Legal Business Blogs

Deal watch: M&A activity picks up as A&O, Linklaters and Hogan Lovells secure key roles

With Q1 2013 reported as one of the slowest starts to the year M&A-wise for a decade, the deal market appears to be gaining momentum with a handful of Global 100 firms in action in high-profile and high-value transactions recently.

Linklaters is advising the recently formed Glencore Xstrata on the disposal of its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru for around $5bn – a condition of the $64bn union between Glencore and Xstrata that was imposed by Chinese regulators.

Linklaters was lead adviser to Glencore when the commodities trader merged with mining company Xstrata, advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, earlier this year. While Linklaters declined to comment on its first post-merger role for the client, the team is most likely to feature corporate partners Charlie Jacobs and David Avery-Gee who have been lead advisers to Glencore in the past. A longstanding client of Linklaters, the firm advised Glencore on its £10bn initial public offering in 2011.

In another high-value transaction, Telefónica has purchased Dutch telecoms company KPN’s German subsidiary, E-Plus, for €5.5bn. The deal will also see E-Plus’s parent company receive a 17.6% stake in Telefónica Deutschland.

Telefónica Deutschland was advised by the German arm of the CMS group, CMS Hasche Sigle, whose team was led by Munich M&A partner Oliver Thurn and Munich partners Martin Kolbinger and Martin Kuhn. CMS also worked alongside McDermott Will & Emery on the deal, which was instructed by Spanish parent Telefónica, with a team based in Frankfurt including corporate partners Joseph Marx, Andreas Kurtze, Clemens Just and capital markets partners Martin Kniehase and Philipp von Ilberg.

Allen & Overy advised KPN with a team led by corporate partners Jan Louis Burggraaf and Hartmut Krause, Amsterdam competition partner Kees Schillemans and Frankfurt tax partner Asmus Mihm.

While not of the same scale as these two deals value-wise, Hogan Lovells advice on the sale fashion label Nicole Farhi recently was no less high-profile. The brand was sold to Maxine Hargreaves-Adams, owner of Fenn Wright Manson, for £5.5m. DLA Piper advised the purchaser, with a team led by by restructuring partners, Rob Russell and Martin Keates.

Hogan Lovells had previously advised Kelso Place Asset Management on its acquisition of the Nicole Farhi brand from another private equity firm, OpenGate Capital, in January 2012.

This time around, Hogan Lovells advised administrators Peter Saville, Anne O’Keefe and Fraser Gray of Zolfo Cooper on the disposal of Nicole Farhi. The team was led by London-based restructuring and insolvency partner Joe Bannister and real estate partners Dan Norris and Mathew Ditchburn.

The sale includes all of the business’ concerns across the UK and Ireland, including six stores. Commenting on the sale, Bannister said: ‘We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to support the rescue of this iconic fashion brand and in so doing, to have helped save the jobs of many working with and for the Nicole Farhi business.’