Legal Business Blogs

Deal watch: US giants line up on European rail mega-merger and largest-ever Asia PE deal

After the Magic Circle, this week it was time for the US players to kick off the autumn deal season, as Global 100 firms acted on two headline-grabbing deals in Europe and Asia.

Latham & Watkins and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised on the €15bn (£13.1bn) Franco-German merger between Siemens’ and Alstom’s railway operations, while Ropes & Gray and Morrison & Foerster led on the $18bn (£13.4bn) sale of Toshiba’s chip business, reportedly the largest-ever private equity deal in Asia. From the Magic Circle, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer had roles in both deals.

A corporate team led by Latham Paris partners Patrick Laporte and Pierre-Louis Cléro and Munich partner Rainer Traugott acted for Siemens as the German manufacturing giant agreed to merge its transport technology business with French rail company Alstom. The firm also advised on tax, employment, IT and regulatory matters with partners Xavier Renard, Thomas Fox and Hugues Vallette Viallard.

Siemens is a long-time client of Latham, with the US firm recently advising the German group on the $4.5bn acquisition of US based software provider Mentor Graphics.

Freshfields’ Frank Montag and Thomas Wessely led a team advising Siemens on competition and merger control aspects.

Led by partners Pierre-Yves Chabert and Charles Masson, Cleary acted for Alstom on corporate, tax, IP and antitrust matters.

The new French-listed railway player will be worth €15.3bn (£13.4bn) in revenue and employ 62,300 people in more than 60 countries. Its global headquarters will be located in the Paris area, while headquarters for its transport technology business will sit in Berlin.

Joe Kaeser, president and chief executive of Siemens, said the deal ‘put the European idea to work’ and will create ‘a new European champion in the rail industry for the long term’.

Meanwhile, a Ropes & Gray’s team led by partner Tsuyoshi Imai advised Bain Capital as the private equity house led a group of investors acquiring Toshiba’s semiconductor business for $18bn (£13.4bn).

It is reported to be the largest Japanese transaction since 2011 and the largest private equity and leveraged finance deal ever signed in the region.

Freshfields’ long-standing client  Apple was part of the consortium acquiring Toshiba’s business.

MoFo advised Toshiba with Tokyo managing partner Kenneth Siegel, corporate partners Ivan Smallwood, Leo Aguilar and Stuart Beraha, and litigation partner Louise Stoupe.