Latham & Watkins, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance (CC) and Allen & Overy (A&O) have lined up alongside a group of top independents in two multi-billion euro deals as Europe’s M&A scene maintains its brisk 2018 form.
Latham advised Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) on the €1.94bn acquisition of Italian railway operator Italo – Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (Ntv). The deal means the only privately-owned high-speed rail operator in Europe has shifted to American control after shelving plans to float on the Milan stock exchange. The Rome-based group is the country’s second-largest railway operator after state-backed Ferrovie dello Stato.
Latham London partner David Walker (pictured), Italy managing partner Antonio Coletti and Milan partners Stefano Sciolla and Giovanni Sandicchi acted for the US investment fund as it acquired 100% of the group. Slaughter and May’s local ally BonelliErede advised the seller led by partners Carlo Montagna and Elena Busson.
The deal generated roles for a number of major Italian law firms, with Nctm also advising Italo-Ntv with a team headed by Sante Ricci and Lukas Plattner, while Chiomenti’s Francesco Tedeschini and Andrea Sacco Ginevri acted for shareholder Allegro. Pedersoli advised debt provider Intesa Sanpaolo, fielding a team under Carlo Pedersoli.
BonelliErede had previously advised Italo-Ntv as the company announced plans for an IPO by the end of February. Shearman & Sterling and Italy’s Lombardi Segni & Associati were also advising on the proposed floatation, which had received the backing of the country’s minister of economy and finances Pier Carlo Padoan. However, Italo’s stakeholders decided to accept GIP’s bid after the fund raised its initial €1.9bn offer on Wednesday (7 February) last week.
The deal sees foreign investors return to Italy for big-ticket deals after last year’s €50bn merger of French Essilor International and Italian Luxottica Group. Going the other way, Italy’s Atlantia is involved in a bid battle with Germany’s Hochtief to acquire Spanish toll road operator Albertis.
Moving to Northern Europe, Bakers, CC and A&O have advised on the $6.7bn takeover of Danish phone carrier TDC by a consortium including Australian infrastructure leader Macquarie and three local pension funds.
As interest in telecom assets grows from investors, the consortium aims to restructure TDC to create two separate infrastructure and consumer-facing businesses.
Bakers’ London corporate partners Tim Sheddick and James Thompson acted for longstanding client Macquarie. Plesners provided Danish law advice to the consortium, which also included local pension funds PFA, PKA and ATP. CC advised the consortium on debt financing.
A&O London partner Jonathan Brownson led the team advising the lenders alongside partners Matt Moore and Jake Keaveny. Horten provided Danish law advice to the lenders with its head of banking and financing Claus Bennetsen leading. Danish leader Kromann Reumert advised TDC.
For more analysis of Italy’s legal market see Legal Business’s latest issue with the piece ‘Letter from… Milan’ (£)