Corporate / M&A

Corporate and M&A have always been the bedrock of our practice at William Fry.

Our team has excellent credentials, a wealth of experience and an impressive depth of expertise.  We consistently have a central role in the most sophisticated and complex corporate transactions and advisory work in Ireland, as well as in large cross-border deals with an Irish aspect.

Our clients include leading Irish and international companies and institutions, public and private, as well as state and public sector bodies.  We are also proud to have acted for many of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.

We are consistently ranked in the top tier of Irish advisers for Corporate and M&A work by leading directories including Chambers Global and Legal 500.  Most recently we have been:

  • The only Irish Law firm to be ranked in the top three for Irish M&A activity for the last five years;
  • Advised on over 60% of all reported Venture Capital deals in Ireland (IVCA VenturePulse Report 2016), more than any other Irish Law firm;
  • We are consistently ranked in the top three of Irish advisers for Corporate/M&A work by leading M&A league table houses and directories including mergermarket, Thomas Reuters, Chambers Global and Legal 500;
  • Awarded ‘European Corporate Deal of the Year’ at The Lawyer European Awards 2016 for our role as lead advisor to International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) on its acquisition of Aer Lingus Group plc (Aer Lingus) for €1.46bn, and
  • Advised on the M&A Deal of the Year Capital Markets (Finance Dublin Magazine's Deal of Year 2016).

Our Corporate team is centrally involved in the Firm’s sectoral groups, including our Banking & Finance, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Inward Investment/FDI, Private Equity and Technology groups, and is supported by our other Departments to ensure effective and efficient delivery of solutions focused advice.

Recent work includes advising:

  • Uniphar plc on its €150m IPO and admission to the Euronext Growth and AIM markets of Euronext Dublin and the London Stock Exchange 
  • Linde AG (LING.DE) on its proposed merger with US industrial group Praxair  Inc (PX.N) in a deal that will create the world’s largest supplier of industrial gas. The new company formed from the planned $70bn merger will likely be based in the Republic of Ireland. The proposed merger is the largest M&A deal in Europe in 2017.
  • Innocoll Holdings plc, the NASDAQ-listed specialty pharmaceutical company, on the recommended offer by Gurnet Point Capital to acquire it by scheme of arrangement under Ireland's Companies Act 2014 
  • The institutional investors in Neuravi, an Irish medical device company focused on stroke treatment, on its sale to Codman Neuro (part of the Johnson & Johnson group), reported as the largest exit of a venture-backed European medtech company since 2009
  • King Digital Entertainment on its $5.9bn acquisition by Activision Blizzard, one of the largest deals in the history of the interactive entertainment industry
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) in relating to its €1.4bn takeover offer for Aer Lingus. This is the biggest ever aviation transaction relating to an Irish airline and the largest involving a European carrier in the last decade
  • The Irish Government in relation to its restructuring and proposed IPO of AIB
  • Hammerson-Allianz joint venture on all Irish law aspects on its purchase of a EUR2.6bn portfolio of loans on Irish shopping malls – this was the largest real estate related transaction in the history of the Irish State
  • Patron Capital and Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels on the €150m disposal of the Dublin Lifestyle Collection hotel portfolio (comprising The Spencer, The Morgan and The Beacon hotels) to Lalco
  • AA plc on the €156.6m sale of AA Ireland
  • Selfridges Group on its acquisition of sole control of the Arnotts Group following several loan purchase transactions, a debt-for-equity restructuring and a property spin-out
  • Camelot Group and Premier on the acquisition of the Irish National Lottery Licence for a 20 year period
  • UTV Television on its GDP£100m acquisition by ITV Plc

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Department 

  • William Fry are known for their "excellent international reach" which is highlighted by sources, who appreciate the firm's ability to "manage overseas law firms on the client's behalf," as well as providing "one point of contact." They're noted by one client for "understanding cross-border financing extremely well," whilst another commends the team for "being helpful and willing to engage on matters relating to US and UK companies and subsidiaries." The Corporate team have been described as "outstanding" with a "strong client base in insurance, pharmaceuticals and financial services." Chambers Global 2020
  • The Corporate team at William Fry is noted for its "pragmatic approach". Clients have noted they have "excellent turnaround times and they're very good at explaining issues in layman’s terms and a very pragmatic approach which worked well." Legal 500 2020
  • Clients appreciate the team's ability to explain complicated legal matters. "The lawyers were able to break down complex issues to help ensure that everyone involved fully understood," says one interviewee, who also highlights the lawyers' "clear, robust and commercially focused advice." Another satisfied client adds that "their main strengths are their knowledge of our business and their instant availability when we need it." Chambers Europe 2020
  • A client states "very professional firm with a good team in place. Their strength is their people and breadth of experience on various projects". Another client states: "responsive, comprehensive and thorough advice. William Fry are available with advice on tight deadlines when required". IFLR 1000 2019
  • A client lauds the group as being "one of the top firms in Dublin.They deliver a top service and deep resources". Sources appreciate the team's "knowledge and understanding of Irish law, thorough approach and flexibility in incorporating concepts of different jurisdictions into the work". Chambers Europe 2019
  • Interviewees indicate the firm's approach is "the perfect balance of knowledge and getting things done." Sources extol the range of the firm's practice: "They are a strong firm and deal with issues which we raise with them, across a wide spectrum of areas, in a straightforward way." Market observers also note that "William Fry is capable of handling issues for a large multinational and has lots of experience with everything." Chambers Global, 2018
  • Clients appreciate that the lawyers "made an effort to get to know us, were practical, commercial, strong in negotiations and could explain Irish law in a clear way to US buyers." "It has always been a pleasure to work with them", say clients. "The drafting is first class, they are good negotiators and their manner is conducive to getting the deal done." Chambers Global, 2017 
  • William Fry has a "proactive and resourceful team’ with "outstanding legal strategists" and "tremendous dealmakers". Legal 500, EMEA 2017
  • "All the people there are exceptional - whoever you work with can take you through the whole process and you will be in excellent hands. There is remarkable strength in depth throughout the team."  "Provides constructive and focused solutions. A strong firm that I'd happily work with again." Chambers Global, 2016
  • William Fry is "an exceptional firm". Legal 500 EMEA, 2016

Team

Bryan Bourke

  • Managing partner Bryan Bourke has a wealth of experience in public and private M&A deals, as well as joint ventures and corporate reorganisations. "He is very strategic," says one client, who also reports that Bourke "dissects the question and comes up with the right answer." Chambers Global 2020 
  • Managing partner Bryan Bourke is "admired by clients for his availability. Bourke is a well-known figure in the corporate and transactional market, advising asset managers and corporate finance advisers". Chambers Europe 2019
  • Managing partner Bryan Bourke "enjoys a strong reputation for assisting clients with the full range of corporate issues. He has a particular focus on major M&A transactions, fund-raising and corporate governance". Chambers Global 2018 
  • Bryan Bourke is highlighted by clients for his "experience, gravitas and judgement." Chambers Global 2017
  • Clients admire his "ability to tackle complex issues, including extremely difficult negotiations with other parties. He is an extremely strong character with a huge reputation." Chambers Global 2016

Shane O'Donnell

  • Shane is described by clients as "very smart" and "very practical," and they highlight his "ability to distil complex information into a few salient points." Chambers Global 2020
  • One client appreciates that "his legal advice is always pragmatic and takes our business needs into account." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Practice head Shane O’Donnell,  is "highly regarded in the market". Legal 500 2018
  • Interviewees say that Shane O'Donnell is "a pleasure to deal with, responsive, pragmatic and looks out for the interests of his clients." He is head of the firm's corporate department and receives strong market recognition for his activity on M&A and corporate finance. Chambers Global 2018
  • Shane is described as "a terrific business lawyer, with common sense second to none."  Chambers Global 2017
  • Practice head Shane O’Donnell descibed as a ‘tremendous dealmaker’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • Amongst extensive praise from interviewees, one client states: "Shane embodies this firm's brilliance. He executes our objectives to the letter and he is able to anticipate our goals and boundaries very accurately, which frees us up to be more productive as an organisation." Chambers Global 2016 

Myra Garrett

  • Described by market sources as "fantastic," Myra Garrett maintains a strong reputation for her corporate and M&A practice, assisting companies from a range of sectors with transactions and boardroom advice. "Her style is collaborative and engaging, and her approach is firm and decisive," says an impressed client. Chambers Global 2020
  • “Myra Garrett is excellent. She is very good at understanding the client relationship and managing it." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Clients say: "She is excellent at translating our legal position into a commercial reality. She robustly defends the important positions and is a clever and adept negotiator." Garrett advised the Irish Times on its acquisition of Landmark Media Investments. Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Clients say that Myra Garrett is "excellent because she is very deadline-oriented and very customer-friendly." She is well respected among peers and clients for her experience of assisting with M&A transactions, IPOs and public takeovers. She has noted expertise in the technology sector. Chambers Global 2018
  • Myra has a particular focus on advising technology companies on fund-raisings, particularly IPOs and open offers. Sources describe her as "hugely competent." Chambers Global 2017 
  • Myra Garrett is a market-leading ECM lawyer, whose "experience is highly impressive". Clients describe Myra as "a very smart lawyer with good commercial focus."  Chambers Global, 2016

Stephen Keogh

  • Stephen has been ranked for his work in Corporate and M&A in Chambers Global 2020 and Chambers Europe 2020. He has also been ranked as 'Highly Regarded' in IFLR1000 2020
  • Stephen is a well-regarded practitioner whom sources describe as "very active in the market." He has experience of acquisitions involving the recruitment and healthcare sectors. Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Stephen Keogh is  "superb". Legal 500 2018
  • Clients say: "He is practical and constructive, explains things clearly and is a skilled negotiator." Chambers Global 2018
  • Clients say he is "top-class: a great guy who does a great job." Chambers Global 2017
  • "Stephen has been extremely helpful at all times - he responds quickly to queries and is generally available if needed”. IFLR 1000 2017 
  • "He has the highest integrity, and is bright, commercial, solution-focused and always gets results."  Chambers Global 2016

Alvin Price

  • Consultant Alvin Price is "well versed in advising international and domestic clients on all aspects of commercial law. He has significant expertise in Irish takeover law and remains active in domestic M&A transactions". Chambers Global 2018
  • Alvin Price is seen by clients as "an extraordinarily strategic individual." Chambers Global 2017

Mark Quealy

  • Mark regularly acts for companies on cross-border disposals to private equity funds. Clients value Mark's knowledge and experience, with one source reporting: "He is very knowledgeable in terms of the market and gives good guidance." Chambers Global 2020
  • Mark progresses in the rankings, with one client describing him as "very proactive and pragmatic," and another saying that "he is very focused on commercial outcomes." He has particular experience of transactions involving private equity and venture capital elements. Chambers Europe 2019
  • Mark Quealy is "well-prepared." Legal 500 2018
  • Clients appreciate that he is "very quick to determine what to do from a practical point of view to get the deal over the line quickly." He has played a key role on numerous recent acquisitions. Chambers Global 2018

Shane Kelleher

  • Shane has been ranked in Chambers FinTech 2020, one interviewee says: “Shane is up there as one of the experts in payment licences, e-money and in working with lots of FinTechs." 
  • Shane has been described by clients as "Diligent, responsive, efficient, knowledgeable and having good regulator relations." Another client adds that he "is an outstanding regulatory lawyer. He deals expertly with highly technical matters and is extremely responsive and pro-active. He is very highly respected by both our in-house legal team and the wider business." IFLR1000 2020
  • Clients describe Shane as "an outstanding regulatory lawyer. He deals expertly with highly technical matters and is extremely responsive and pro-active. He is very highly respected by both our in-house legal team and the wider business."... "He is highly responsive and knowledgeable with respect to the FinTech legal and regulatory space. He brings a forthright and challenging mind-set with a keen eye on the commercial aspects of each regulatory challenge."..."Diligent, responsive, efficient, knowledgeable and good regulator relations." IFLR 1000 2019
  • Clients appreciate his “extremely strong regulatory advice, which adopts a sensible risk based approach to issues. Huge attention to detail and depth of knowledge.” IFLR 1000 2018
     



     

     

Key Contacts

Bryan Bourke Managing Partner

Stephen Keogh Partner

Andrew McIntyre Partner

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