Thursday, 26 July 2018

Deal watch: HFW acts for Greek government on major state sell-off while US firms score heavyweight mandates

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Deal watch: HFW acts for Greek government on major state sell-off while US firms score heavyweight mandates

In a deal of major national significance, Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) and Clifford Chance (CC) have advised the Greek state on the €535m privatisation of its gas network. Meanwhile US leaders Kirkland & Ellis, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Jones Day have also acted on substantial buyouts recently.

The sale of the natural gas transmission system operator, DESFA, is part of Greece’s wider strategy of disposing assets to reduce the country’s debt following the financial crisis. The deal implies a total equity value for DESFA of €810m.

Alex Kyriakoulis, HFW’s lead corporate partner, told Legal Business that Greece has earmarked some €50bn in assets to be sold off, having already sold a 67% stake in Piraeus Port to Chinese shipping giant COSCO in 2016.

Kyriakoulis, who has advised the Greek government for the last seven years, commented: ‘It’s their second or third attempt to privatise the Greek gas industry. They had previously tried to sell for a slightly lower consideration, about €400m. They’ve done well to sell the same stock for €535m.’

CC also advised the Greek state on EU law matters, while local outfit Koutalidis Law Firm provided Greek law counsel. The buying consortium, consisting of Snam, Enagás and Fluxys, was advised by Athens-based Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm.

Elsewhere, Weil is acting for French IT company Atos in its $3.67bn acquisition of US-based IT services provider Syntel.

The all-cash transaction will see Atos buy all of Syntel’s outstanding shares at $41 per share as well as the US company’s debt. Atos expects the Syntel deal to bring in around $1bn in additional revenue.

New York-based M&A partner Jackie Cohen led Weil’s team that comprised partners Claude Serra, Chayim Neubort, Paul Wessel, Jeffrey Osterman, Annemargaret Connolly, Morgan Bale, Olivier Jauffret, Ariel Kronman, Randi Singer and Ted Posner.

Jones Day, which acted for Syntel, was led by M&A partners James Dougherty and Tim FitzSimons.

Finally, Kirkland landed a key role on the $430m sale of Coriant, a provider of hyperscale network solutions, to California-based Infinera.

Infinera, which was represented by Palo Alto firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, will pay $150m in cash at closing, with additional instalments of $25m and $55m over the coming years. Infinera also plans to issue around 21 million shares which, combined with the cash consideration, brings the overall deal value to roughly $430m.

The Kirkland team was led by corporate partner Hamed Meshki, and included capital markets partner Dennis Myers, real estate partner Roberto Miceli, tax partners Russell Light and Josh McLane and debt finance partner David Nemecek.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk