Deals of the YEar awards
Global law firm Milbank has made a name for itself throughout Latin America, but it played a stand-out role during the awards period in a number high-profile restructurings and M&A transactions coming out of the Andes, from the Caribbean coast in Colombia to the snow-capped mountains of Chile.
The firm worked on some of the most significant deals of the year, earning it the award for Law Firm of the Year in the Andes.
“We have built a team that is flexible and strong across the whole of the region and across all legal areas of expertise,” says Marcelo Mottesi, partner and co-head of Milbank’s Latin America Practice Group. “Big corporate players and investment banks can come to us with any kind of transaction and we have market-leading expertise.”
A testament to this was Milbank’s work with Avianca, which was the first airline in the region file for bankruptcy and the first to emerge from it. Mottesi says Avianca’s exit from Chapter 11 was one of the most complex and satisfying deals – it also won the award for Cross-Border M&A Deal of the Year.
Among many other noteworthy deals during the awards period, the firm also advised on Chilean retailer Cencosud’s acquisition of US grocery chain The Fresh Market, a transaction that won the award for Cross-Border M&A Deal of the Year.
Looking ahead, Mottesi says he expects M&A activity to remain strong in the region, but the downward trend in capital market transactions that began in 2022 will likely continue into for a few months into new year.
There will be no going back to the buoyant market that defined the start of the decade, he says. “I think the whole of the region needs to have a reset regarding the expectations of pricing, whether it is equity or debt. We are not going back to an era of incredibly easy money and hot markets. I think we will start seeing this reset in second quarter of 2023,” says Mottesi.
When the market does pick up – the firm expects the bulk of the “big” activity out of Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico – Milbank will be ready.
“Our capital markets team is globally recognized for its technical excellence, breadth of experience, innovative approach and imaginative problem solving, and ability to close deals,” he says.
The firm has also worked on several green and sustainability-linked offerings – including a $1.2 billion sustainability-linked bond for Mexican petrochemical company Braskem-Idesa, winner of the award for Corporate High Yield Bond of the Year – the volume of which has picked up significantly across Latin America in a trend that is widely expected to increase as a proportion of all market activity.
Milbank says working sustainability quotas into deal structures represents “a revolutionary and new remit” to which it is fully committed. LF