Legal Business Blogs

A good week for…Osborne Clarke, advising on the £3.6bn Carphone Warehouse/Dixons merger and IPO of Patisserie Valerie

Ordinarily a week advising on the AIM flotation of luxury cake and cafe chain Patisserie Valerie, which formally starts trading on Monday (19 May), could be viewed as relatively successful. But Osborne Clarke’s corporate partner Jonathan King has trumped his own efforts by also leading the top 35 firm in acting for Carphone Warehouse on its £3.6bn all-share merger with Dixon Retail, announced today (15 May).

King, who last April advised Carphone Warehouse on its conditional £500m acquisition of the remaining 50% of its Best Buy joint venture, led a team including associate director Louise Grzasko and senior associate Jake Turcan, with antitrust partner Simon Neill advising on competition aspects.

The OC team is working alongside Carphone’s in-house legal team, led by general counsel Tim Morris.

Linklaters is advising Dixons, led by corporate partner Aedamar Comiskey, assisted by corporate managing associate Dominic Kendal-Ward.

The merged entity, which will be called Dixons Carphone plc, will create a leader in European consumer electricals, mobiles, connectivity and related services, with Carphone’s Sir Charles Dunstone and Roger Taylor remaining as chairman and deputy chairman respectively of the combined group.

The deal comes as King prepares Patisserie Holdings for its AIM listing on Monday, after a competitive pitch saw the 519-lawyer firm win the instruction for the corporate work. OC has previously done some banking work for Patisserie and has worked on previous deals with the financial adviser on this latest float, Canaccord Genuity.

Travers Smith is advising Canaccord, led by corporate partner Richard Spedding, who joined the firm in 1999 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and became a partner in 2003.

Spedding previously advised Canaccord on its 2011 acquisition of stockbrokers Collins Stewart Hawkpoint.

The Patisserie IPO was priced yesterday (14 May) at 170p, the bottom of its £170-200p range, raising proceeds of £33m and leading to commentary in the financial press that there has been a softening of the IPO market, with more difficult conditions and recent floats such as AO, Just Eat and Poundland all trading beneath their listing price.

However, King told Legal Business: ‘The range was at the top end anyway so this is still a good price.’

The view taken by Canaccord was that opting for a higher value would increase the risk of the price dropping when the float takes place when in fact shares in Patisserie Valerie have already gone up to 190p ahead of formal listing, giving the company a market capitalisation approaching £200m.

Patisserie Valerie has enjoyed growth from eight stores in 2006 to over 130 this year, including seven years of uninterrupted increases in revenue.