Legal Business Blogs

Best year for UK IPOs since 2010 as Slaughters and Simpson Thacher bring £1bn Infinis to market

Private equity exits are turning 2013 into the best year for UK IPOs since around 2010 as Slaughter and May and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett represent Infinis and its principal shareholder Terra Firma while Ashurst advises the banks on the wind power company’s £1bn float.

Slaughter and May corporate and commercial partners Jeff Twentyman and Kathy Hughes notched up another IPO for the firm, having already advised on high-value floats this year such as Countrywide and Esure.

The corporate duo are working alongside finance partner Philip Snell; financial regulation partner Jan Putnis; pensions and employment partners Sandeep Maudgil and Jonathan Fenn; real estate partner John Nevin and tax partner Gareth Miles.

The Simpson Thacher & Bartlett team will advise the issuer on US law led by corporate and commercial partner Greg Conway and associates Sinjini Saha and Janeen Hayat.

Meanwhile, Ashurst secured a role advising investment banks Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Kempen and Liberum, led by head of equity capital markets Nicholas Holmes, with Ray Fisher leading the US team.

The Infinis instruction comes as Ashurst’s corporate team has also won a lead role advising Merlin Entertainments Group – the private-equity backed owner of Madame Tussauds and the London Eye – on its £4bn flotation on the London Stock Exchange, in a bid to raise £200m from the sale of new shares to reduce debt. The deal was led by corporate partners Mark Sperotto, Jonathan Perry and Holmes. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are also advising on the deal.

Other IPO deals for Ashurst this year including advising the Royal Bank of Canada on investment fund Foresight Solar’s IPO, and investment banks Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley on Riverstone Energy’s float.

Holmes said: ‘To have four such significant deals in the market at the same time is a very significant achievement. This follows major IPOs such as Esure and Foxtons and significant secondaries like William Hill’s £375m rights issue and reinforces what an excellent year the Ashurst capital markets practice is having.’

Issuers in the U.K. have announced more than 70 IPOs this year, the most since at least 2010, when 84 companies disclosed plans to go public, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. IPOs in Europe raised about $17 billion this year, the data shows, compared with $10 billion in the same period in 2012.