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Dealwatch: Freshfields and Arthur Cox line up on Paddy Power and Betfair’s merger

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Arthur Cox have taken the lead roles today (26 August) as Paddy Power and Betfair announced they had agreed a possible merger in a £5bn deal.

A Freshfields team led by Edward Braham and Oliver Lazenby for Betfair having previously worked with the gaming company’s initial public offering and on a takeover approach in 2013 by CVC which was fought off. Freshfields also fielded employment partner Jocelyn Mitchell with Simon Priddis covering antitrust and Tax advice coming from Peter Clements.

Paddy Power also turned to its longstanding adviser Arthur Cox on the deal. Corporate partner Maura McLaughlin led the team at the Irish firm while Allen & Overy’s Antonio Bavasso provided antitrust advice.

If carried through, the combined company will have revenues of around £1.1bn and will seek to keep both Betfair and Paddy Power brands running. Shareholders of Paddy Power will hold 52% of the new company and receive a special dividend totalling €80m while Betfair shareholders will split the remaining 48% stake.

The gaming sector has seen a series of high-profile deals over the summer including Ladbrokes £2.3bn merger with Gala Coral, which saw Slaughter and May and Ashurst win roles, and the bidding battle between 888 and GVC over Freshfields-client Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.