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Ashurst misses out as Gibson Dunn and Pinsents take front row seats on $1.2bn Odeon deal

City firm Ashurst has missed out to former partners at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher on the $1.2bn sale of London-based Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group by private equity owner Terra Firma.

Wanda-owned American cinema chain AMC Theatres resurrected a deal for Odeon & UCI, having previously stated the deal would be off if the UK voted to leave the EU, in one of the biggest European deals following the Brexit vote. The deal makes AMC Theatres the largest cinema operator in the world, with 627 theatres and 7,600 movie screens in eight countries.

Terra Firma, which had long been an Ashurst client, instructed former Ashurst partners Charlie Geffen and Nigel Stacey on the sale.

The corporate partners, who both joined Gibson in 2014, acted for Guy Hands’ Terra Firma on its original deal for Odeon back in 2004 and merged it with rival UCI.

Pinsent Masons acted for AMC Theatres, with a team led by private equity partner Tom Leman with partners John Tyerman and Tom Johnson.

Pinsents worked with Husch Blackwell which advised on US elements of the transaction with a team including partners Jim Ash and Kirstin Salzman.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised on financing aspects of the deal with a team lead by Courtney Marcus in Dallas. Weil partner Corey Chivers in New York also acted on the deal.

Osborne Clarke acted for the management of Odeon & UCI cinemas.

Leman said: ‘It was a short and intense process with the small hiccup of a Brexit vote along the way. After that we had to work hard to deliver a deal that worked for both parties, however the evidence is there that the UK remains open for business.’

The deal is subject to competition clearances.