Sidley Austin has hired a pair of partners from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld as it moves to grow its private equity offering.
Among the new arrivals is David D’Urso, who previously led Akin’s US PE M&A practice. He has joined Sidley’s 500-lawyer M&A and PE practice in New York alongside Elazar Guttman.
“With David and Elazar’s experience representing sponsors in domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, we know our clients will value their guidance in the global private equity market,” said Brian Fahrney, global co-leader of Sidley’s M&A and PE practice.
“David and Elazar each have previous relationships with many of our lawyers and clients that are excited they are joining the Sidley team,” he added.
D’Urso brings nearly 30 years’ experience advising on complex private equity transactions and focuses on structuring and negotiating M&A deals, divestitures and joint ventures.
He joined Akin in 2006 from O’Melveny & Myers and counts private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, financial institutions and family offices among his clients. At Akin, he led deal teams that acted for TPG Angelo Gordon and Bessemer Investors and also led the team that advised Alden Global in its $633m acquisition of Tribune Publishing in 2021.
Meantime Guttman joined Akin in 2019 from Kirkland & Ellis and advises on domestic and cross-border leveraged buyouts and other complex business transactions including acquisitions, divestitures, debt and equity financings and growth capital investments. His client roster covers PE firms such as Sentinel Capital Partners as well as their portfolio companies, family offices and entrepreneurs.
The duo’s arrival at Sidley follows a 17% downturn in M&A worldwide in 2023, when the overall value of private equity-backed buyouts fell 30% compared to the year before to $566bn according to LSEG. Despite the decline, 2023 ranked as the sixth largest year for PE-backed M&A since records began in 1980.
Sidley also bolstered its private equity offering late last year with the hire of a team in New York from Paul Weiss that included partners Jeffrey Kochian, Gerald Brant and Brittany Harrison and a counsel.
Earlier in the year the firm had also raided Paul Weiss for a double partner hire in London with the arrival of Ramy Wahbeh and Kaisa Kuusk. Wahbeh is now co-leader of Sidley’s global private equity practice. That followed a similar double partner hire in London from Weil Gotschal & Manges with the arrival of private equity lawyers James MacArthur and Ed Freeman.