Kinstellar advises Halyk Bank on Kazkommertsbank deal

Kinstellar has advised the leading Kazakhstan bank, Halyk Bank JSC, on its acquisition of Kazkommertsbank JSC from Mr Kenges Rakishev and Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna JSC. According to the agreements, Halyk Bank acquired 96.81% of ordinary shares in Kazkommertsbank.

The Kinstellar team was led by Adlet Yerkinbayev (Partner) who was assisted by Kuanysh Shekerbekov (Associate). Other team members included Kairat Baizakov (Of Counsel), Irina Voloboi (Senior Associate), Lena Makarenko (Senior Associate), Dina Berkaliyeva (Senior Associate), Assel Mussina (Associate), Murat Madykov (Associate), Yerlan Akhmetov (Associate), Yerbol Konarbayev (Associate), Arman Kazhdarov (Associate), Valeriya Khan (Associate).

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Burford and Shepherd & Wedderburn seal first financing deal

Shepherd & Wedderburn has secured a litigation finance arrangement from Burford Capital, the first of its kind to be offered to a top 100 UK law firm by a major funder.

Burford Capital has offered Scotland-headquartered firm Shepherd & Wedderburn a financing arrangement to offer alternative fee arrangements to clients and to grow its commercial litigation and arbitration offerings.

US law firms, including those practising in the UK, have set up similar portfolio arrangements that enable law firms to manage cash flow better and reduce risk.

Shepherd & Wedderburn’s head of commercial and international disputes Guy Harvey said: “This portfolio arrangement enhances our capacity to take on new matters on an alternative fee arrangement basis without adding risk to the firm. For clients, that makes us a more flexible and more competitive partner. We are pleased to be partnering with Burford, the clear leader in providing portfolio finance arrangements to law firms.”

Capital is provided on a non-recourse basis in the portfolio, meaning that if the borrower defaults, the issuer can seize the collateral but cannot seek out the borrower for any further compensation. Burford will receive a portion of the proceeds from the litigation that succeeds on a cross-collateralised basis.

Burford London managing director Craig Arnott said: “The UK legal market is changing and becoming increasingly competitive. Portfolio finance is an essential tool to help UK law firms be nimble and innovative to attract clients, and Burford is unmatched in its ability and experience in portfolio finance for firms around the world.  We are delighted that Shepherd & Wedderburn has taken a leadership position in the UK legal market in using portfolio finance to grow its business.”

Arnott joined Burford Capital from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, where he was the head of competition.

Earlier this month, Burford recorded its best ever results, with profit in the first half of 2017 surpassing that achieved in the whole of 2016.

Income increased by 130 per cent to $175.5m (£130m), driven by a 148 per cent in investment income to $161.6m, compared with $65.3m in the first half of the previous year.

In eight years, Burford has gone from an £80m startup to having a market cap in excess of $2bn, in an ample illustration of how much ground funders have gained in the litigation market.

Shepherd & Wedderburn has also enjoyed good financial results in recent years with turnover growing by 26 per cent to £48m, while profits increased to £18m. The results reflected the contribution since October 2014 of the firm’s acquisition of Tods Murray.

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Future gazing: the world’s new litigation hotspots revealed

This year’s Global Litigation 50 report offers some tantalising glimpses into the future direction of the world’s disputes market, courtesy of the largest litigation and arbitration practices on the planet.

And while most firms say that several of the longest-standing areas of disputes such as financial services-related matters will continue to bear fruit, Brexit-related issues are now firmly on the horizon.

“Following the Brexit result there is a degree of future uncertainty about the detail of how clients will seek dispute resolution, including because much may depend upon trade negotiations,” says Akin Gump. “We will see an initial boom for lawyers working for the government on treaty negotiations and advising on business about law changes.  But in the long term we could see money and court time being wasted on disputes over whether a case should be heard in and EU country or the UK. At present this does not happen due to the treaties in place which were made over the past three decades.”

King & Spalding argues that current work aimed at the reorganisation of financially troubled European lenders, “part of a global process in which the financial community is at last coming to grips with non-performing loans”, may be exacerbated as Brexit becomes imminent.

“In the same vein, we have begun to see contractual parties testing their supply chains as Brexit has increasingly become a reality and we expect to see disputes increase between contractual counterparties as a result,” adds the firm.

Mayer Brown adds that if Brexit is complete by spring 2019, this may trigger certain claims in England and other jurisdictions “as contracting parties explore the potential impact of a UK withdrawal on their existing relationships”.

Greenberg Traurig: “Latin America remains a disputes hotspot”

The full report highlights several other currently busy areas of work. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer reports seeing “a significant increase in antitrust litigation, white collar investigation and corporate criminal enforcement activity and global arbitration across sectors”, while Clifford Chance confirms that arbitration continues to be prolific in the construction sector, “in particular in relation to shipbuilding”, as well as in the energy and mining sectors.

Kirkland & Ellis reports seeing “tremendous activity” in the areas of competition, restructuring-related litigation, securities litigation and enforcement, government and internal investigations, and intellectual property in the US, as well as in the energy and retail sectors for London and CEE.

From a regional perspective, Greenberg Traurig says Latin America remains a disputes hotspot, with Argentina’s entry into global capital markets leading to a growth in disputes, adding that litigation is also likely to rise in Brazil and Venezuela due to political instability.

“We expect to see the continued growth of Singapore as a dispute resolution centre, not just serving Singapore itself, but serving as a regional hub for Southeast Asia,” adds Greenberg. “We anticipate an increasing number of disputes emanating from natural resources industries and firms in Africa.”

Other increasingly active areas over the next two-to-three years include a rise in disputes involving Asian companies, particularly Chinese entities, according to Dechert, and a boom in cyber-related disputes.

Morgan Lewis reports that given continued reports of large data breaches, it expects to see a continued focus on data protection and cybersecurity, with disputes directly related to data breaches as well as ancillary disputes such as cybersecurity insurance.

“Moreover, we would expect the EU General Data Protection Regulation, coming into force in May 2018, and the greater sanctioning powers available to enforcement authorities to stimulate more regulatory activity in this area,” adds Morgan Lewis.

Similarly, White & Case says it expects to see an increase in disputes arising from cyber security issues and as a result of new technology while Akin Gump confirms it is already seeing an increase in cyber risks globally where the processing and safeguarding of information around the world, as well as the protection of critical industrial infrastructure is extremely necessary.

“This area of cyber litigation exposure is developing and breaches can give rise to consumer litigation, securities fraud litigation, even liability for corporate directors,” adds Akin Gump. “Technology advancements such as autonomous vehicles, as they move from concept and testing to reality, may result in a new type of dispute globally. We may see more product liability disputes as questions will arise over who is liable over any faults or performance issues of the cars.”

Dentons: “Dispute resolution is no longer about making or scoring points.”

Indeed, Dentons says the cyber landscape is already influencing the international disputes market considerably.

“For example, the mandatory reporting of cyber security breaches in Australia is driving a major shift in the anti-corruption landscape and will impact business operating in the country,” says the firm.  “Failure to adhere to the more rigorous regulatory landscape will undoubtedly lead to further litigation in this space, and across many jurisdictions. The rapid change of pace in organised and sophisticated crime is posing challenges for clients and regulators alike. The relative ‘faceless’ anonymity of fraud, and particularly financial crime, has become a C-suite priority and bringing cases against perpetrators often proves difficult.”

Dentons also puts some of the changes in the global litigation market into context when it says that clients are becoming “more discerning and sophisticated” in selecting which cases they choose to pursue.

“Dispute resolution is no longer about making or scoring points; clients want commercial outcomes and are seeking lawyers who are adapting their services to provide this,” argues Dentons. “In that respect, the market is changing considerably.  We believe that the global trends are likely to continue to evolve but that there are likely to be variations within regions.

“Taking international arbitration in the Asia Pacific as an example, there is a decline in arbitration activity in Hong Kong due to the increased competition from Singapore, and its move from its position as a top regional arbitral seat towards being truly a global institution. We anticipate, however, that dominant hubs will make efforts to remain competitive, and that Hong Kong’s recent adoption of the long-awaited legislations allowing third-party funding in arbitrations is an example of how locations will adapt.”

Dentons adds that while Hong Kong is likely to retain a strong position as a centre for effective dispute resolution, there are concerns that it is increasingly seen as being part of the Chinese national framework and not perceived as a distinct from China.

“Nevertheless, we anticipate that the increased number of disputes emanating from China is likely to shore up Hong Kong as a venue for some years to come,” Dentons adds.

This is an extract from the new Global Litigation 50 report, produced in association with FTI Consulting. The report tracks revenue and headcount trends across key international regions, highlighting current and future areas of litigation and arbitration activity.

This year’s report also focuses particularly on the use of technology in all stages of the litigation process, highlighting efficiencies and innovations provided by the world’s leading disputes practices.

For more information on the content of the Global Litigation 50, including the results of the client survey, please contact Matt Byrne on +44 207 970 4558. To purchase the full report please contact Gilberto Esgaio on +44 207 970 4191 or Letitia Austin on +44 207 970 4662

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Quinn loses second partner to Latham this year

Latham & Watkins has hired its second partner from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan – financial regulatory lawyer David Berman.

Berman joined Quinn Emanuel just last year from Macfarlanes, where he had served as its financial services head.

He is set to join Latham next week, becoming a partner in the firm’s financial institutions group.

Berman was a partner at Macfarlanes for seven years, joining the UK elite firm from Dresdner Kleinwort where he had been a managing director. He started off his legal career at Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Recent work includes advising on the Senior Managers & Certification Regime, assisting with regulatory reform projects and overseeing complex remediation and redress exercises.

His move follows that of long-serving Quinn Emanuel partner Martin Davies, who was hired by Latham earlier this year.

Davies had joined Quinn Emanuel from Olswang in 2011, where he led the firm’s litigation practice. Clients include investment managers, private equity houses, stockbroking firms and credit funds.

Latham’s financial regulatory group has been subject to major expansion in London in the past 12 months.

Last summer, Latham brought on board Ashurst practice head Rob Moulton to ramp up the firm’s efforts in this area. It then hired Moulton’s colleague Nicola Higgs in a further boost to the team.

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Ogier advises on record-breaking £1.28bn “Walkie Talkie” purchase

Ogier has advised the LKK Health Products Group, a member of the Hong Kong-based Lee Kum Kee Group, on its purchase of the London skyscraper known as the “Walkie Talkie” for £1.2825bn.

The Ogier team led by European Head of Banking and Finance Katrina Edge advised the purchasers on the Jersey law aspects of the deal. Ogier worked with lead counsel Mayer Brown on the deal.

The Ogier team included managing associate Matthew Gilley and associate Jennifer Cox.

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Shoosmiths advises on sale of iconic Birmingham hotel

Shoosmiths has advised Hotel La Tour on its sale of the entire share capital of Hotel La Tour Birmingham (which operates Hotel La Tour in Birmingham) to Dalata UK (part of Dalata Hotel Group).

Birmingham’s Hotel La Tour is a 4-star premium hotel, based in Birmingham’s Eastside district adjacent to HS2’s Curzon Street terminus in the centre of the city. Last year, the hotel scooped the Top Rated Hotel award in the Laterooms.com Simply the Guest Awards 2016.

Opened in 2012 the purpose built hotel boasts 174 bedrooms, restaurant and bar, a dedicated conference and event floor, gym and has the potential to add further bedrooms.

Dalata is the largest hotel operator in Ireland and operates the Maldron Hotel brand and Clayton Hotel brand throughout Ireland and the UK, as well as managing a portfolio of partner hotels. The group has a current portfolio of 37 three and four star hotels with over 7,500 rooms.

Hotel La Tour will be rebranded as a Clayton hotel in the final quarter of this year.

Corporate partner, Ben Turner, led the deal and was assisted by Georgina Rennie (associate), Helen Burnell (solicitor) and Alice Sedgley (paralegal). Kate Featherstone (tax partner) and James Needham (real estate partner) also lent their specialist expertise to the transaction.

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Richard Grimshaw appointed assistant coroner for Birmingham and Solihull

Richard Grimshaw (call: 2010) has been appointed as Her Majesty’s Assistant Coroner for the Birmingham and Solihull area and was sworn in on 27 July.

The role of Assistant Coroner is a part time appointment and Richard will continue to practice from No5 Barristers’ Chambers.

Richard has a broad clinical negligence practice on behalf of both claimants and defendants and is regularly instructed on inquest matters.

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Kinstellar advises on Waberer IPO

Kinstellar acted as Hungarian legal counsel to Berenberg, Erste Group, Citigroup and Renaissance Capital, as Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners, regarding the initial public offering of Waberer’s International, one of Europe’s largest long-haul transportation companies on the Budapest Stock Exchange.

The Kinstellar team, led by the Budapest office’s Managing Partner Csilla Andrékó and Managing Associate and capital markets specialist Ákos Mátés-Lányi, advised on the legal documentation and the corporate and regulatory issues of the transaction. The team also coordinated the communication with the regulators and took a leading role in the general transaction management.

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Bär & Karrer advises Tellco Vorsorge in Dominick Company acquisition 

Tellco Vorsorge has acquired all shares in Dominick Company, a Swiss private bank based in Zurich, from its sole shareholder.

Bär & Karrer acted as legal adviser to the buyer in this transaction.

The team included Christoph Neeracher, Philippe Seiler and Yves Suter (all M&A), Peter Hsu, Daniel Flühmann and Tiffany Ender (all banking & finance), Susanne Schreiber and Cyrill Diefenbacher (both tax), Markus Wang and Jonas Bornhauser (both IP) as well as Mani Reinert (competition).

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Bär & Karrer advises EGSB on the Sale of Biketec

EGS Beteiligungen AG (EGSB) recently sold Biketec AG (manufacturer of the Flyer e-bike) to ZEG Zweirad-Einkaufs-Genossenschaft eG.

Bär & Karrer acted as legal adviser to EGSB in this transaction. The team included Christoph Neeracher, Luca Jagmetti, Philippe Seiler and Raphael Egger (all M&A), Susanne Schreiber and Cyrill Diefenbacher (both tax), Markus Wang and Jonas Bornhauser (both IP) as well as Mani Reinert and Barbara Wälchli (both compettion/antitrust).

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