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Deal watch: Latham and Wachtell lead on largest public deal of the year

In what remains a gloomy cross-border deal market, US leaders Latham & Watkins and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz have secured lead roles on the largest public merger of the year so far – the tie-up of Omnicom and Publicis Groupe. The Franco-US union creates a company with a combined market capitalisation of €26.5bn, forging the largest advertising group in the world. The combined company, which will be listed in New York and Paris, will have more than 130,000 staff.

The deal is likely to attract the attention of antitrust regulators in the US and Europe, uniting the second and third largest advertising groups in the world to overtake the UK-based WPP.

The Latham team was an international effort spanning offices in the US, London, Paris and Brussels. It was led by M&A partners Mark Gerstein and Brad Faris, securities partner Joel Trotter and litigation partner Jeff Hammel. Dutch leader De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek also advised Omnicom, fielding a team under Amsterdam corporate partner Paul Cronheim.

‘We are pleased to have been able to advise our longstanding client on one of the most high-profile global mergers in recent memory,’ said Dan Lennon, global chair of Latham’s corporate department. ‘The proposed combination of these two great companies is groundbreaking in scale and complexity.’

The Wachtell team was led by M&A partner Adam Emmerich and founding partner Martin Lipton, who advised Publicis alongside Paris boutique Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier and Benelux leader NautaDulith.

In contrast a lean UK market continues to serve up more under-stated fare with Olswang advising the shareholders of high end steak house Hawksmoor on the sale of their stake in the business to private equity house Graphite Capital. Deal value has not been officially disclosed though it has been estimated at around £35m.

Started in 2006 with a restaurant in Spitalfields by Will Beckett and Huw Got, the restaurant’s popularity grew and led to two more openings Seven Dials in Covent Garden and Guildhall in The City followed by their largest restaurant in Air Street in 2012.

The Olswang team was led by corporate partner David Roberts (pictured) who was supported by fellow corporate partner Chris Mackie alongside tax partners Graham Chase, Stephen Smith and Andrew Quayle and real estate partners Matthew Speed and Marcus Barclay.

‘We see continued growth for the brand in the UK and look forward to continuing our relationship with two emerging stars of the London restaurant scene,’ said Roberts.

Graphite was advised by a team from Macfarlanes, led by corporate and M&A partner Howard Corney and banking partner Chris Lawrence. This was not Graphite’s first foray into the restaurant sector, it invested in Rex Restaurants last year with Macfarlanes once again advising.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper has advised on a sizeable float on the UK junior market, advising Conviviality Retail, the owner of Bargain Booze, on its initial public offering (IPO) on the Alternative Investment Market. The float gave the company a market capitalisation of £66.7m. The DLA team based in Manchester was led by private equity and corporate partner James Kerrigan.