in both London and New York.
Our London corporate team principally advises on high-end corporate work, including public/private mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and takeovers, debt for equity swaps, schemes of arrangement and strategic corporate advice.
We also represent numerous multibillion dollar investment funds on special situation investments, distressed investing (and subsequent exits), merger arbitrage and activist situations, and equity restructurings, as well as domestic and cross-border regulatory and policy issues.
The London team is a recognised player in international private equity transactions and focuses on matters in Russia and the CIS, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and other emerging markets, setting us apart from other leading international firms. The team has very strong M&A experience in the energy and telecommunications sectors and has a strong track record in Russia and the CIS with an impressive list of Russian corporate clients, including one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators, VEON, and two of the largest Russian oil companies, LUKOIL Oil Company and Surgutneftegas.
The firm’s capital markets practice is integrated with its corporate practice. We represent issuers from emerging markets (or whose principal asset is in an emerging market), energy companies, telecommunications businesses, asset managers and investment funds in connection with equity and debt offerings on the Official List of the London Stock Exchange, AIM and the Specialist Funds Market in London, the New York Stock Exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Euronext in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and the Moscow Exchange.
The team also has considerable experience representing underwriters, nominated advisors and placing agents.
Often at the centre of today’s most complex and innovative transactions, our top-tier, multidisciplinary finance team is dedicated to advising clients on precedent-setting new financings, workouts and restructurings in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.
We represent major international banks, investors and borrowers in relation to the full range of debt financings, including secured and unsecured, syndicated and bilateral, investment grade and leveraged, and senior and mezzanine, often involving warrants, options and other equity instruments; distressed and “rescue” financings; structured finance, including securitisations, structured financings, derivative products and asset based financings; and institutional private placements, for which we are a market leader advising UK and US institutional investors in cross-border private placements typically involving the issuance of long-term, investment-grade debt instruments that are issued by UK and other European-listed companies.
Global Project Finance
Our Global Project Finance team advises clients on power generation projects encompassing gas, coal, oil, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal and biomass technologies as well as waste-to-energy projects. We also advise clients on embedded generation projects, energy storage, transmission and distribution projects, including the range of services to grid required as a result of the increasing role played by renewable technologies in the generation mix. In addition to our work in the power sector, our team advises on oil and gas, process plant and petrochemical projects as well as infrastructure project financings across multiple asset classes including transportation, defence, waste and water.
The London office’s clients include developers, funds and lenders, as well as governments and contractors, and much of the team’s recent work has been in sub-Saharan Africa, where we have substantial experience in DFI-funded power projects involving the IFC, AfDB, EBRD, EIB, OPIC, Proparco, BDEAC, FMO, DEG, Swedfund and EAIF.
The global project finance team has a particular expertise in advising funds on the acquisition, disposal or restructuring of energy and infrastructure-related project portfolios which have been financed on a limited recourse basis.
Akin Gump’s global investment management practice is widely recognised as a world leader in the areas of hedge funds, private equity funds and other alternative investment funds.
Our London team, which includes both UK and US qualified lawyers, provides advice and support on structuring, establishment and capital-raising for alternative investment funds implementing a wide range of hedge fund strategies and also funds investing in private equity, listed shares, distressed debt and other credit-led opportunities, real estate, infrastructure and a broad range of other asset classes.
We advise fund managers on the structuring of their own businesses, including incentive arrangements for key personnel, as well as provide support in a wide range of areas in connection with the trading and investment of fund assets.
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, including club deals, platforms, programs and funds-of-one. 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 have in-depth experience with emerging markets funds, including designing structures that are tax-efficient and address the limitations on inward investment funds in many developing countries. We are familiar with the issues that arise under local laws and how they have been solved, and we know the special risks of emerging economies and how to address them.
Working closely with lawyers in Europe, the United States and Asia, we provide 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 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 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) registration, compliance with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers’ Directive and revisions to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive regime.
The top-rated London office team has extensive experience in all aspects of the energy industry, including oil and gas, power and renewable energy. Our experience includes M&A, project development and finance; upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas transactions; sales and marketing agreements; energy dispute resolution; and LNG projects.
The team works closely with the restructuring practice on energy matters — particularly in Scandinavia — has acted for bondholders on more than 40 financial restructurings and workouts in the offshore oil and gas, energy and mining sectors in recent years, making Akin Gump a go-to firm for energy restructurings, especially in the high-yield bond market. The team has advised — and continues to advise — bondholders or lenders on the majority of the European oil and gas restructurings since the downturn in oil prices, including all of the major exploration and production restructurings.
Further, we have extensive experience in transactions in emerging and frontier markets, including throughout Africa. We also 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.
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 financial institutions, energy, telecommunications, construction, M&A, civil fraud, investment funds and shareholder issues.
On the finance side, our key strengths include distressed debt, financial restructuring, shareholder activism and insolvency litigation; sovereign disputes; disputes involving complex creditor arrangements; complex, multiparty and cross-border disputes; and international asset-recovery.
In energy, we have a leading practice in oil and gas and power disputes and, in recent years, have handled some of the most important and highest-value cases in the world.
Our international arbitration team in London is part of our global arbitration practice. Our London team handles a broad range of complex international disputes, including both English law commercial arbitrations and investment treaty arbitrations. The team acts on arbitrations under all of the major institutional rules and has particular experience in oil and gas, power, large-scale infrastructure, engineering and construction projects, joint ventures and cross-border investments. Our London arbitration partners are highly ranked in the legal directories, both in energy and construction disputes.
Chambers UK: “Prominent international practice with a strong reputation for advising top-drawer clients on large infrastructure and oil and gas projects worldwide”
Legal 500 UK: “The practice stands out for energy and telecoms disputes”
Much of our practice involves working in teams drawn from across Akin Gump’s global network, including other experienced arbitration practitioners operating out of the firm’s offices in the United States, Geneva, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Hong Kong.
Financial Services Regulatory
Our financial services regulatory practice advises clients (which include institutional and alternative investment managers, retail and investment banks, brokerages and senior individuals) on all aspects of the UK and EU financial services regulatory framework.
We have taken a leading role in advising the financial services industry on regulatory actions and the impact of EU legislation (including the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and the Market Abuse Directive). We frequently work with colleagues operating in the United States and Asia on cross-border financial services advisory matters and investigations to provide clients with a fully integrated set of legal services focused on securities law, compliance and regulation.
Our contentious team, which is praised by Chambers UK for being “highly effective on big regulatory investigations,” is consistently recognised as a market leader for enforcement and investigations work, with an in-depth understanding gained from years of experience working at the regulators and for regulated businesses.
Our team can assist with all aspects of dealing with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), including investigations, information requests, product intervention queries, broader supervisory enquiries and thematic reviews, and s166 reports.
Our highly regarded non-contentious advisory team provides practical, time-sensitive guidance on all aspects of financial regulation in the United Kingdom and the EU, ensuring that clients meet their obligations in an environment of constant regulatory change.
Our team is consulted by clients’ senior management and compliance teams on the conduct of financial services business in the United Kingdom and Europe, often on a cross-border basis, and advises on issues including the requirement for, and obtainment of, authorisation; the control and ownership of financial services firms; markets and trading; the development of financial products and services; the implementation of governance systems and controls; the FCA/PRA approved person regime; the FCA conduct of business rules; market abuse and market conduct rules; and the marketing of financial services and products in the United Kingdom and internationally.
Our EU/UK competition law practice advises on complex mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint ventures; technology transfer and IP licensing; cartels and behavioral matters; investigations by government agencies and regulators; competition law damages claims and disputes; and state aid/restructuring.
Our clients include multinationals, telecommunications and energy utilities, corporates, hedge fund managers, private equity houses and investment banks active globally.
We advise clients before the European Commission and other EU institutions, the Competition and Markets Authority, Office of Communications (OFCOM), Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) and the Competition Appeal Tribunal, as well as litigating before the European and UK courts.
We provide strategic, regulatory advice across a wide number of industries, including, inter alia, communications/telecoms, financial services, energy, technology and environmental.
Our UK practice expands our antitrust and unfair competition group in the United States to a broader base of EU clients.
Our international tax team, based in the London and Geneva offices, represents corporate groups and financial institutions, including European, Middle Eastern and US investment banks; asset management companies; hedge funds; private equity firms; and other similar businesses in restructurings and reorganisations, M&A, financings, fund structuring and transfer pricing.
The team 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 tax authorities.
We also provide stand-alone tax consultancy services and represent clients on tax audits, enquiries and litigation.
Much of our work has a significant international aspect, and we work closely with leading local counsel to provide a fully integrated service on cross-border projects.
Our practice reflects the focused nature of the firm and is shaped toward providing innovative and practical tax solutions in a commercial context and delivering the highest-quality tax advice and service to our clients.
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 organisations require compliance with both English and US law in this area, so our London practice frequently works together with colleagues in our US FCPA practice to provide a client-friendly “one-stop shop.”
Our international trade practice focuses on European international trade and regulatory issues, including customs, trade remedies, export controls, sanctions, anti-bribery/anti-money laundering and product regulatory matters.
Our practice has a strong footprint in the commodity trading, healthcare, hi-tech, offshore and oil and gas sectors. Our lawyers have extensive practical experience in the interaction between European and US customs, export controls and sanctions regulations, as well as integrated European/US corporate compliance.
We have excellent working relationships with authorities in The Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, Germany and France, and we support many multinationals’ global supply chains by negotiating customs rulings (e.g., on valuation and classification), and managing export controls and sanctions license portfolios.
As well as providing general trade compliance advice, we assist clients with drafting and implementing compliance programs, providing internal trainings and conducting government and internal investigations and audits, including preparing and filing voluntary self-disclosures.
We represent clients before European national administrations and courts and before the European Court of Justice and the European Commission. The team works closely with our market-leading practitioners in the United Arab Emirates, China, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States to provide a seamless service with global reach.
Accolades and Rankings
- Highly recommended in Chambers UK and Legal 500 UK for: Financial Services Regulatory, Banking Litigation, Investment Funds – Hedge Funds, Investment Funds – Private Funds, Debt Capital Markets, Banking & Finance, Bank Lending, Securitisation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity Transactions, Commercial Litigation, International Arbitration, Emerging Markets, Construction, Energy & Natural Resources: Oil & Gas, Energy & Natural Resources: Power, Oil & Gas, EU/Competition, International Trade and Tax
- Best Lawyers ranked 13 Akin Gump lawyers Among the UK’s Best in their UK guide, 2017
- The London office had a significant role in the multi award-winning Sweihan Solar Power project (led out of Abu Dhabi and the US). It was named the winner of: the “Middle East & Africa Power Deal of the Year” at the PFI Middle East & Africa Awards 2017, the “MENA Solar Deal of the Year” at the IJGlobal Awards 2017 and “Infrastructure & Energy Team of the Year” at The Oath Middle East Legal Awards 2017; among others
- “Best US Law Firm in Europe” by International Tax Review at the European Tax Awards, 2017
- “International Law Firm of the Year” at The Lawyer Awards in 2015
- Shortlisted for “US Law Firm of the Year” at the Legal Business Awards, 2016
- Band 1 placement for Restructuring and Insolvency in Chambers UK, Legal 500 UK and IFLR1000 in the 2017-18 guides
- “Restructuring Team of the Year” at The Lawyer Awards in 2016
- Ranked 2nd in the GRR Top 30 at the Global Restructuring Review Awards, 2017
- Insolvency & Restructuring Firm of the Year by Who's Who Legal in 2015 and 2016
- Restructuring Deal of the Year for Kaupthing (Icelandic Bank) at the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) European Awards, 2016
- ‘Global Legal Award’ and ‘Global Finance Deal of the Year: Private Restructuring’ for Icelandic Banks at The American Lawyer's 2016 Global Legal Awards
- “Best Global Firm for Client Service and Innovation” at the Hedge Fund Journal Awards 2018
- “Best Onshore Law Firm” award at the HFMWeek European Hedge Fund Services Awards 2017