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Breaking: Cyril Amarchand corporate powerhouse Ashwath Rau quits, in advanced talks with AZB [UPDATE-2]

Rau: Big loss for CAM, massive gain for AZB if that pans out
Rau: Big loss for CAM, massive gain for AZB if that pans out

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) corporate partner Ashwath Rau has informed the partnership today that he would resign, according to several sources.

It is understood that he’s in advanced talks to join AZB & Partners, according to numerous sources.

AZB Mumbai managing partner Zia Mody yesterday declined to deny that she was in talks with Rau. We have reached out to her for further comment.

Rau has not responded to requests for comments for several days.

We have reached out to Cyril Shroff for comment.

Update 14:49: Cyril Shroff has confirmed Rau’s departure.

Rau is one of CAM’s top non-Shroff-family rainmakers who runs a semi-independent M&A practice within the firm.

He is a 1999 NLSIU Bangalore graduate who began his career at Amarchand, making partner in 2006.

Rau’s practice covers corporate and private equity, and includes large investment funds, as well as Kotak Bank (with which Cyril Shroff has a historically strong relationship) and the Tata Group (with whom Zia Mody also has a strong relationship).AZB Mumbai and Cyril Amarchand – or erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas’ Mumbai office – had a long-standing informal no-poach agreement between Cyril Shroff and Zia Mody.

That already showed signs of cracking earlier this week, when former CAM principal associate Shyamali Singh joined AZB earlier as a partner, together with ex-CAM principal associate Harsh Maggon as a counsel, though both had technically resigned CAM and only later joined AZB.

If Rau were to join AZB, it would be a considerable booster shot for the still-top-ranked firm’s Mumbai corporate practice that has suffered the high-profile departures of a string of partners over recent years.

AZB’s Vaishali Sharma joined Khaitan & Co in 2010, chief executive officer (CEO) Abhijit Joshi started his own firm Veritas in 2014, also hiring partner Nandish Vyas, Essaji Vahanvati left in 2015 for his non-law related family business, and Shuva Mandal, who joined Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas in late 2015.

AZB Mumbai had hired Rishi Gautam as a corporate partner from Clifford Chance in 2014.

Also read: CAM and AZB both topped the first quarter mergermarket M&A league tables yesterday.

Story being updated.

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