Squire Patton Boggs has expanded its Global Corporate Practice in London, adding significantly to its international private equity (PE) team, with the appointment of pre-eminent City and international lawyer Stephen Ball, and first-class PE practitioners Charles Leeming and Ben Squires from Simpson Thacher. All three join as partners and will work closely with Corporate and Financial Services colleagues across the firm, in the UK and Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
“Stephen’s reputation precedes him, as a widely respected, highly trusted advisor on business strategy and decision-making at the highest level,” said Jonathan Jones, Squire Patton Boggs’ European Managing Partner. “He brings with him years of experience, in terms of personally leading global teams and firms and of advising international businesses – including global PE houses, major corporates, banks and financial institutions – on the most complex of matters. Stephen’s broad experience in global business also means there is considerable synergy with our existing client base, which will create exciting opportunities going forward. Charles and Ben are first-class PE specialists, who from early in their careers were working on significant cross-border transactions for major firms. They have the technical skills, business acumen and understanding of the global market that make them a seamless fit with our existing team.
“With Stephen, Charles and Ben, all corporate lawyers of the highest calibre, we are continuing our development of key areas of our business, as part of our longer-term strategy of investment and growth, in London and in other locations across the firm.”
“I am delighted to welcome our new corporate colleagues,” added Corporate partner Paul Mann, who leads the UK PE team. “Their experience and skills not only strengthen our existing team in the UK, but also add considerably to our international practice. Our PE work is growing year on year and this expansion of our capabilities in our London office will provide our clients with additional expertise, know-how and market insight.”
“I was really impressed by the strategic vision of the management team and my new corporate and PE colleagues,” commented Mr. Ball. “So joining the firm was an obvious choice for me. Squire Patton Boggs has a powerful global footprint, diversified, specialist practices, a welcoming and highly collaborative work culture, and a commercial flair and business ambition that few can match. I look forward to helping to build the team and contributing to the firm’s onward and upward growth.”
Mr. Ball has served as CEO, vice chairman and member of the boards of directors of global financial institutions, multinational companies and leading professional services firms. He has been awarded The Freedom of the City of London; Euromoney named him in “The Guide of the World’s Leading Banking Lawyers”; and The Lawyer has ranked him as one of “The Hot 100 Lawyers”.
Mr. Ball has 25 years’ global experience of leadership and advising on strategy, corporate governance, financial services, risk and ESG to the world’s leading banks, corporations and governments. He practised law in the UK and the US with Slaughter and May, and Linklaters before moving into investment banking in Asia Pacific, the GCC and Europe. He attends the United Nations (UN) and advises clients on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, The Nobel Peace Prize and works closely with the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Mr. Ball’s pro bono and charitable work has included serving on the boards of governors of The English National Ballet and Asia House, where he serves as chairman of the Audit, Risk and Finance Committee; and on the advisory boards of KIDS Charity, The Princess Diana Award, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal Albert Hall and the President of the Renaissance Foundation.
Beginning his career at Freshfields, where he worked in the firm’s London and Tokyo offices, Mr. Leeming joined Simpson Thacher in London in 2013. Mr. Leeming, whose practice covers a wide range of corporate work, focuses on advising PE sponsors and corporates on M&A transactions (both buy-side and sell-side mandates), including complex carve-outs, take privates, secondary PE sales, management incentive plans, minority investments and joint ventures, as well as general corporate advisory work. His work highlights include acting for KKR on its acquisition of Unilever’s global Spreads business (now Upfield) for €6.825 billion, a transaction across 66 countries around the world, which won several awards, including Private Equity Wire’s Best Pan-European Deal of the Year and The Deal’s European Private Equity Deal of the Year in 2018. In 2019, Mr. Leeming acted for Blackstone and Refinitiv on Refinitiv’s definitive agreement to be acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group in an all-share transaction for a total enterprise value of approximately US$28 billion. After Manchester Grammar, Mr. Leeming attended New College, University of Oxford, and went on to do his Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Law School.
Mr. Squires has a broad corporate practice with particular expertise in advising PE firms on M&A transactions, including private acquisitions and disposals, take privates, secondary sales, GP-led secondary transactions, joint ventures and management incentive plans. Mr. Squires also advises corporates on a wide range of matters, including M&A, group reorganisations, carve-outs and general corporate advisory issues. Work highlights include acting for KKR on its upcoming disposal of LGC Science Group to a consortium led by Cinven and Astorg for an undisclosed amount, advising Silver Lake (in a consortium with PSP and GIC) on its take private of ZPG Plc (the owner of Zoopla, PrimeLocation and uSwitch) for £2.2 billion (US$3 billion), and acting for Blackstone on its sale of BPO services provider Intelenet to Teleperformance for US$1 billion. A graduate of the University of Nottingham and BPP Law School, Mr. Squires trained and practised at Macfarlanes before joining Simpson Thacher in 2015.
The arrival of Mr. Ball, Mr. Leeming and Mr. Squires in the London office follows the appointments in 2019 of new partners in the Financial Services Practice, James Collis, former Ashurst managing partner, and Ian Yeo, from Herbert Smith Freehills, and of global energy partner Peter Stewart from Clyde & Co.