Walkers Legal Internship Programme nurtures future talent

Walkers is delighted to announce that its Legal Internship Programme ran for three weeks, from 17 July to 4 August.  Hosting 10 students this summer, the programme was designed to provide these aspiring legal professionals with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a leading global law firm.

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Jan Golaszewski joins Walkers team in London as Insolvency & Dispute Resolution partner

Leading offshore Insolvency & Dispute Resolution lawyer Jan Golaszewski has joined Walkers team in London in a lateral partner hire from another offshore law firm in the City.

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What can we learn from recent enforcement actions in the Cayman Islands?

Walkers' regulatory partners Lucy Frew and Ian Mason consider the learning points for financial services providers (FSPs) from recent enforcement actions by Cayman regulatory bodies.

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Walkers announces 29 senior legal and professional services promotions

Walkers, the international financial services firm, is boosting its legal and professional services teams with 28 senior promotions effective from 1 July.

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Walkers Advises Maker Foundation on Dissolution, Achieving Full Decentralization

Walkers has advised longstanding client Maker, the leading software development team that bootstrapped the well-known Ethereum-based decentralised finance (DeFi) protocol, on a restructure which resulted in operations being fully turned over to the Maker Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO).

DeFi allows financial products to become available on a public decentralized blockchain network. That makes them open for anyone to use, rather than relying on financial intermediaries, like banks. In addition, the MakerDAO protocol allows users the ability to execute the kind of complex functionality required by modern finance applications.

The MakerDAO protocol was initially fully decentralised. In 2018, members of MakerDAO decided to house some protocol development within the Maker Ecosystem Growth Foundation (MEGF), one of the first Foundation Companies to be incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Now coming full circle, the road back to decentralisation has been completed, the operation of the protocol has been entirely turned over to the DAO, which already managed the protocol by vote, and MEGF has been dissolved.

International law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as lead counsel to Maker, with Walkers acting as Cayman Islands counsel. The Walkers team, led by Cayman Islands Partner Melissa Lim and Dubai Senior Associate Tom Hagger, with assistance from Cayman Islands Partners Lucy Frew, Monique Bhullar and Peter Kendall and Cayman Islands Associate Christian Bourke, have been advising Maker since 2017.

The Maker Foundation's former General Counsel, Brian C. Avello commented: "Since its founding, Maker has always navigated uncharted waters. Establishing MEGF, completing its limited development mission, dissolving the foundation company, and leaving the protocol fully in the hands of the MakerDAO community has been a challenging experience to say the least. None of it would have been possible without the insights and guidance from Melissa, Tom, and the rest of the Walkers team."

Melissa Lim commented: "This is a truly ground-breaking transaction and one which we believe sets a precedent in the market for other similar protocols seeking to work towards a fully decentralised model. MakerDAO is at the cutting edge of what can be achieved with blockchain technology and we fully expect to see other projects follow the same route to decentralisation."

"We are delighted to have worked with the teams at Maker and Skadden over the years to reach this conclusion."

Walkers Bermuda acts for Athene Holding Ltd. on Apollo Global Management Merger

Walkers Bermuda is pleased to have assisted Athene Holding Ltd. on the Bermuda law aspects of its merger under Apollo Global Management, Inc., which closed on 1 January 2022.

As a result of the merger, the combined entity, Apollo Global Management, Inc., has two principal subsidiaries: Apollo Asset Management (formerly Apollo Global Management, Inc.), its alternative asset management business, and Athene, its retirement services business.  Following the transaction, Apollo Global Management, Inc. is now the publicly traded combined entity. The last trading day closing prices of both Apollo and Athene stock implies a market capitalization of $43 billion for Apollo Global Management, Inc..

The Walkers team was led by managing partner, Kevin Taylor and corporate partner, Natalie Neto, assisted by senior counsel, Rachel Nightingale, senior associate, Tom Toriola and associate, Nick Howard. Natalie Neto said "We are delighted to have assisted Athene and to have worked with such experienced leadership team on this important and strategic transaction. We wish the combined business every success."

Walkers London acts on Inchcape's Acquisitions from Simpson Group

Walkers' London office is pleased to have acted as Cayman Islands counsel to Inchcape plc ("Inchcape") in relation to its acquisition of Interamericana Trading Corp. and Simpson Motors Limited from the Simpson Group.

Interamericana Trading Corp. is an independent automotive distributor in the Caribbean, where it currently distributes vehicles to over 30 territories, and Simpson Motors Limited is a full-service automotive retailer operating in Barbados.

Inchcape's entry into the Caribbean market pursuant to this transaction expands its distribution footprint in the Americas, and the acquired businesses are expected to add approximately £120 million of annualised revenue and be accretive to the Inchcape group's margins. The transaction remains subject to customary conditions and is anticipated to complete in the first half of 2022.

London-based partner, Neil McDonald, led the Walkers team advising Inchcape on Cayman Islands law with assistance from associates, Tom Esler and Catherine Outerbridge.

Mr. McDonald commented: "We are delighted to have assisted Inchcape in relation to this acquisition, which represents an exciting expansion of its geographic reach in the Americas region. Congratulations to Inchcape and everyone involved."

Walkers worked alongside Herbert Smith Freehills LLP on the transaction.

Walkers acts on Final Airbus A380 Delivery

Walkers and Walkers Professional Services ("WPS") are pleased to have acted on the last ever delivery of an Airbus A380 superjumbo. The A380, the world's largest commercial aircraft with capacity to fly over 500 passengers, was launched by Airbus in the early 2000s to connect hubs across the globe.

In 2019, it was announced that production of the A380 would end in 2021, marking the end of a 14-year production run. The final aircraft off of the production line has been leased to Dubai's Emirates, who were also the first airline to place an order for the A380. The final A380 is the 123rd to join Emirates and the 251st delivered by Airbus. The A380, although no longer in production, will continue to operate in the skies for the foreseeable future with Emirates and other carriers, including British Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Walkers' aviation legal team acting on the transaction, was led by Cayman Islands aviation expert Sarah Humpleby with assistance from Dubai senior counsel Terry-Ann Arch and Cayman Islands associate Alexandra Franklin. The WPS team on the matter included Cayman Islands senior vice president Elaine Anderson, Dubai senior vice president Aaron Bennett and Cayman Islands vice president Jacobus Pietersen.

Walkers London acts on Argo Real Estate Acquisition

Walkers' London office is pleased to have acted as counsel to The Blackstone Group Inc. (through an affiliate) ("Blackstone") in relation to its acquisition of a significant property portfolio from Argo Real Estate ("Argo").

The Argo property portfolio was acquired by Blackstone for circa £180m and includes seven units in London and one in Manchester, totalling 717,000 sq. ft. of last mile logistics space.

London-based partner, Neil McDonald, led the Walkers team with assistance from senior counsel James Denham, senior associate Thomas Mawson, and associates Tom Esler and Catherine Outerbridge.

Mr. McDonald commented: "We are delighted to have assisted Blackstone in the acquisition of this strategic property portfolio. Changing customer demands, coupled with the ongoing growth in e-commerce, are shaping the way logistics are fulfilled and we expect to see continued investment activity in the logistics and industrial sectors for the foreseeable future."

Walkers worked alongside Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP on the transaction.

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