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Gavin Davies

Head of Global M&A practice

Gavin is a senior corporate M&A  lawyer, with particular expertise in public takeovers, shareholder activism, private equity and venture capital investments, and in investment work in Africa.



Gavin has 23 years of experience supporting international financial investors and multi-national corporate clients on cross-border M&A and investments across Europe and Africa. He regularly advises on matters involving complex or novel structures, contentious situations and distressed situations. He has twice led teams winning Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards, in 2009 and 2016.

Gavin has strong sector experience in technology, media & telecoms, real estate and financial services.

Gavin is recommended as a "Leading Individual" in the UK Legal 500, recommended in Who's Who Legal Global M&A as a leading practitioner in international M&A ("clients full of praise for his “technically astute and diligent approach”, “an absolute pleasure to work with”"), and has been identified in Chambers UK as a High End Capability M&A lawyer ("gives “very clear and categorical advice“ and is “highly impressive technically and highly experienced and down to earth“").

Gavin's experience includes advising:

  • Arris Group Inc, a US technology company, on its £1.4 billion takeover offer for Pace plc, a UK-based technology solutions provider
  • Sherborne on stakebuilding and proxy contests in Electra Private Equity plc, 3i Group plc, F&C Asset Management plc and Spirent Communications plc
  • Telefonica SA on the proposed £10.5 billion sale of O2 to Hutchison Whampoa, parent company of UK telecoms company Three
  • Nortel on its global administration and the related disposal of US$5 billion of assets by US bankruptcy sale proceedings
  • IHS Towers on its acquisition of Helios Towers Nigeria, and of further telecoms towers portfolios in Rwanda and Zambia from Bharti Airtel
  • on venture capital investments for Goldman Sachs in Africa Internet Group, and for other financial investors in Farfetch, The Imaginarium and Funding Circle
  • EDF on its £12.4 billion takeover offer for British Energy plc (including the issue of the innovative contingent value rights "Nuclear Power Notes"), the lending banks to KKR on the bridge equity financing of the £11 billion takeover offer for Alliance Boots, and on other takeover offers including Hanover Investors on its takeover offer for Hydro International plc and Warner Brothers on its takeover offer for Shed Media plc



Gavin studied English Literature at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and Law at the College of Law in London.

He joined the firm in 1992 and became a partner in 2000. Gavin has also worked in our office in Singapore and on secondment in New York to a leading US law firm. He led our private equity and financial investors practice from 2006 to 2013.

Gavin led the Herbert Smith team that won a Financial Times Innovative Lawyers award in 2009 for devising the contingent value right structure for the public takeover by EDF of British Energy, and in 2016 for the "Fair Deal Sierra Leone" corporate social responsibility programme.  He advises the Government of Sierra Leone on a pro bono basis: having spent several months in 2010 in Freetown acting for the Government, he founded our "Fair Deal Sierra Leone" pro bono project which supports the Government of Sierra Leone on a pro bono basis.

Gavin also chairs the board of the International Senior Lawyers Project UK, the leading international charitable organisation providing the skills of senior lawyers to promote human rights, sustainable economic development and the rule of law worldwide.


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