Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has confirmed it is closing its Sydney office – the US firm’s only base in Australia. The six-staff office will shut down in the first half of this year with all staff understood to be departing from the firm aside from co-head of Skadden Arps corporate finance group Adrian Deitz who will remain based in Sydney and operate as part of the firm’s Singapore and Hong Kong team.
The rest of the corporate-focused team, which comprises one partner, one retired, two counsel and one associate are understood to be reviewing their options.
Skadden Arps first launched in Sydney in 1989 and since represented Australian and New Zealand clients on the US aspects of cross-border transactions, such as corporate finance and M&A deals.
Highlight deals for the office, listed on the firm’s website date back to 2014 and include representing the Commonwealth of Australia and Medibank Private on Medibank’s A$5.679bn initial public offering and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange; and advising Meridian Energy in its partial privatisation and $1.6bn initial public offering by the government of New Zealand, which was done in 2013.
The news follows two of the founders of Clifford Chance’s Australian arm, including the firm’s Sydney managing partner, confirming they are stepping down from their roles at the Magic Circle firm on Tuesday (9 February).
Elsewhere down under, Clyde & Co hired two partners from Norton Rose Fulbright in a bid to build up its occupational health and safety team in Sydney, with Michael Tooma and Alena Titterton joining along with eight other lawyers. This followed the firm’s appointment of a 30-lawyer team late last year, also in the Sydney office after it picked up five partners who joined the firm with another 25 lawyers, all from Lee & Lyons.