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Revolving doors: Cleary makes Bay Area move as HogLov and Squire enhance Africa offerings

In a bold Bay Area play, Cleary Gottlieb has announced that it is opening in California with the arrival of renowned antitrust trial lawyer Heather Nyong’o and the relocation of a team of partners and associates from its New York and Washington DC offices to Palo Alto and San Francisco.

Nyong’o was partner-in-charge of WilmerHale’s San Francisco office and leader of its California antitrust and competition practice. She joins long-standing Cleary antitrust partners Brian Byrne and George Cary, white-collar partner Jennifer Kennedy Park, M&A partner Benet O’Reilly, and a team of six associates.

This move builds on Cleary’s many decades representing California’s leading technology companies, private equity firms, and other clients on transformative global antitrust, M&A, enforcement, and capital market matters.

‘We have long advised California clients on their most complex, sophisticated matters. The shifting regulatory environment and evolving needs of businesses across sectors adds compelling reasons to provide these clients with on-the-ground support,’ said Cleary managing partner Michael Gerstenzang. ‘We’ve assembled an outstanding team with the arrival of Heather and relocation of Brian, George, Jen, Benet, and a half-dozen fantastic associates. We will build on this strong foundation by expanding our Bay Area presence with additional exceptional talent in the coming months.’

Also in the US, Clifford Chance has appointed US and international tax specialist Paul Seraganian as a partner based in New York. Seraganian, who joins from Canadian Global 100 firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, where he was managing partner of its New York office, has more than 20 years’ experience in advising on the tax aspects of cross-border corporate transactions, securities offerings, financings and funds and investment management. He has significant experience in advising clients regarding tax-free and taxable reorganisations and acquisitions as well as structuring, operating and unwinding joint venture arrangements.

Head of CC’s US tax, pensions and employment group, David Moldenhauer, said: ‘As we observe the continued internationalisation of business and investment transactions and the related increase in the complexity of these transactions and client structures, Paul’s arrival to the firm further secures our ability to provide first-class advice on critical tax issues.’

Meanwhile, Hogan Lovells has announced the hire of Pinsent Masons partner Chris Green as it expands its corporate and finance capabilities in Johannesburg.

Green leads Pinsents’ South African transactional services practice, focusing on blue chip cross-border corporate M&A work across sectors that include consumer goods, financial services, telecoms and energy & natural resources for clients such as Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, AB InBev and BASF.

Commenting on the appointment, Johannesburg managing partner, Wessel Badenhorst, said: ‘We present the ideal platform for Chris to grow both domestic and worldwide relationships, significantly enhancing and complementing our expertise as well as our brand and presence in South Africa more generally.’

Meanwhile Squire Patton Boggs has enhanced its Africa offering and continued the expansion of its international disputes practice with the addition of Timi Balogun, an Africa projects and disputes specialist, who joins the firm in London as a partner.

Balogun has extensive experience in dispute resolution and international arbitration, acting for African governments, state entities and national oil and gas companies in high-profile disputes. He spent six years as general counsel of The Infrastructure Bank, formerly the Urban Development Bank of Nigeria, in Abuja, before joining Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle in London in 2015, where he was later promoted to partner.

He recently represented the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in commercial arbitration proceedings regarding disputes over oil lifting entitlements and was part of a team of lawyers that defended Nigeria in efforts to resist the recognition of a $10bn award in favor of P&ID, a BVI entity.

Peter Stewart, co-coordinator of Squire Patton Boggs’ Africa practice, said: ‘Timi is a rare commodity. In addition to his disputes expertise, he is a skilled and experienced project finance practitioner with a strong in-house counsel background. He is also qualified in both the UK and Nigeria, operating at a high level in both jurisdictions and globally. All of these qualities, combined with his deep knowledge of energy projects, make him a natural to take on a leadership role in our Africa practice and serve as a great asset for our clients.’

King & Spalding has boosted its Singapore corporate team with the arrival of Parveet Singh Gandoak from Skadden, where he was counsel.

Gandoak joins King & Spalding as a partner in the firm’s corporate, finance and investments (CFI) practice group, where he will focus on advising multinationals, sovereign wealth funds, private equity sponsors and venture capital firms on cross-border M&A and other deal-related activity in a range of sectors including tech, media, telecoms, energy and insurance.

Todd Holleman, head of King & Spalding’s CFI practice, said: ‘Parveet’s blend of international experience and entrepreneurial spirit further enhances our Asia M&A and private equity practices. He has a strong background in advising blue-chip clients on some of their largest and most complex transactions in south-east Asia and India, which taps straight into our existing transactional practice.’

In London, Kirkland & Ellis has recruited Ashurst private equity tax partner Alexander Cox. Cox focuses on the structuring of investment funds, including advising in relation to management company tax issues and carried interest. In addition, he also has significant experience advising on real estate tax matters covering both the establishment of real estate funds and the M&A transactions they undertake.

‘Alexander is a leading tax partner in the European private equity market who regularly advises financial sponsors on the structuring of their investment funds,’  said Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee. ‘We are delighted that Alexander is joining us and this will further strengthen our global tax team.’