Cleary secures leading public M&A partner from Linklaters in London

Arrival of Nick Rumsby marks rare City partner lateral for top 30 US firm
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has bolstered its London corporate offering with the addition of Linklaters M&A partner Nick Rumsby, in a rare City M&A lateral for the New York firm. 

Rumsby is a Linklaters lifer and brings a track record advising on market-leading public M&A deals to his new firm, including advising Unilever on the successful defence to the $145bn approach from Kraft-Heinz and SABMiller on the recommended $108bn offer by AB InBev. 

“We’re thrilled that Nick is joining our firm,” said Cleary managing partner Michael Gerstenzang. “Nick is a leader in the public M&A field and his experience in helping clients navigate complex M&A transactions will strengthen our global M&A practice, with London as a key pillar.”

Rumsby joins Cleary after more than 16 years as a partner at Linklaters, the last six of which he has spent leading one of the firm’s four corporate groups. From 2008 he also spent two years serving as secretary at the UK Takeover Panel, which Cleary said gave him ‘invaluable’ experience in the UK public M&A market.

Rumsby’s other main areas of practice include private M&A, reorganisations, joint ventures, demergers, listing rule work and equity financings. 

“Our M&A practice has grown substantially over the past few years and, despite potential market headwinds, we expect this to continue going forward,” said Tihir Sarkar, partner in the London office. “We view Nick as a key hire as we continue to build our UK offering. He is widely recognised as a leading practitioner in UK public M&A and we expect his hire to benefit new clients, existing clients and our team enormously.” 

Cleary’s London M&A team currently houses 19 lawyers including 10 partners, according to its website. Recent deals for the team include acting as lead counsel to Allied Universal in its £3.8bn recommended cash offer for G4S, advised by Linklaters. Rumsby was on the Linklaters team, which was led by then-global head of corporate Aedamar Comiskey, who is now senior partner, and also included corporate partner Kanyaka Ramamurthi. 

Both firms were also involved in the £3.5bn bid for London-listed aviation services company Signature Aviation last year by a consortium of investors. 

“I’m delighted to join the London office of Cleary Gottlieb,” said Rumsby. “Their M&A practice has worked on a number of impressive deals in recent years, and the opportunity to assist in the development of their UK public M&A practice was very appealing.”

Rumsby’s hire marks a rare addition to Cleary’s M&A team in London, though it is the second time the firm has secured a lateral from Linklaters in recent months, having added private equity lawyer Christy O’Connell as counsel in September. 

Cleary stands out among Wall Street firms for the strength of is cross-border European corporate team and the firm bolstered its M&A offering in June when it secured Herbert Smith Freehills’ German managing partner, Nico Abel, for its M&A practice in Frankfurt.

Rumsby’s departure is a blow to Linklaters’ London M&A team, which also saw global US practice head Tom Shropshire depart to be general counsel for Diageo in April last year and veteran partner David Avery-Gee leave for US rival Weil Gotshal & Manges back in 2020. 


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