Mr. Gillespie's practice focuses on complex business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, recapitalizations, workouts and restructurings. He has particular experience in investment grade, leveraged and event-driven financing. He has represented top-tier private equity sponsors in new money control transactions and LBOs; non-bank alternative asset managers in capital deployment, investment and lending transactions, including significant loan portfolio acquisitions and related structured financings, unitranche, mezzanine and PIK lending, and strategic debt advisory work; and client portfolio companies in portfolio financing, refinancing, distressed and restructuring matters, including rescue financings, debt for equity swaps and strategic workouts.
Mr. Gillespie has been consistently cited as a leading finance lawyer in all the leading legal directories, including Chambers Global (all editions since 2006), The Legal 500 (all editions since 1998), Chambers UK and PLC Which Lawyer. He is recognized as a key figure in the European acquisition finance field and was featured in The Chambers Global 100 (2013 edition). He was described:
- in the Legal 500 (2017 edition) as "excellent"
- in The Legal 500 (2015 edition) as "superb",
- in The Legal 500 (2008 edition) as "one of the best debt lawyers in Europe",
- in Chambers Global (2009 edition) as "a seriously good lawyer", "excellent to deal with" and "an emergent market leader",
- in Chambers Global (2013 edition) as "arguably the best finance lawyer for LBO financing in London: he is technically superb, commercially astute and he inspires confidence in everyone. His reputation in the marketplace makes people accept when he is hammering home a point",
- in Chambers UK (2018 edition) as "a fantastic lawyer",
- in Chambers UK (2018 edition) as "has the rare ability to vigorously represent his clients without putting anybody else offside",
- in Chambers UK (2014 edition) as "incredibly well established and carries a lot of weight in discussions",
- in Chambers UK (2010 edition) as a "guru of the market" and a "wise and business-savvy deal doer".
Mr. Gillespie and teams led by him have won numerous awards in recognition of work done by them including "Banking Team of the Year" at The Lawyer Awards (twice), "Projects/PFI Team of the Year" at The Lawyer Awards, "Banking Deal of the Year" at the Legal Business Awards and, at Kirkland& Ellis, Stephen received the Private Equity News Banking and Finance Award for Excellence in Advisory Services in Europe in 2008 on behalf of the Kirkland & Ellis European financing team.
Mr. Gillespie is a founder member of the advisory board for the Oxford University Masters in Law and Finance programme and leads an annual Senior Practitioner's Seminar on that programme. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Oxford (BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, 1984, MA 1989) and of the College of Law, Guildford (LPC, 1985).
Before joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Gillespie was the senior partner in the European Debt Finance practice at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, where he practiced since 2006. Prior to that, he served as a banking partner, and co-head of the global banking practice, at Allen & Overy LLP, where he practiced from 1991 to 2006.
Representative recent matters include*:
- Financing arrangements in connection with a portfolio acquisition by Apollo
- Bain Capital Credit:
- on their investment in the refinancing of Humana AB;
- in relation to the purchase of (and associated financing in relation to) a portfolio of investments comprising the JP Morgan Global Special Opportunities Group business *;
- in relation to their purchase of a corporate loan portfolio from Bank of Scotland International and associated structured financing *;
- on the purchase of a corporate loan portfolio from Lloyds Banking Group and three other proposed portfolio purchases from Lloyds Banking Group *
- Advantage Partners in relation to the acquisition of GST AutoLeather Inc, and subsequent restructuring and refinancing *
- Advent International in raising a first and second lien "yankee loan" in relation to their bid for Applus, a pan-European measuring and systems testing business owned by Carlyle *
- Bain Capital:
- in relation to the $250 million take-private of the China Fire & Security Group *;
- $1.8 billion acquisition of the Ideal Standard kitchens and bathrooms business of American Standard *
- $3.5 billion public-to-private acquisition of Edgars Consolidated Stores (South Africa) *;
- $4.5 billion acquisition of Philips Semiconductors (now called NXP) *
- Cinven and GS Capital Partners on the disposal of Ahlsell for SEK 15.5 billion (€1.8 billion) *
- Edgars Consolidated Stores on its credit card receivables securitization programme *
- Ideal Standard on raising asset backed and securitization financing *
- Industri Kapital AB €300 million acquisition of Attendo Healthcare *
- The Kerzner Group in relation to the refinancing of their corporate debt facilities *
- Montagu Private Equity LLP DKK2.5 billion acquisition of Unifeeder A/S *
- Park Square Capital in relation to the €350 million mezzanine financing to support the take-private of Douglas Holdings by Advent International plc, the largest German take-private since 2007 *
- Paul Capital in relation to its investment in and exit from Plethora Solutions Holdings PLC *
- R20 Limited $2.0 billion sale and leaseback of 300 tenanted public houses in England and Scotland *
- Smurfit Kappa Group PLC in relation to their Euro 1.5 billion investment grade refinancing*
- Viridian Group Limited and Arcapita Bank in relation to the Viridian 2014 bank and bond refinancing*
- Vista Equity Partners in relation to the £1.2 billion take-private of Misys plc, the largest take-private transaction completed in London in 2012 and the first hostile takeover since the changes to the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers *
- Numerous specialist investors in relation to the acquisition and exploitation of leveraged debt in the European leveraged loans market *
* Includes matters prior to Gibson Dunn