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Gavin Davies

Head of Global M&A practice

Gavin supports clients on international M&A, investment and governance matters.

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Experience

Gavin has particular expertise in public takeovers, private capital, strategic board advice and shareholder engagement. Sector focusses in technology, media & telecoms, financial services, and real estate. He regularly advises on matters involving complex or novel structures, distressed M&A, and contentious or crisis situations. 

Recognised as a Leading Individual in the UK Legal 500 for upper mid-market and premium deals, and in Who's Who Legal as a Thought Leader in Global M&A: "Gavin Davies is a very experienced M&A expert. Very responsive and on top of the details; doesn’t just pass on to others in his team. Classic trusted adviser"; "Clients full of praise for his technically astute and diligent approach"; "The impressive and efficient Gavin Davies acts for financial investors, as well as corporates and financial institutions and is an absolute pleasure to work with"; "Gavin is responsive, calm under pressure and creative".

He has twice led teams winning Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards, in 2009 and 2016. 

Gavin's experience includes advising private capital and corporate clients: 
 

  • Evergreen Coast Capital, an affiliate of Elliott Investment Management, and Brookfield on the US$16bn consortium acquisition of Nielsen Holdings plc
  • OneWeb on its proposed combination with Eutelsat Communications valuing OneWeb at US$3.4bn 
  • Bharti Group, the UK Government and OneWeb on equity investments in the OneWeb satellite group from SoftBank, Hughes Network, Eutelsat and Hanwha totalling US$2.7bn, and Bharti Group on its US$1bn consortium acquisition with the UK Government of OneWeb from a US bankruptcy process 
  • British Land plc on its sale of 50% of its share in the Canada Water Development Masterplan to AustralianSuper, on the £1bn sale of the UBS headquarters building in Broadgate to CK Asset Holdings, and on the sale of its Broadgate Estates third party property management portfolio to Savills
  • Pearson plc on the sale of its local K12 Courseware businesses in Italy and Germany to Sanoma Corporation, on its share buyback programmes, on edtech investments by Pearson Ventures, on joint venture arrangements in Southern Africa, and on a range of other acquisitions, disposals and investments
  • Reaction Engines on BAe Systems' investment and collaboration on the SABRE rocket engine programme, on Rolls-Royce's investment and partnership agreement, on further equity investments by Boeing Horizon X, the UK Government/British Business Bank and others, and on a collaboration with the IP Group and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council to create a world leading decarbonisation technology company
  • Arris International plc, a telecoms equipment manufacturer, on the US$7.4bn public takeover by CommScope Inc, and on Arris' £1.4bn public takeover of Pace plc
  • VMO2 and Telefonica on the VMO2 / Vodafone UK mobile towers joint venture Cornerstone
  • Telefonica on the proposed £10bn sale of O2 to Hutchison Whampoa/Three, on the proposed £31bn O2/Virgin Media merger, and on O2's mobile payments and marketing joint venture with Vodafone and Everything Everywhere 
  • IHS Holding on its acquisition of over 5,700 telecoms towers in South Africa from MTN Group, on its acquisition of Helios Towers Nigeria (over 1,200 towers) from Helios, and on its acquisition of over 1,100 towers in Zambia and Rwanda from Bharti Airtel
  • ORIX Corporation on its acquisition of a 70% stake in Gravis Capital Management, an alternative asset manager of funds investing primarily in the U.K. infrastructure, renewable energy and real estate sectors
  • Hanover Investors on its public takeovers of Escher plc, Hydro International plc, Kalibrate Technologies plc, Brady plc and ClearStar Inc, and investments into Elementis plc and Regenersis plc
  • Acacia Research Corporation on its acquisition of a portfolio of life sciences companies from the LF Equity Income Fund, and on its shareholder engagement with Arix Bioscience plc
  • Sherborne Investors on the establishment of Guernsey listed funds, and on shareholder engagement in Electra Private Equity plc, 3i Group plc, F&C Asset Management plc and Spirent Communications plc 
  • Oaktree and other shareholders on their intervention on the US$3.4bn takeover of satellite group Inmarsat plc, and on its shareholder engagement in Ranger Direct Lending plc
  • Orange on its acquisition of the cloud based infrastructure and computing services business Basefarm from Abry Partners and management
  • Sumitomo on its acquisition of the QPark Nordic parking business from KKR, on its investment into the Sekal AS drilling and analytics business, and on its investment into AIM listed Entertainment AI plc
  • Willis Towers Watson on the sale of its Miller insurance business to Cinven and GIC, on European aspects of the proposed AON combination, on the reorganisation of its African business across 15 African jurisdictions, on its investment into Miller and on a number of other acquisitions and disposals
  • STV plc on its placing of new shares, on its television network partnership arrangements with ITV/ UK Channel 3 network arrangements, and on various other corporate matters
  • Tetra Tech Inc on its acquisition of Hoare Lea LLP engineering consultancy 
  • Convoy Global Holdings as major shareholder on the sale of digital wealth adviser Nutmeg to JP Morgan
  • InterGlobe Enterprises on its acquisition of the K+K portfolio of hotels across 10 jurisdictions in Europe from Goldman Sachs
  • Blackstone on its sale of Chiswick Park business park to China Investment Corporation, its acquisitions of St Enochs Shopping Centre from Ivanhoe Cambridge, of Broadgate Quarter, of Cannon Bridge House, of 25 North Colonnade, of the Teal industrial portfolio from Prologis, of the Triangle distribution portfolio from London & Stamford and Anglesea, and its takeover of Hansteen plc 
  • Blancco Technology Group plc on its acquisition of data-erasure specialist Blancco Oy, on the sales of its Aftermarket Services business to CTDI Inc and of its Polish business Digital Care to Mazovia Capital, and on its capital raising and share buyback programmes
  • The UK Government Shareholder Executive on its £2.3bn sale of The Green Investment Bank to Macquarie 
  • Private capital on growth investments in Avalon SteriTech, Africa Internet Group, Blippar, Farfetch, Funding Circle, The Imaginarium and Secret Escapes 
  • EDF on its £12.4bn takeover of British Energy plc, the British nuclear power fleet, using innovative contingent value rights “Nuclear Power Notes” 
  • The Government of Sierra Leone on a range of governance and international investment projects, in agribusiness, energy, fisheries, industrials and telecoms, through our Fair Deal Sierra Leone pro bono project

Background

Gavin is head of the Global M&A Practice, a member of the governing Board and audit/risk committee of our firm, and a member of the UK Government DIT Investment Trade Advisory Group (TAG). 

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 practice from 2006 to 2013. Gavin studied English Literature at Cambridge University, Gonville & Caius College, and law at the College of Law in London.

Works with, and is a former Trustee and Chair of The International Lawyers Project, a leading international charitable organisation providing the skills of senior lawyers to promote human rights, sustainable economic development and the rule of law worldwide. Advises the Government of Sierra Leone on investment matters, having founded our "Fair Deal Sierra Leone" pro bono project which supports the Government of Sierra Leone on a pro bono basis. 

 

Related news and deals

26 July 2022

Herbert Smith Freehills advises OneWeb on its proposed combination with Eutelsat

10 June 2022

Herbert Smith Freehills advises Pearson on sale of Italian and German K12 Courseware businesses to Sanoma