Skadden secures London acquisition finance partner from Willkie

Sebastian FitzGerald joins Wall Street heavyweight after seven years at Willkie

Sebastian FitzGerald Image courtesy of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has boosted its leveraged finance capability in London with the hire of a banking partner from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. 

Sebastian FitzGerald has joined the 1700-lawyer firm after seven years at Willkie, before which he practised at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for more than a decade. He advises on complex cross-border financings, with a focus on leveraged buyouts, direct lending, restructurings and special situations investing. 

FitzGerald, who is rated by the Legal 500 as a ‘next generation partner’ in acquisition finance has acted for financial sponsors, funds and financial institutions on European and US financings and during his time at Willkie worked with clients including CVC, Montagu and PAI Partners. He also advised Tesco on the financing aspects of its £4.2bn sale of its Korean business, Homeplus, to a group of investors back in 2015. 

Richard Youle, head of Skadden’s London office, said: “We are extremely excited to welcome Seb to our partnership. He has established a broad network with financial sponsors and in leveraged finance, and his addition to the team will enhance our leveraged finance capability to service our sponsor and corporate client base.”

In London FitzGerald will work alongside banking partner Clive Wells, who primarily acts for large corporates on investment-grade transactions, and Pete Coulton, who leads the firm’s European banking practice and is noted for his representation of private equity sponsors including IPI Partners and Silver Lake on big-ticket financings. 

Coulton commented: “We are delighted that Seb has chosen to join our team. He has been extremely successful in acting for financial sponsors and their portfolio companies, and his arrival will strengthen our offering in the UK, across Europe and globally.”

A Willkie spokesperson said of FitzGerald’s departure: “We wish him well in his new position.”

US rival Latham & Watkins has also moved to build its banking practice in London recently, hiring private credit partners Fergus Wheeler and Paul Yin from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld last month. 

And Linklaters hired leveraged finance partner Rahul Chatterji in London earlier this year from Shearman & Sterling, have added a trio of leveraged finance partners in the city last year from Vinson & Elkins. 

Meantime it has been a case of one in, one out at Willkie, which earlier this week announced it had hired partner Simon Baskerville in London from Latham & Watkins to co-chair its European restructuring group.

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