Cleary Gottlieb was one of the first international law firms to act on IPOs by Indian companies following the introduction of India’s liberalisation programme in 1991, and has continued to handle significant matters in the country ever since. Leadership of the nine-lawyer team is divided among five “highly respected” India specialists, who bring a diverse skillset to the table. The team focuses on inbound and outbound M&A, private equity, capital markets offerings, outsourcing and dispute resolution for companies based in India, as well as for international clients looking at investing in India.
Among the India group leaders are Tihir Sarkar, a corporate partner with a strong focus on international M&A and joint venture transactions, securities specialist Sebastian Sperber, international financing expert Raj Panasar, commercial disputes lawyer Sunil Gadhia, and senior India consultant and corporate specialist Shreya Lal Damodaran. All are based in the firm’s London office.
In the past year the firm has acted as counsel to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the sale of Indiabased DSP Merrill Lynch’s wealth management business to Julius Baer Group, involving the transfer of over 2,000 employees and approximately $84 billion of assets under management. It also acted as counsel to Lafarge in the €200 million sale of a 14 per cent minority stake in its subsidiary Lafarge India to Baring Private Equity Asia: one of the largest private equity investments to date in the Indian cement industry.
Other engagements include acting as counsel to B4U Television network in connection with its planned acquisition by Eros International, a Bollywood film producer and distributor; TPG Asia in connection with its investment in India’s Shriram Properties and its acquisition of the wholesale trading, institutional sales and franchise businesses of India’s Vishal Retail; and Citigroup Global Markets India, Deutsche Equities India, Goldman Sachs (India) Securities, Kotak Securities, Morgan Stanley India and SBICap Securities as brokers in connection with a $2 billion sale of shares of state-owned utilities company NTPC.