White & Case launches Debt Finance practice in Australia; adds David Kirkland and Mark Wesseldine in Sydney

Press Release
4 min read

Global law firm White & Case LLP has established its Debt Finance practice in Australia with the addition of David Kirkland and Mark Wesseldine in Sydney.

"The launch of our Debt Finance practice in Australia with the arrival of David and Mark is an important development as we continue to strengthen our global leveraged finance capabilities," said White & Case partner Eric Leicht, global head of the Firm’s Debt Finance practice. "White & Case is one of the few international law firms with a dedicated private credit and direct lending practice and our unique global offering supports clients across the full spectrum of this market. With the private investment sector in Asia-Pacific growing and global investors increasingly active in the region, the addition of these two leading lawyers positions White & Case as a key player in the Australian market and sends a clear signal that we are committed to grow with clients expanding their finance business in Asia-Pacific."

White & Case partner Eugene Man, Head of Debt Finance and Restructuring, Asia-Pacific, said: "We are launching our Debt Finance practice in Australia with two highly regarded lawyers who have built great practices that have an exciting fit with our strong existing private credit and broader leveraged finance practices in Asia and globally. David has a strong reputation in the Australian market as a finance lawyer with a practice embracing deals across the leveraged finance spectrum. Mark is an out-and-out private credit specialist and acknowledged leader in the field who has focused exclusively on that market since its earliest days. These additions make us the only major law firm with a leading, specialized private credit function in Asia-Pacific and cement our standing as the number one choice for private credit work, worldwide."

David advises lenders, borrowers and sponsors on international and domestic leveraged, acquisition, syndicated, infrastructure and general finance transactions, both senior and subordinated. He has particular experience acting on cross-border leveraged finance transactions utilising structures such as US-style term loan Bs, unitranche loans, super-senior revolving facilities, high yield notes and asset backed loans, as well as more traditional bank facilities. David also supports administrators, lenders, corporates and other stakeholders on distressed and restructuring transactions and has worked on some of the largest recent restructurings in the Australian market. He joins White & Case from Gilbert + Tobin, where he was a partner, and brings nearly 20 years of experience including five years in the London market.

Mark advises lenders, borrowers and sponsors on a variety of cross-border leveraged buyout financings, special situation investments and distressed and restructuring transactions. He has particular experience representing international credit funds, financial institutions, specialist senior loan and subordinated credit investors and other private investors in multi-tranche and unitranche capital investments, whether in the form of first lien or second lien loans, mezzanine loans and notes, private high yield and/or holdco PIK notes, as well as preferred equity, warrants and minority co-investments. Mark’s private credit experience also extends to advising clients providing capital solutions to stressed credits, whether in the form of ‘new money’ liquidity facilities, as part of a balance sheet restructuring and/or in relation to a liability management exercise (including coercive debt exchanges). He joins White & Case on his return to Australia after 20 years in London, where he was a partner at Allen & Overy and, most recently, King & Spalding where he advised on numerous high profile and market leading transactions in Europe.

"The arrival of David and Mark represents a significant broadening of our capabilities and further strengthening of our bench in Sydney, as White & Case continues to invest in the Australian market," said Kate Perumal, White & Case Office Executive Partner in Sydney. "Since the summer of 2021, the Sydney office has grown its mergers and acquisitions team with the lateral addition of partners Chris Flynn and Tim Kennedy from Gilbert + Tobin, and added further strength to our Australian project development and finance practice with the arrival of partner Joanne Emerson Taqi from Norton Rose. We have also launched our antitrust practice with the addition of partners Stephanie Benson from Allen & Overy and Belinda Harvey from Norton Rose. David and Mark demonstrate our commitment to continue building a team that supports leading clients on their most important, complex matters."

White & Case partner Don Baker, a member of the Firm's global Executive Committee, said: "As we approach six years since White & Case launched in Australia, there continues to be exciting momentum in our progress, as there is for the Firm across Asia-Pacific more broadly. As we continue to build our leading Australian corporate and disputes practices, alongside our established strength in project development and finance, establishing a first class leveraged finance offering further enhances our capabilities and will benefit existing clients as well as creating new opportunities to grow our presence in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region."

White & Case is ranked Band 1 by Chambers & Partners for advising on banking and finance deals in Asia-Pacific. Chambers & Partners also ranks White & Case Band 1 for banking and finance globally.

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