Paul Weiss unveils latest top-level London lateral: Linklaters’ ex-antitrust head

New York firm adds latest piece to jigsaw in drive to create elite UK law practice
Sunset at the City of London, England, with traffic light trails and illuminated skyscrapers

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Paul Weiss has unveiled the hire of Linklaters’ global head of antitrust, Nicole Kar, as it continues its drive to build a top tier London office.

Kar is leaving Linklaters after nearly 18 years, providing the New York-based firm’s London arm with its latest high-profile acquisition as part of a hiring spree underpinned by an eight-partner raid on Kirkland & Ellis over the summer.

Confirmation of her arrival, which was first reported by Bloomberg last week, comes hard on the heels of the hire earlier this week of Clifford Chance partners Christopher Sullivan, who was previously London head of private equity, and finance partner Taner Hassan.

Australian and London-qualified Kar joined Linklaters as an associate in 2001 following stints at Allens and Minter Ellison, where she trained and qualified. She became a partner at Silk Street after five years. 

Alongside chairing Linklaters’ highly regarded antitrust practice, she was also co-head of its global banking sector group and trade law practice, underlining finance expertise and connections that her new firm’s dealmakers will prize. 

Kar has advised on more than 40 significant merger control investigations before the European and UK authorities and coordinated merger control proceedings worldwide on global transactions, alongside contentious competition mandates.

Her credentials include two stints as a government adviser to the Department of Business and Trade, including a seat on its national security and investment committee. She is the current chair of the City of London Law Society’s competition committee.

Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp said: “Nicole is an extraordinary antitrust advisor with decades of global experience, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the firm. Nicole’s expertise in merger control and foreign investment, cartel matters and competition law issues will bolster our market-leading practice and significantly benefit our clients, which are navigating an increasingly challenging antitrust and regulatory environment.”

Highlight mandates include representing biotechnology company Novozymes on global merger clearances for its $17bn tie up with Chr. Hansen. The largest-ever merger between two Danish companies was approved by the European Commission earlier this month.

This year she also co-advised satellite communications company Viasat on the UK clearance of its deal to acquire Inmarsat following a review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Last year, she advised price comparison website Compare the Market on the overturning of a £17.9m CMA fine over its use of wide most favoured nation clauses, which prevented home insurers listed on its website from offering better deals anywhere else. 

Neel Sachdev, co-head of the London office, said: “Nicole is the leading antitrust and foreign investment adviser in the European market. This is a major step for Paul Weiss in building a full-service team across M&A, debt financing, capital markets, tax and antitrust in Europe.”

Sachdev joined Paul Weiss in September as part of an eight-partner private equity raid on Kirkland & Ellis’s London office that saw the firm make a strategic move to practise English law. As part of the raid corporate partner William Aitken-Davies moved over from Linklaters.

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