US law firm, White & Case, has announced the launch of its debt finance practice in Australia alongside its appointment of David Kirkland and Mark Wesseldine, in Sydney.
Both new partners joined the firm on October 31; Kirkland from Gilbert + Tobin, and Wesseldine from King & Spalding.
The decision to launch a debt finance practice in Australia at this point in time is motivated by the growing private credit market in Asia Pacific, and the increasingly active pool of global investors that can be found in the region, explained Eugene Man, White & Case partner and head of the Debt Finance and Restructuring practice for Asia Pacific, to FinanceAsia.
“With the addition of Mark Wesseldine and David Kirkland to our existing Debt Finance bench in key markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo, [we] position White & Case as the only major law firm with a leading, specialised private credit function in Asia Pacific,” he added.
In earlier roles, Kirkland has advised on international and domestic finance transactions, including leveraged, acquisition, and syndicated structures, as well as infrastructure deals. In particular, he has been involved in cross-border leveraged finance transactions utilising US-style term loan Bs, unitranche loans, super-senior revolving facilities, high yield notes and asset backed loans, as well as more traditional bank facilities, Man explained. Prior to joining Gilbert + Tobin in 2013, he was a senior associate at Latham & Wakins in London.
Meanwhile, Wesseldine’s career to date has focussed on cross-border leveraged buyout financings, special situation investments and distressed and restructuring transactions. He has worked with international credit funds, financial institutions, specialist senior loan and subordinated credit investors, and other private investors in multi-tranche and unitranche capital investment. He was a partner at Ropes & Gray for four years before joining King & Spalding in 2017.
Following their recruitment, White & Case now has 126 lawyers in Australia, including 29 partners. Its practices include M&A, Corporate Finance, Project Development and Project Finance, Debt Finance, Dispute Resolution, Taxation, Property, and Competition.
The firm last month announced the appointment of five partners in APAC, as part of a wider promotion spree across 15 locations. In September, it appointed Stefanie Benson as antitrust partner in Sydney, and boosted its project development and finance practice with the addition of Kristian Bradshaw in Tokyo, in March.
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