Kirkland hires leveraged finance specialist

Stephen Gillespie, a leveraged finance partner at law firm Allen & Overy, is to join rival Kirkland & Ellis’ London office.

International law firm Kirkland & Ellis has hired Stephen Gillespie, a leveraged finance partner with Allen & Overy, in its London office.

According to a spokesperson for Kirkland & Ellis, Gillespie has yet to finalise his notice period with Allen & Overy and no start date in his new role has been set.

Gillespie joined Allen & Overy in 1991 and has been a partner since 1995. While at the firm, he has worked on the April 2004 three-way merger of directories companies Fonecta, Telefoongids and Mediatel by 3i and Veronis Suhler Stevenson to create Yellow Brick Road; and Swedish private equity firm Ratos’ sale of a 17 percent stake in office equipment supplier Esselte to JW Childs Associates of the US in 2002.

Kirkland & Ellis’ spokesperson also confirmed that private equity partners Graham White and Raymond McKeeve have joined the firm today from Linklaters. White, the former head of private equity at Linklaters, and McKeeve resigned from the firm at the end of March.

Recent transactions for Kirkland & Ellis’ London finance practice include advising Madison Dearborn Partners on the €3.8 billion ($4.8 billion) merger of Irish packaging firm Jefferson Smurfit Group and Kappa Packaging, a Dutch rival owned by Cinven and CVC Capital Partners; Bain Capital’s €1.07 billion acquisition of Areva’s FCI connectors unit; Vestar Capital’s €375 million buyout of Italian glass insulator manufacturer Seves Group; and Mid Europa Partners’ €412 million purchase of Polish media and communications service provider Aster City Cable from Lion Capital.

Kirkland & Ellis has approximately 40 professionals working across private equity in its corporate finance department in London, according to the spokesperson.

In January of this year, Allen & Overy hired Lovells private equity partner Derek Baird. Baird joined Susan Howard, Chris Thornes and Jeremy Hunt in the firm’s London-based private equity team.