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 core strengths of the firm. This has resulted in the growth of a fully integrated office advising clients at the top of its 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, energy, debt and equity capital markets, financial services regulatory, disputes, 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 US 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, such as our representation of bondholders in the benchmark Marconi restructuring in 2002 – 2003, the settlement of DEPFA Bank’s €1.2 billon Tier 1 capital instruments and 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 M&A and takeovers, debt for equity swaps, schemes of arrangement and strategic corporate advice. We also represent numerous multi-billion 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, VimpelCom Ltd, 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 RTS and MICEX in Moscow. The team also has considerable experience representing underwriters, nominated advisors and placing agents. Chambers UK writes that "they are technically astute and will make the process efficient by spotting any issues at an early stage."
Often at the center of today’s most complex and innovative transactions, our top-tier, multi-disciplinary 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, senior and mezzanine, often involving warrants, options and other equity instruments; distressed and “rescue” financings; structured finance, including securitizations, structured financings, derivative products and asset-based financings; and institutional private placements, for which we are a market leader advising U.K. and U.S. institutional investors in cross-border private placements typically involving the issuance of long-term, investment-grade debt instruments that are issued by U.K. and other European-listed companies.
Akin Gump’s global Investment Management practice is widely recognized as a world leader in the areas of hedge funds, private equity funds and other alternative investment funds. Our London team, which includes both U.K. and U.S. 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 fund 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 SEC and 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 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.
The team’s restructuring capability, spearheaded for 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 market in recent times, 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 recent 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 practice in London focuses on English law disputes and has extensive experience under all major institutional rules. The team has particular experience in oil and gas, power generation and telecommunications and handles complex, high-stakes, international commercial arbitrations and bilateral investment treaty disputes for multinational corporations and sovereign governments around the world. We are also the ‘go-to’ firm in London for large-scale, international construction arbitration: recognised market leaders working for prestigious clients, carrying out high-value, highly technical and international construction and engineering arbitration in the oil, gas, power and major projects sectors. 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.
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 U.K. 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 AIFMD, 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 recognized 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, authorization, 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/U.K. 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, OFCOM, 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 U.K. 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 U.S. investment banks; asset management companies; hedge funds; private equity firms; and other similar businesses in restructurings and reorganizations, 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 towards 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 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.”
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 & 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 UAE, China, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA to provide a seamless service with global reach.
Accolades and Rankings
- Best Lawyers ranks 13 Akin Gump Practitioners Among UK’s Best in Best Lawyers UK, 2017
- Band 1 placement for Restructuring and Insolvency in Chambers UK, Legal 500 UK and IFLR1000 in 2016
- 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 US Law Firm in Europe” by International Tax Review at the European Tax Awards, 2017
- “Restructuring Team of the Year” at The Lawyer Awards in 2016 and “International Law Firm of the Year” in 2015
- Insolvency & Restructuring Firm of the Year by Who's Who Legal in 2015 and 2016
- Who's Who Legal 2016 identified several of our partners among the world's leading lawyers in a number of practice areas
- 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
- Shortlisted for “US Law Firm of the Year” at the Legal Business Awards, 2016
- “Best onshore law firm – Client Service” in 2016 and “Best Onshore Law Firm – Hedge Funds Start Ups” in 2015 (and 2014), HFM Week European Hedge Fund Service Awards
- Restructuring Deal of the Year for TORM at the Marine Money Deal of the Year Awards, 2015
- Awarded “MENA TMT Deal of the Year” in 2015 by TMT Finance
- 2014 European Restructuring/Bankruptcy Firm of the Year by Financial News
- “Equity Deal of the Year” at the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) European Awards, 2013
- “Corporate Team of the Year” at the Legal Business Awards, 2012