(L-R): Awards host David Mitchell; Baker & McKenzie’s Susie Davies and David Allen; awards judge Edward Smith
Finalists: Charles Russell Speechlys, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Kirkland & Ellis, Shoosmiths, Taylor Wessing (highly commended), Travers Smith
Baker McKenzie took the award for Private Equity Team of the Year after impressing judges with its work for Bain Capital on the $3.1bn (£2.4bn) sale of its portfolio company, Brakes Group – a distributor of frozen, grocery and chilled foods to the catering industry – to Sysco Corporation, North America’s leading food service distributor.
Described by one judge as “the standout winner” it was, to date, the largest private equity exit outside the US in 2016.
Led by London private equity and funds head David Allen, the firm used its intimate knowledge of longstanding client Bain to advise on the deal’s completion within a short timeframe.
In its submission, the firm stated that one of the deal’s main complexities was the significant number of minority shareholder interests at different levels within Brakes, many of which were being renegotiated as part of the IPO possibility.
The submission also featured a compelling testimony from Bain principal Matthias Boyer Chammard, who described the team as having delivered “a stunning job”.