AZB & Partners

India

Analysis

Overview

AZB & Partners is renowned as one of the top full service law firms in India with leading practices across every category, including banking, capital markets, corporate and M&A, and private equity. This year, the firm ascends in the rankings for competition, dispute resolution, investment funds, and technology and telecommunications. The firm’s sterling reputation for M&A and private equity makes it a first port of call for heavyweight international and domestic clients hoping to secure its services for big-ticket deals. For example, this year the firm has represented Reliance Jio on its string of investments from a myriad of offshore private equity players, totalling a whopping $15.7 billion at the time of publishing. The firm comprises over 90 partners across six pan-India locations. Founding partners Zia Mody, Ajay Bahl and Bahram Vakil are legends in the market for their corporate and finance specialties. Last year the firm welcomed four M&A specialist partners from L&L Partners, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Tata Sons, while it bid adieu to several other M&A and tax partners.

Client feedback

“A one-stop-shop firm and team, with technical and sector expertise, great team and counterparty management. It is very prompt and responsive.” – Corporate and M&A

“Full-fledged suite of services with experienced professionals in all specialities.” – Corporate and M&A

“The firm provides quality advice each time, without compromising on turnaround timelines and is effective in providing practical and business-oriented solutions. They provide holistic advice on matters of law and understand the nuances well. They are a one-stop solution for us with the ability to seamlessly assist us on various corporate, M&A, competition and disputes matters.” – Corporate and M&A

 “Commercial approach in a difficult environment and has great communications.” – Intellectual property

“I appreciate their knowledge of issues, deep bench, and experience negotiating with multiple limited partners.” – Investment funds

“Team of very experienced professionals. Solution-oriented lawyers with a very good grasp on FDI and fund set up issues.” – Investment funds

“There is an ease of access to partners, up to date information, access to key regulators, and timely delivery.” – Investment funds

“The team is very diligent and articulate. It has an unwavering attention to detail. We have benefitted a great deal from their rich experience in the area. I have personally found its advice to be very practical. At the same time, it is a tough negotiator with the counterparty legal teams.” – Investment funds

“I like their ability to understand the task clearly, they have a good knowledge of legal laws, and have the ability to convey advice succinctly and effectively.” – Private equity

“I find the AZB legal team is very detail-oriented, and the partners and their affiliates are very well prepared for all client interactions and negotiations. The partners represent the transaction in a fair and holistic manner, and play the role of a catalyst in ensuring the transaction gets completed.” – Real estate

“Well-versed with business understanding and practical nuances. We feel the fees are commensurate with the level of services and engaging AZB is value for money.” – Tax

Deepak Chopra

“He has an analytical, professional and persistent approach.”

Sameer Gandhi

“Extremely knowledgeable and nimble on his feet.”

Pallabi Ghosal

“Pallabi has intimate knowledge of all key issues, and is very responsive and practical.”

“Pallabi is a standout lawyer. She is smart, sharp and articulate. She gets the legal nuances well, and is able to speak with confidence at client meetings and with counterpart legal counsel.”

“She has good knowledge and understanding of the subject, possesses good communication skills and is a solutions provider.”

“She has great knowledge and experience. She is accessible 24/7 and open to any discussion.”  

 “Pallabi has rich experience in the area of our engagement. She is able to give us practical advice on structure and negotiations.”

Shivani Kabra

“She is extremely well prepared and her team is on top of things. She has a very sound understanding of the subject, and an ability to highlight issues that are important, and that in turn helps us as clients negotiate on matters that are critical to the transaction.”

Akhilesh Rai

“He has a good team around him, provides practical commercial advice, and is always available.”

Sachin Mehta

“He has an understanding of the intricacies of the transaction, and the ability to offer a well-balanced and risk-adjusted view.”

Anoj Menon

“He is reliable, trustworthy, transparent and gives good legal advice.”

“Anoj is our main contact and we appreciate his counsel, clarity of opinions, and quick response to issues as the case has progressed.”

Gautam Saha

“He has a great team and management skills across various aspects of the transaction. We appreciate his negotiating skills, and M&A and sectoral expertise.”

Bhuvana Veeraragavan

“While the firm was roped in at a slightly advanced stage of negotiations, Bhuvana's uptake on the deal terms was quick and she was able to identify and resolve potential roadblocks earlier on.  Bhuvana and her team carried the deal through, navigating complex structures and obtaining multiple regulatory approvals with ease. Particularly, Bhuvana's ability to address complex regulatory matters without compromising on our business objective was commendable. Her calm and effective negotiation skills impressed one and all, including the counterparties.”

Private equity
Work highlights

Assisted Warburg Pincus in setting up a joint venture with Runwal Developers for the development of a retail real estate project and providing services to the retail portion of mixed-use assets.

Advised Softbank on its investment in Ola Electric Mobility, an electric ground vehicle maker.

Key clients

Binny Bansal, DFM Foods, Orix Corporation, Sequoia Pine Investment Holdings

Labour and employment
Work highlights

Provided advice to a global investment and technology development firm on several sensitive issues pertaining to workplace conduct, including bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Engaged by Amazon for its pro bono initiatives in India, specifically in relation to conducting awareness and sensitisation training for teachers and counsellors in the government-funded and private schools in New Delhi.

Key clients

Bytedance, Daimler Financial Services India, Goldman Sachs, Netgear Technologies, Sandoz India, Simon & Schuster, Tata Motors, Xiaomi Technology India

Intellectual property
Work highlights

Represented US apparel company Wrangler on investigations and suits involving the counterfeiting of its products under its ‘Wrangler’ mark.

Acted for Max Healthcare Institute in a trademark infringement suit against Sahrudya Health Care that was using its mark ‘MaxCure’.

Key clients

JanSport, NRB Bearings, Thomas Cook India, Vans

Dispute resolution
Work highlights

Represented IHH Healthcare in proceedings before multiple forums in relation to disputes arising out of a shareholders agreement with the minority shareholders of its subsidiary, Continental Hospitals.

Acting for Discovery Communications and Discovery Networks Asia-pacific as a defendant against a writ petition that was filed by a former service provider. This is one of the first cases where a high court was asked to interfere with the application made to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting by an entity holding a valid downlinking licence.

Key clients

ASF Keystone, Axis Bank, Reserve Bank of India, WhatsApp, Yatra Online

Investment funds
Work highlights

Advised IFC in the restructuring and migration of its investment from India Resurgence Fund into the

Represented Tata AIA Life Insurance on its investment in A91 Emerging Fund.

Key clients

Avendus PE Investment Advisors, BASF Venture Capital, CDPQ Fixed Income X

Restructuring and insolvency
Work highlights

Advised the Reserve Bank of India and the resolution professional of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) as their sole counsel in the initiation of India’s first-ever insolvency resolution process for a systemically important financial institution. DHFL was a landmark admission into the insolvency resolution process.

Representing the resolution professional of Jet Airways India and Grant Thornton following the admission of the company under the new insolvency regime. The team has initiated the restructuring process and are in the final stages of evaluating a suitable bidder, while closing several key arrangements and processes to preserve assets and maximise value.

Key clients

Edelweiss, Carval Investors, Deutsche Bank, Oaktree Capital, Varde Partners

Corporate and M&A
Work highlights

Acted for Larsen & Toubro in its successful $1.4 billion hostile takeover bid for Mindtree. This is the largest successful hostile takeover of an Indian listed company and the first-ever hostile takeover in the Indian IT sector.

Advised Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox (21CF) on the domestic corporate and merger control aspects of Walt Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 21CF, pursuant to a merger between Walt Disney, 21CF and other group entities. 

Key clients

Amazon, Brookfield Asset Management, Reliance Industries, Tata Chemicals, Total Holdings

Capital markets
Work highlights

Acted for CSB Bank, its promoter, FIH Mauritius Investments and the selling shareholders on CSB’s IPO. This was the first IPO by a foreign promoted bank in India and the third IPO that has concluded under the new Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Advised Housing Development Finance Corporation on its $140 million drawdown under a medium-term programme.

Key clients

Infosys, Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, Muthoot Finance, Yes Bank

Competition/antitrust
Work highlights

Advised a global automotive parts manufacturer JTEKT in a cartel investigation and successfully secured leniency for the client under the leniency provisions in India. This was the first case decided by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) where it has granted a full reduction in penalty to a second leniency applicant.

Assisting Uber in an ongoing investigation by the Directorate General in relation to allegations by Meru Travel Solutions that Uber engaged in predatory pricing and offered loyalty inducing discounts to its driver partners in the relevant market for radio taxis in the Delhi region.

Key clients

BCCI, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hitachi, Larsen & Toubro

Banking and finance
Work highlights

Advised Goldman Sachs on the settlement of its debt under listed negotiable certificates of deposits issued by Nitesh Pune Mall, including filing under the insolvency code, negotiating a contentious settlement process with the issuer, acquirer and the refinancing bank.

Acted for the National Collateral Management Services on its issuance of privately placed debentures, the proceeds of which will be utilised for its special purpose vehicles to finance the construction of new silos for the storage and preservation of agricultural commodities throughout India.

Key clients

ICICI Bank, IFC, JM Financial Credit Solutions, Torrent Power