Friday, 09 August 2019

Dealwatch: US and UK outfits line up on Jack Wills sale, BT fleet group buy-out and Majestic Wine

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Dealwatch: US and UK outfits line up on Jack Wills sale, BT fleet group buy-out and Majestic Wine

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, RPC, Mayer Brown and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner were among the firms to enjoy a pre-summer deal rush this week as Sports Direct bought Jack Wills and private equity player Aurelius acquired BT’s fleet business.

Fried Frank advised high street clothing retailer Jack Wills on the buy-out of its UK businesses with a team led by restructuring and insolvency partner Ashley Katz and including corporate partner Dan Oates, finance partner Neil Caddy, real estate partner Patrick Williams and restructuring and insolvency partner Gary Kaplan.

The deal was the result of a restructuring and pre-packaged administration after Jack Wills fell into administration on Monday (August 5) and a team of KPMG administrators led by partners Will Wright and Chris Pole was appointed.

The £12.75m acquisition by Sports Direct includes acquiring stock, a distribution centre and 100 stores across the UK and Ireland. Owner Mike Ashley agreed to the takeover after winning the bid against Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owner Philip Day. Last year House of Fraser was acquired in a similar pre-packaged administration deal by Sports Direct for £90m when it out-bid Philip Day.

Sports Direct is a long-standing client of RPC which advised on the takeover.

A Mayer Brown team led by Perry Yam advised Aurelius Equity Opportunities, the equity investment entity of Aurelius Group, on the acquisition of commercial fleet management operator BT Fleet Solutions from BT Group Plc.

Mayer Brown and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner worked on the transitional arrangements which will ensure that the carve-out from BT is successful, as well as the long-term outsourcing agreement between BT Group and BT Fleet Solutions. BT Fleet Solutions will continue to manage BT’s vehicle fleet nationally after the acquisition.

Co-leader of the global corporate & securities practice and private equity partner Perry Yam told Legal Business, ‘It’s an exciting opportunity for Auerelius to take on a non-core asset from BT and to retain BT as a customer.’

The BCLP team led by BT relationship partner Marcus Pearl and M&A partner Ben Lee advised BT Group.

Pearl, told Legal Business: ‘BT is seeking to focus more and more on investing in the best fixed and mobile networks in the UK and therefore the divestment of this non-core part of BT Group is very much part of its ongoing commitment to the core of its strategy.’

BCLP is a prominent member of BT’s panel and advises both BT and Openreach on strategic M&A, outsourcing, regulatory investigations and litigation and competition matters.

Meanwhile Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells advised as Majestic Wine Plc agreed to sell its retail and commercial businesses to investment manager Fortress Investment Group.

The deal will see Fortress, which is owned by SoftBank, pay £95m for the businesses, which will continue to trade under the Majestic name. The deal is subject to European Commission antitrust clearance and Majestic shareholder approval. It is part of Majestic’s plan to focus on driving growth in its Naked Wines business.

The A&O team was led by corporate M&A partner Seth Jones with partners Alasdair Balfour and Nigel Parker advising on antitrust and commercial matters respectively. Tom Whelan, Hogan Lovells’ global head of private equity, advised Fortress on the deal.

Corporate partner Seth Jones told Legal Business ‘It’s a sector that is seeing rapidly changing consumer behaviour which is driving some of the deal activity we are seeing. 2019 has also seen an increase in private equity capital being deployed both in private M&A but also public takeovers. We’ve really seen private equity go after UK listed companies and deploy the capital that they’ve raised over the last few years and that’s really the stand-out trend for the first half of the year in the UK.’

Finally, Shoomiths is advising Malvern Group administrators KPMG following the announcement of the Group’s collapse last week (July 31). The corporate restructuring and advisory team is led by partner Sarah Teal and headed up nationally by James Keates. Malvern Group owns holiday brands Late Rooms and Super Break.

Last modified on Monday, 12 August 2019 08:38