The winner in this category must demonstrate an ability to land the most significant mandates in an incredibly competitive market for private equity-backed deals. Judges will look for evidence of an ability to move with the market and stand out from competitors in the most eye-catching transactions.
2017 WINNER: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Represented Advent International on its £1.5bn sale of the Priory Group to Acadia Healthcare. Advent took a dual-track route, which required a huge amount of co-ordination over a tight timeframe and the deal gave rise to substantive competition concerns, which Freshfields ably handled.
Advised Bain Capital on the $3.1bn sale of Brakes Group to Sysco Corporation, one of the largest private equity exits outside the US in 2016. Bain Capital initially pursued a dual-track exit route, running the IPO and trade sale processes in parallel.
Advising Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its partnership with the company WM Holding for their joint acquisition of BUT SAS, France’s largest furniture retailer. The deal was unusual as it represented a 50:50 partnership between a PE fund and a trade buyer, which is still rare in the world of private equity investment.
GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER
Advised Terra Firma Capital Partners on the £921m sale of Odeon and UCI Cinemas to AMC Theatres, making it the largest cinema operator in the world. Given the asset base of the client, the deal had a large cross-border element with Gibson Dunn handling both the UK and US transactional advice.
Advising Acon Investments on its public-to-private acquisition of APR Energy, the first time the US buyout house has been involved in a UK public takeover of a London-listed company. The deal was particularly complex as Acon joined a group of existing shareholders in a jointly owned investment vehicle, bidco.
NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT
Advising Monterey Capital, owned by Terra Firma, on its acquisition of the remaining 31.5% stake in Infinis Energy for £555m. Terra Firma wanted to monetise its investment in Infinis and decided that the easiest way to dispose of its assets was if the company was privately owned, so it decided buy the rest of the firm first.