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 finance partner Gautam Ganjawala from Wadia Gandhy. It bid farewell to several partners, including senior partner Madhuria Mukherjee and Richa Choudhary, who left for J Sagar Associates and Trilegal, respectively. M&A specialist Anu Tiwari and investment funds expert Vivaik Sharma lateralled over to Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, while dispute resolution specialist Anoj Menon departed for Desai DiwanjiTax partner Akansha Aggarwal left for Vedanata Resources.  

Client feedback 

They are very good at insolvency, equally good at corporate advice, tax, and insurance advisory. They are extremely effective at litigation. – Banking and finance 

Good knowledge and timely response. – Corporate and M&A 

There is easy access to senior-most members and the Firm doesn't relent just to please the client. It provides a practical outlook with an appropriate focus on the risks. – Corporate and M&A 

The team is extremely collaborative and thoughtful. They've taken the time to really get to know our business model and to walk us through the complexities of setting up a subsidiary in India. They have gone above and beyond to help us problem solve and have consistently demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. – Corporate and M&A 

The team has good skills sets as they handle multiple sector clients including multinational clients. – Corporate and M&A 

Very precise and pragmatic advice. Easily accessible partners and team members. Very friendly yet professional approach. – Labour and employment  

They are able to respond quickly. I find them reliable in that sense. They are accessible, come back fast. I appreciate their speedreliability and accessibility. – Technology and telecommunications 

Rachit Bahl 

Rachit has been the lead partner on our engagement. He's been an enormously thoughtful and effective advisor, who always takes the time to understand our specific needs and make sure they are addressed. His associate Shagun Badhwar provides much of our day-to-day counsel and has also been exceptionally helpful. They are always available, and always providing first-rate advice and service. 

Veena Gopalakrishnan 

Great knowledge and a pragmatic lawyer. 

Gautam Saha 

Brilliant lawyer with a positive attitude and solution-seeking approach.  Good knowledge and experience. 

Priyamvada Shenoy 

Practical and candid. Mindful of our appetite for risk and advises accordingly. Not unnecessarily aggressive and knows how to get the deal done. 

Abhyudai Singh 

Very prompt in response. 

Suharsh Sinha 

Competent, effective, soft spoken but clear. A great negotiator. 

Private equity

Work highlights 

Assisted PAGAC Ecstasy on its acquisition of a majority stake and control over Edelweiss Group’s wealth management and investment banking business. 

Advised Tiger Global, TPG and Footpath Ventures on their $225 million investment in Dream Sports 

Represented Lupa India Systems and Qatar Investment Authority on their acquisition of shares in Ver Se Innovation Private.  

Key clients 

Bain Capital, Cinven Capital, HighSage Ventures, Silver Lake Partners, The Carlyle Group, Sequoia, Tilden Park Capital Management 

Dispute resolution

Work highlights 

Successfully representeBanyanTree Growth Capital in an SIAC arbitration with Axiom Cordages, Responsive Industries and Wellknown Business Ventures.  

Acting for HSBC in the enforcement proceedings of an SIAC award against Avitel Post Studioz 

Engaged by the National Stock Exchange of India in proceedings against the Securities & Exchanges Board of India.  

Key clients 

Amazon.com Investment Holdings, Discovery Networks, Facebook, Rishima SA Investments, The Film & Television Producers Guild of India 

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, KKR, Oaktree Capital, Tata Capital Financial Services 

Corporate and M&A

Work highlights 

Acted for Reliance Industries and Jio Platforms on multiple acquisitions of stakes in Jio by 13 investors.  

Advised Total on its stake acquisition and strategic alliance with Adani Group.  

Represented Hexaware Technologies on its voluntary delisting from the Indian bourses. It was the first company to do so since 2018.  

Key clients 

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Avient Corporation, KKR, Orix, Privi Specialty Chemicals, Tata Motors 

Capital markets

Work highlights 

Acted for Reliance Industries on its $7 billion rights issue.  

Advised Yes Bank on its $2 billion qualified institutional placement.  

Represented Tata Consultancy Services on its buyback of equity shares valued at $2.2 billion. This was one of the largest buybacks undertaken by an Indian company.  

Key clients 

Axis Bank, Capital Land First, CSB Bank, Easy Trip Planners, GMR Infrastructure, Infosys, LT Foods, Novartis India, Polycab India, Tata Steel, Thomas Cook India, VTB Capital  

Competition/antitrust

Work highlights 

Advising Google on its abuse of dominance investigations and in ongoing appeals against the competition authority’s landmark order for Google Search.  

Assisted Jio Platforms to secure the CCI’s approval in relation to Facebook’s 9.9% investment in the client.  

Represented the Board of Control for Cricket in India on alleged abuse of dominance claims.   

Key clients 

Bombardier Transportation, Tata Motors, Total, Uber India Systems 

Banking and finance

Work highlights 

Advised Export Development Canada, as the lender, in relation to a $95 million external commercial borrowing provided to Azure Power India 

Acted for Asia Development Bank in relation to its subscription of unlisted, non-convertible debentures issued by Northern Arc Capital 

Represented Qatar Holdings as security provider in relation to its shares held in Adani Electricity Mumbai 

Key clients 

Brookfield Asset Management, HDFC, IFC, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Motors 

Real estate

Work highlights 

Advised KSH Infra Industrial Park Private on its sale of 100% share capital to by Maple Tree from the KSH Group. 

Acted for Millennia Realtors on its sale of 100% shareholding of the Project Companies and Cowrks and CapitalM to Brookfield Asset Management for $2 billion. This was the real estate industry’s largest deal ever domestically.  

Represented the RP of Jet Airways on selling office space to Brookfield.  

Key clients 

Axis Bank, DLF Cyber City Developers, GSK, Xander Group 

Technology and telecommunications

Work highlights 

Advised TPG in connection with its minority investment in Dream Sports. 

Represented Tiger Global and Silver Lake Partners on their $500 million minority investment in Think & Learn Private, which owns and operates Byju’s. 

Acted for Warburg Pincus on its acquisition, through an affiliate, of a significant stake in Infoblox.  

Key clients 

Accenture Solutions, Ingenico International, Panasonic India, Wipro