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

Revenue Publishes New Manual on the Companies Act 2014 and Irish Mergers and Divisions

Revenue provides guidance on tax implications of domestic mergers and divisions


Mid-year M&A Review 2019

Ireland’s M&A environment remains strong despite Brexit and global uncertainty


Central Register of Beneficial Ownership Goes Live

Companies have until 22 November 2019 to file beneficial ownership information with newly established register


Venture capital funding falls by 41% to €197m in first quarter

IVCA VenturePulse survey suggests more positive underlying trend


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Department

  • 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
  • "The legal advice is always given in a digestible, user-friendly format, and the team understands market practices well, not just in Ireland but internationally. It is sophisticated in what it does."
    "The team is good at cutting through to the key issues and comprehensive in terms of identifying risks. The team is responsive, the level of care and attention is strong and
    the advice is clear to understand."
    Chambers Global, 2015 
  • William Fry’s team has ‘tremendous industry knowledge and experience’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • "We use William Fry because it has such a broad base. When you are doing a deal and it spans a number of sectors you get someone co-ordinating matters." "It is very much solution-oriented and presents us with a spectrum of outcomes which really helps with the decision-making process." Chambers Europe, 2014
  • William Fry is "a very professional firm with a great breadth of legal and business acumen".  Legal 500 EMEA, 2014

Team

  • Bryan Bourke
    • 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
    • "Extemely shrewd and extremely trustworthy," Bryan Bourke always has his clients' interest in mind.  Chambers Global 2015
    • Practice head Bryan Bourke is ‘a brilliant lawyer who delivers in full and on time’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Clients describe Bryan Bourke as "an excellent quarterback. He can translate stuff from the Irish context and knows all the details without losing the bigger picture. His team was extremely thorough." Chambers Global 2014
    • Bryan Bourke is ‘technically brilliant'. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
  • Shane O'Donnell
    •  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 
    • Shane is praised by clients for his practical approach; "in addition to legal skills, he also brings a commercial dimension," comments one source. Chambers Global 2015
    • Shane O’Donnell is  ‘knowledgeable’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Shane is praised by clients for his top-rate negotiation and management skills. Chambers Global 2014
    • Shane O’Donnell is 'recommended.' Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
  • Myra Garrett
    • 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
    • "Highly skilled practitioner Myra Garrett is well regarded by peers and clients for her expertise in the corporate/M&A field, with particular strengths in the technology sector."  Chambers Global 2015
    • Myra Garrett is ‘commercially savvy’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Myra Garrett is known in the market as a "formidable operator" with particular expertise in the technology sector. Clients add that "she is very good at pulling together the broader resources. We are very impressed with her personality, capability and strength of knowledge."  Chambers Global 2014
  • Stephen Keogh
    • 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
    • "Stephen Keogh has experience in dealing with cross-border mandates for multinational clients. He also has expertise in handling private equity transactions."  Chambers Global 2015
    • Stephen is an ‘exceptional professional’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Stephen has notable strength in technology. According to clients, he "always impresses everybody, is very pragmatic and cuts to the core of things with his commercial mind." Chambers Global 2014
  • Brendan Cahill
    • Brendan Cahill offers in-depth knowledge of cross-border merger and acquisitions, focusing on inward investment and foreign direct investment, with a significant client base amongst US multinationals. Chambers Europe 2016
    • "Brendan Cahill is a recognised M&A practitioner with experience in handling cross-border transactions, particularly in the USA." Chambers Global 2015
    • Brendan is recognised by sources as an "excellent practitioner."  Chambers Global 2014
  • 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
    • "Chairman Alvin Price is a renowned expert in the field of corporate/M&A, assisting clients with critical issues arising out of complex transactions. He has a profound understanding of Irish takeover law." Chambers Global 2015 
    • Alvin Price is known for his ability to "close the deal with a great level of engagement. He pulls the team together and comes in and tops and tails it." One client appreciated the personal service provided: "It feels like there is a lot of communication and interaction in the background. He was almost like your account manager and saves you money because you don't have to repeat yourself." Chambers Global 2014
  • David Fitzgibbon
    • David is praised by one client for being "thorough, very knowledgeable and very practical." He is especially adept at advising on public M&A and takeovers, as well as capital reorganisations. ​Chambers Europe 2019
    • Market commentators praise him and note: "He understands the internal processes of the client and adds value over and above legal advice." Chambers Global 2018
    • David Fitzgibbon, who is "very good in front of a board of directors". Legal 500 2018
  • Eavan Saunders 
    • Moving up the rankings, Eavan Saunders is "a very impressive and commercially astute transactional lawyer who always puts her client's commercial interests at the heart of her advice," according to one source. Chambers Europe 2019
    • Satisfied clients describe Eavan Saunders as "very commercial and accomplished legally, with a keen commercial instinct." She advised York Capital Management on its purchase of Wilton Shopping Centre. Chambers Global 2018
  • Mark Quealy 
    • 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 
    • 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

Shane O'Donnell Partner

Myra Garrett Partner

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