Legal Business Blogs

Deal watch: Latham, Baker McKenzie and HSF return to dealmaking as Pinsents keeps it local

After a turbulent period outside the deal rooms for some of the world’s largest corporate firms, Latham & Watkins and Baker McKenzie have won key corporate mandates while Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) landed a main market IPO on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Latham has taken  on a significant advisory role for Telenor as it agreed to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to PPF Group for €2.8bn. The deal includes Telenor’s wholly-owned mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, and the technology service provider Telenor Common Operation. Latham fielded a team led by London partner Robbie McLaren. The key mandate will be a welcome relief for Latham, in a week where the firm was faced with fallout from Bill Voge’s shock resignation while Kirkland & Ellis passed it to became world’s highest-grossing law firm.

White & Case advised the bidder PPF Group, with a team co-lead by London partners Ken Barry and Ian Bagshaw and Prague-based partner Jan Andruško.

Meanwhile, HSF managed to liven up a quiet IPO market by winning a key role in Energean’s listing on the LSE.  Head of US securities Tom O’Neil and head of ECM Charles Howarth led the advisory roles. The exploration and production company has a market capitalisation of approximately £695m and is expected to receive proceeds up of £330m. White & Case, meanwhile, was Energean’s English/US counsel.

Despite few companies announcing main market IPOs on the LSE this year, O’Neil told Legal Business: ‘Energean is yet another company with primarily a non-UK business choosing a premium listing at the London Stock Exchange.  We expect to see more of this.  The transaction and the issuer are very ambitious and things have started out well with the post-listing approval of its final investment decision.  It is also encouraging to see growth companies like Energean choose London.’

Elsewhere, Baker McKenzie acted on a  €2.1bn mandate with Chinese internet giant Tencent, as Vivendi disposed its entire 27.3% stake in famed video game publisher Ubisoft. The Baker team that advised Tencent was led by Paris corporate co-head Mattieu Grollemund and the deal will enable the conclusion of a strategic partnership for the deployment of Ubisoft licences in China. Ubisoft, meanwhile, was advised by Bredin Prat and JP Morgan by White & Case

Finally Pinsent Masons secured a role advising Yorkshire-based polymer technology company Fenner on a cash offer by  Michelin. Both London and Leeds feature in the mandate as Pinsents comprised a team led by corporate partners Andrew Black and Rob Hutchings, while Jacqui Timmins and Alan Davis led on pensions and competition matters respectively. Michelin was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.