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With considerable liquidity in the market, expect to see the launch of new funds in Spain targeting the technology and telecoms sectors, says Carlos Blanco, managing partner of Roca Junyent’s Madrid office
What are the growth areas in M&A?
There’s a lot of liquidity in the market and we are helping private equity funds and venture capital funds in their fundraising. There is a lot of competition for deals – the technology and telecoms industries are attractive at the moment, with the technology sector being very appealing to venture capital funds in particular. However, the retail and distribution sectors, as well as the health sector are also popular. We are also seeing a lot of consolidation in the dental care industry as well as among veterinary practices. These industries are very profitable for funds. We are seeing big international funds coming for the big deals, but there are also international venture capital funds investing in start-ups. The venture capital sector has grown a lot, while the private equity sector is also very healthy.
What is the outlook for M&A in the coming year?
There are some signs that M&A activity could slow a bit, but I don’t see there being a dramatic slowdown. There are a lot of auctions and prices are high. Funds are fundraising at the moment and there are new players entering the market. More traditional Spanish companies are also being targeted by private equity funds – such companies are much more international now than they were during the last crisis and therefore they are better protected against any downturn.
What are the latest trends in private equity?
Given that there is a lot of liquidity in the market, there are new funds being launched. While we are seeing more real estate funds, the market is not big enough to have highly specialized funds. Private equity funds are more hands-on than they used to be – you see them working more with CFOs and commercial directors, for example, and proposing alternative strategies for growth.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a law firm leader?
Millennial talent is a huge challenge. There is a new generation that is difficult to handle. When recruiting young lawyers, it can be hard to find even 10 per cent that want to be a partner – some just want to work in a law firm for, say, three or four years. We have to show lawyers that they can have a work life balance – this is about the partnership, the future of the firm. Law firms also have to be more efficient, use technology and analyse the profitability of each project.
What does the future hold for Roca Junyent?
We currently have 40 lawyers in Madrid and around 100 in Barcelona, but we are looking to grow the Madrid office so it is a similar size to the Barcelona office. We are continually looking for opportunities to grow in Madrid and we will possibly make more lateral hires. However, we also believe in our internal home-grown talent – Roberto Vallina, Xavier Costa, Rosa Rodríguez and Javier Vázquez have all recently been promoted to partner. We are confident we can continue to grow, we recently integrated Barcelona-based specialist tax law firm Segarra de Figarolas and we have also formed an alliance with BMyV [a group of law firms consisting of Gaona Abogados, IparBilbao Abogados, Sanz-Lomana Puras y Asociados, Hernando Lara Abogados, and Silvia Giménez-Salinas Abogados]. We are truly a Spanish firm as this gives us a presence in Andalusia (Malaga and Seville), Madrid, Barcelona, Basque Country (Bilbao) and Castille and Leon (Burgos and Valladolid), as well as Girona, Lleida, Tarragona and Palma de Mallorca.