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Deal Watch: Slaughters advises on £3.6bn ICI pension annuity buy-in and £390m Ignis buyout; Travers leads on $3.1bn Nets sale

Standout corporate mandates over the past few days have included a high profile run by Slaughter and May on deals including a £3.6bn bulk annuity buy-in over the ICI Pension Fund and Standard Life’s £390m acquisition of Ignis Asset Management, as Travers Smith and Kirkland & Ellis led on the $3.1bn acquisition of Nordic card-payment business Nets Holding.

Slaughters pensions and employment partner Charles Cameron led a multi-disciplinary team for Imperial Chemical Industries and Akzo Nobel on the de-risking of the ICI Pension Fund, under which the trustees of the fund entered into bulk annuity buy-in policies with Legal & General Assurance Society and Prudential Retirement Income, representing the largest bulk annuity policy arranged by a pension scheme in the UK.

Also on the team were corporate and commercial partner Jonathan Marks, financing partner Philip Snell and associates Victoria MacDuff, Eleanor Hart and Victoria Judd.

Allen & Overy led by insurance partner Philip Jarvis and pensions partner Neil Bowden advised the trustee of the ICI Pension Fund.

The deal came as Marks led for Slaughters on investment group Standard Life’s acquisition of Ignis Asset Management for £390m in cash. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer led by Robert Stirling advised Ignis.

Last week the Magic Circle firm announced its role alongside Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison advising RSA Insurance Group on a fully underwritten rights issue to raise approximately £773m, led by corporate partner Andy Ryde, and separately for Dong Energy on its disposal of a 50% interest in offshore windfarm Westermost Rough to Marubeni Corporation and UK Green Investment. Linklaters led by John Pickett advised the buyers.

Meanwhile, at Travers Smith a team led by senior partner Chris Hale, along with senior corporate associate Adam Orr, worked alongside Danish law firm Bruun & Hjejle, to advise management on the acquisition of Nets Holding by a group of private equity firms including Advent International, Bain Capital and Danish pension fund ATP for $3.1bn.

A Kirkland & Ellis team advised the buyers, with a team that included London-based corporate partners Sam Pakbaz and Justin Hutchinson along with debt finance partners Neel Sachdev and Christopher Shield, tax partner Ian Taplin and competition partner Sarah Jordan.

Announced on Monday, the deal requires that the buyers pay Nets shareholders roughly $17 in cash for each of the Copenhagen-based target’s shares. Nets shareholders will also receive a dividend worth about 50 cents per share. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, pending regulatory approval.

Nets provides payment solutions, card and information services and digital security solutions in the Nordic region and has 2,600 employees. Last year the payment processor handled more than six billion card transactions supporting more than 33 million payment cards and over 500,000 merchants in the Nordics.

Travers Smith on the same day announced its role advising Cyprus-based online broker IronFX Global on its sponsorship agreement with FC Barcelona.

The arrangement will see IronFX, which has 15 platforms trading over 200 instruments in forex, spot metals and CFDs on US and UK stocks and commodities, become an ‘official partner’ of the renowned football club throughout the world, giving it extensive marketing and promotional rights over FC Barcelona’s brand and player images.