(Bloomberg) -- Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, the Magic Circle law firm, has hired a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker to boost its business advising private equity firms on debt financing transactions.
Carol Van der Vorst will join London-based Freshfields’ leveraged finance team as a partner, according to a statement Thursday. She was most recently at rival law firm Ropes & Gray LLP.
Freshfields is among law firms keen to win more business from financial sponsors, which are sitting on record levels of unspent investor capital. Van der Vorst will work closely with private equity clients to help them fund acquisitions and refinancings.
Buyout firms are in the midst of a challenging credit market, as rising interest rates and the threat of recessions causes banks to curb lending. This has contributed to a 20% drop in the value of acquisitions by private equity buyers this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. So-called direct lenders have been stepping in to help plug the gap and provide an alternative source of funding for deals.
Levels of private equity dealmaking may pick up in the autumn and Freshfields’ clients are evaluating several potential transactions, Christopher Davis, a partner in the firm’s leveraged finance team, said in an interview.
“Our market does not stay quiet for too long. History has shown that, though there are a lot of headwinds now,” he said.
Freshfields has this year advised on the $2.6 billion sale of contract drug development and manufacturing company CordenPharma to Astorg Partners, and the takeover of UK bus operator Stagecoach Group Plc by a fund managed by DWS Infrastructure.
In recent years, its leveraged finance team has worked on financing the 4.5 billion-euro ($4.6 billion) takeover of Unilever Plc’s tea business by CVC Capital Partners, and the funding of Cinven and Bain Capital’s deal to buy Lonza Group AG’s specialty ingredients unit.
Earlier in her career, Van der Vorst worked in the debt underwriting group at Goldman Sachs. She will become the seventh partner in Freshfields’ leveraged finance team, Davis said.
“This addition reflects the demand we are seeing from financial sponsors for complex financing solutions and further demonstrates the firm’s commitment to growth in this area,” Andrew Hutchings, Freshfields’ London transactions head, said in Thursday’s statement.
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