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Dealwatch: Kirkland lift first Cinven mandate since Maguire hire as Links, Gowling and Jones Day bed roles in week of PE records

Kirkland & Ellis has this week won roles advising on one of the largest European private equity transactions since the financial crisis and the UK’s largest-ever private real estate transaction.

Kirkland advised private equity houses Advent International, Cinven and the RAG foundation in their €17.2bn acquisition of Thyssenkrupp’s elevator business and acted for Blackstone in its $4.7bn purchase of iQ Student Accommodation.

Adrian Maguire (pictured) acted on Kirkland’s first deal for his long-term client Cinven since his move from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer last year. The team was led out of Kirkland’s Munich base with corporate partners Benjamin Leyendecker and Philip Goj, and also involved David Higgins, whose move to Kirkland from Freshfields preceded Maguire’s.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which was also part of the consortium acquiring the business.

Linklaters’ co-head of M&A, Dusseldorf-based Ralph Wollburg, acted for Thyssenkrupp, which saw several bidders battle out for its elevator business. An offer by private equity house CVC in partnership with Finnish engineering company Kone, advised by Clifford Chance, was withdrawn partly due to antitrust concerns.

A consortium of Blackstone, Carlyle and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) had also shown interest, advised by Milbank’s German offices. Thyssenkrupp had also considered an IPO before deciding to offload the business entirely.

Headquartered in Germany, the elevator business generated €8bn in revenues in 2018/19. The deal is expected to close within six months.

While its plan for the acquisition from Thyssenkrupp did not materialise, Blackstone went through with its plans to acquire iQ Student Accommodation from Goldman Sachs and The Wellcome Trust.

Kirkland fielded a team led by London corporate partners Michael Steele, Carlos Gil Rivas and Dipak Bhundia, with Gowling WLG’s real estate specialist Michael Twining also acting for the private equity house.

The London office of US firm Jones Day also won a prominent role on the record-breaking transaction, with London partners Giles Elliott, Anthony Whall and David Smith advising iQ, Goldman Sachs and The Wellcome Trust.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partner Tom Lloyd advised on the financing aspects.

‘It’s a great business for a great client with a sophisticated buyer on the other side,’ Elliott told Legal Business. ‘It was an incredibly accelerated process all round. It was an exhausting but great deal to be involved in.’

Jones Day has some history with the business and its owners, having advised Goldman when it combined its student housing business with The Wellcome Trust-owned iQ in 2016.