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World Tax Reviews

Tax
Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie’s New York office excels in tax planning. It advises multinational companies on all aspects of international and domestic tax matters and has a special focus on complex restructuring and planning. The group places an emphasis on tax aspects related to M&A transactions. In addition, its team maintains a dominant position in the tax controversy practice area. 

During the research period, the tax team in New York worked on different transactions and corporate tax matters. A standout deal was representing FedEx on the tax aspects related of its post-acquisition integration with TNT Express, following its €4.4 billion public takeover of TNT which closed in 2016. FedEx is now the second-largest courier company in Europe, with its European headquarters located in Amsterdam/Hoofddorp. The transaction, conducted along with different offices in the US, was remarkable for its high-value tax aspects with large-scale business reorganisations in multiple jurisdictions.  

In terms of lateral moves, of counsel Lawrence Zlatkin joined the firm after almost 25 years of practice in-house at General Electric and GE Capital. 

Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton’s tax team is among the key players in all tax aspects related to domestic and cross-border transactions. It helps clients and investment banks develop solutions for complex M&A, international transactions, private equity and hedge fund formations, joint ventures, restructuring, and public and private financings. It is active in different sectors, including banking, communications and media, healthcare, energy and technology.  

In the last 12 months, the tax group worked on notable transactions. A standout deal was to advise Discovery Communications on the tax aspects on its $14.6 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive. Another interesting mandate saw the group representing TPG Capital and Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe on the tax side of its $4.1 billion acquisition of Kindred Healthcare. Other key clients included Time, the American International Group, Ply Gem, The Carlyle Group and EIG Global Energy Partners. 

Kirkland & Ellis

The tax team at Kirkland & Ellis in the New York office has gained a stellar reputation for its focus on all aspects related to M&A transactions. The tax team is specialised on tax planning in connection with domestic and foreign mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, fund formations, restructuring and reorganisations. The group advises some of the largest US and foreign investment fund sponsors, foreign clients in real estate investments and companies in their restructuring. In addition, the group is also active in the tax controversy practice area. 

In the last 12 months, the team worked on impressive transactions and complex tax matters. One emblematic deal was to represent the Danaher Corporation on the tax aspects of its agreement with General Electric to acquire the biopharma division of GE Life Sciences for a cash purchase valued $21.4 billion. Another standout deal was to advise General Motors on numerous complex cross-border tax matters. Other clients included Bristol-Myers Squibb, ABRY Partners, Amcor and Blackstone Group. 

The tax group added partner Sehj Vather in the past year, hired from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. 

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown’s New York tax team has a dominant position in tax controversy. In addition, the group has established itself as a significant player in tax transactions and consulting. It advises on the tax aspects of capital market issuances, restructuring and has extensive experience in public and private debt, bonds, common and preferred stock, private funds and financial products. Furthermore, the tax group has a special focus on transfer pricing. Brian Kittle leads the tax controversy and transfer pricing practice areas and Jason Bazar leads the transactional tax practice. 

Over the past year, the New York office has handled various cross-border tax matters. In the transactional space, the group advised Altice and Altice USA as tax and structuring counsel on its spin-off of Altice USA and group reorganisation of Altice Europe. Another interesting mandate was the representation of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on a $1.2 billion offering of green bonds led by CIBC World Markets and RBC. In the controversy space, the tax group advised Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. 

The past 12 months have seen the recruitment of partner Thomas Humphreys, hired from Morrison and Forrester. It also hired partners Zal Kumar and JoonBeom Pae, who joined from the New York City Department of Finance and Weil Gotshal & Manges respectively. It saw the departure of partner Erin Gladney to Baker McKenzie, while Kristin Mikolaitis, formerly the head of tax controversy and transfer pricing at the firm, went to Nestlé. Partner David Abbott retired. 

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

The tax group at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom maintains a solid reputation for tax transactional matters. The group works on the most complex tax matters, with an emphasis on M&A. It is also known for representing clients in cross-border tax controversies, including advising on transfer pricing. Steven Matays is the head of its New York tax practice. He brings extensive experience on M&A, spin-offs, corporate, partnership restructurings and joint ventures. David Rievman is the global head of the regulatory practice. He advises US and international clients on tax aspects related to complex transactions, including US and cross-border M&A. 

Over the research period, the tax group handled notable tax matters in the transactional space. A standout mandate was to act as lead counsel to WorldPay on its definitive merger agreement with FIS valued at $43 billion. The matter is still ongoing. Another key matter was to represent DowDuPont in connection with the tax aspects of its intended separation into three independent companies. The team also represented Red Hat on tax aspects of its acquisition by IBM in an all-cash transaction valued at $34 billion. Other key clients included Pfizer, Express Scripts, 21st Century Fox and Coca-Cola. 

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges excels in transactional tax work related to M&A, private equity, restructuring, securitisation, investment trusts, real estate and capital markets. The group also has expertise in advising on bankruptcy related tax matters. Joe Pari is co-chair of the tax department. He has extensive experience in domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, restructuring and bankruptcy. 

During the research period, the tax group has handled complex and high-profile tax matters. A standout mandate was to act as counsel to Dow on the tax aspects of its $40 billion spin-off from DowDuPont as part of DowDuPont’s separation into three independent companies. Another complex mandate was to represent Brookfield Asset Management on various tax aspects, including its $4.8 billion acquisition of a 62% stake in the Oaktree Capital Group. Other key clients included Synchrony Bank, Eli Lilly and Company and Athena Health. 

In December 2018, the law firm hired Pari as co-chair of the tax department. He left KPMG. 

White & Case

White & Case’s biggest strengths lie in international taxation and the tax aspects related to corporate and M&A transactions. Sang Ji leads the firm’s Americas tax practice. He has extensive experience with tax issues arising from M&A, securities offerings and financial products. The tax practice in the New York office has been involved in transactions and projects around the world and it has established itself as an important player, particularly in cross-border transactions. It advises a wide variety of clients such as multinational corporations, financial institutions, investment funds, individuals and governments.  

During the research period, the tax team worked on a number of tax matters related to cross-border transactions. A standout deal was the representation of CVC Capital Partners on its agreement to acquire ConvergeOne in an all-cash transaction valued $1.8 billion. In another interesting mandate, the team advised Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management on its $1.8 billion acquisition, along with Digital Realty Trust, of Ascenty Data Centers, the largest provider of data centres in Brazil. Key clients include Newmont Mining, IFM Investors, Brookfield Infrastructure. 

The New York office strengthened the tax team with the addition of Hagai Zaifman who was previously in-house at GE Capital.