Legal Business Blogs

Deal watch: Rich pickings for Links as insurance and education sectors mark busy autumn for City elite

It has been a busy few weeks for Linklaters’ transactional team as the firm scooped spots on two multibillion pound deals, in the insurance and education sectors respectively.

Corporate partners James Inglis and Nick Rumsby joined Magic Circle rivals Clifford Chance (CC) and Slaughter and May as US insurance broker Marsh & McLennan agreed to acquire the entirety of UK listed rival Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) for £4.9bn.

Slaughters’ senior partner Steve Cooke, corporate partner Richard Smith and finance expert Ed Fife led the team advising Marsh & McLennan in a transaction that Smith described as ‘a vote of strong support for the UK’.

Linklaters advised Jardine Matheson, the 40% shareholder of JLT, which is backing the transaction alongside JLT’s board. The public shareholders will meet to approve the transaction next month.

CC’s corporate partners Tim Lewis and Katherine Moir advised JLT.

‘What Marsh & McLennan and JLT have shown is that it is possible to create a very successful business in this market,’ Smith told Legal Business. ‘These companies have been the best performers among the competition: that’s why bringing them together makes sense.’

Long-standing friend firm from across the pond, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, worked alongside Slaughters advising on the US side of the deal, led by Dan Neff and Greg Ostling. Davis Polk & Wardwell advised on the financing.

Meanwhile, Linklaters’ sponsor partners Alex Woodward and David Martin acted alongside Clyde & Co on investment firm Jacobs Holding’s £2bn acquisition of private education group Cognita.

‘This is a landmark transaction for the education sector, which demonstrates the increasing prominence of global school groups and their attractiveness to investors,’ said Clydes’ co-head of education Ross Barfoot, who led the team alongside fellow corporate partner Simon Gamblin. A team of 60 lawyers worked on the transaction across Clydes’ London, UAE, Madrid, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong and Singapore offices.

Linklaters’ leveraged finance partners Ed Aldred and Dan Gendron led on the debt financing side and tax partner Mavnick Nerwal also supported on the deal.

Established in 2004, Cognita operates more than 70 schools across eight countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, employs 7,000 teachers and support staff and educates more than 40,000 children.