Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Deal watch: Magic Circle trio banks on Virgin Money sale as €7.1bn Adyen IPO and £1.8bn Equitable Life disposal keep raft of advisers busy

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Deal watch: Magic Circle trio banks on Virgin Money sale as €7.1bn Adyen IPO and £1.8bn Equitable Life disposal keep raft of advisers busy

Magic Circle heavyweights Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance (CC) have scored key roles on the £1.7bn sale of Virgin Money while the €7.1bn Adyen initial public offering (IPO) and £1.8bn Equitable Life disposal drummed up business for numerous City and US advisers.

CYBG, the owner of Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, said yesterday (18 June) it had struck a deal to buy London Stock Exchange-listed Virgin Money in a £1.7bn acquisition that will create the UK’s sixth-largest bank.

Slaughter and May is acting for seller Virgin Group in the buyout, with a team including corporate partners Roland Turnill and Rob Innes (pictured), IP partner Cathy Connolly and financial regulation partner Jan Putnis.

Innes told Legal Business: ‘It’s great to be supporting longstanding client Virgin Group on this deal, whom we advised on the IPO of Virgin Money in 2014. The combination of two leading challenger banks under the Virgin brand marks an important event in the UK banking sector.’

Virgin Money was advised by A&O, with a team led by corporate partner George Knighton alongside fellow corporate partners Seth Jones and David Broadley. For A&O, the mandate extended a relationship with Virgin Money that started in 2007.

CC meanwhile acted for CYBG, with a team spearheaded by corporate partner David Pudge and including corporate partners Gareth Camp and Katherine Moir. Partner Stephen Reese led on IP/brand licencing, partner Simon Crown led on regulatory, while head of UK antitrust Alex Nourry advised along with capital markets partners Adrian Cartwright and Christopher Walsh.

Elsewhere, King & Spalding and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have both advised on insurer Equitable Life’s £1.8bn sale to Life Company Consolidation Group (LCCG). As a result of the sale, Equitable Life’s policy holders will transfer to Reliance Life, a subsidiary of LCCG.

Equitable Life, which nearly financially collapsed in 2000 putting pensions at risk, was represented by Freshfields, with a team led by corporate insurance partner George Swan alongside partners Neil Golding and Craig Montgomery, who provided dispute resolution counsel.

Swan told Legal Business: ‘Equitable Life has a bit of history to it! It’s spent the best part of 20 years gradually putting that history behind it. This deal is the culmination of that turnaround story. Reliance Life will be an excellent partner going forward, providing a better result for policy holders than simply winding the company down.’

King & Spalding’s team advising LCCG was headed up by corporate partner William Charnley, with support from employment partner Jules Quinn, regulatory partner Angela Hayes and tax partner Daniel Friel.

Finally, CC and Latham & Watkins won mandates on the €7.1bn initial public offering (IPO) of Adyen, a Dutch payments processor recognised as the country’s only fintech unicorn. Adyen listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange on 13 June, and at press time had a share price of €417.1.

CC, which advised Adyen, deployed lawyers from four international offices covering London, Paris, Amsterdam and Luxembourg. Amsterdam-based corporate partner Hans Beerlage led for the firm. Latham and its London-based capital markets partner Olof Clausson acted for the underwriters and bookrunners of the IPO, including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Citigroup.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk