In a busy week for UK buyouts, Slaughter and May advised Daily Mail and General Trust on the £49.6m acquisition from JPIMedia of i newspaper and its website by its consumer media business, DMG Media.
The Slaughters team was led by corporate partner Rebecca Cousin while an Ashurst team led by corporate partner Braeden Donnelly advised JPIMedia Group.
Donnelly told Legal Business: ‘The sale of the i newspaper to Daily Mail was a significant first step for JPIMedia in realising value for bondholders. It is also part of a wider trend we are seeing in the UK print media market where consolidation is picking up pace as media owners respond to slowing print sales and increased competition from online alternatives.’
The deal was completed on 29 November. Ashurst previously advised Johnston Press on its acquisition of the i newspaper business from Independent Print Limited in 2016.
Meanwhile, DLA Piper advised Michelin on the sale of London-headquartered restaurant reservation business Bookatable to TripAdvisor company TheFork.
The acquisition allows competitor TheFork to consolidate in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Finland and Norway meaning that 14,000 restaurants on Bookatable will join the 67,000 restaurants available on TheFork.
The DLA team was led by London partner Tim Wright and Paris partner Simon Charbit while an Allen & Overy team led by Richard Browne advised TripAdvisor.
The acquisition follows Michelin’s content and licensing partnership with TripAdvisor and its subsidiary TheFork. The partnership means that Michelin guide inspectors will be grading restaurants according to the ‘stars, bib gourmand and Michelin plate’ on the TripAdvisor and TheFork websites. 4,000 restaurants in Europe will also be available on TheFork and the Michelin Guide’s digital platform.
French firm Gide advised Michelin on the partnership with a team led by partner Guillaume Rougier-Brierre.
Elsewhere, Travers Smith has advised New York Stock Exchange-listed company Noble Corporation on the acquisition of its 50%interest in the Bully I and Bully II drillship joint ventures by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell for a value of $166m.
Shell will pay a final cash settlement of roughly $59m of to Noble for its two drillships. Nobel, which owns and operates fleets in the offshore drilling industry, issued a note payable to Shell which satisfied a portion of the buyout price.
The Travers team was led by corporate partner Richard Spedding and Shell was advised in-house.
Finally. Addleshaw Goddard advised the promotional products company Pebble Group on its flotation on the AIM market with a fundraising value of £135m. It is the eighth IPO on AIM this year and the largest in terms of funds raised. The firm also advised on the £28m essensys listing in May and the £57m Brickability Group IPO in September.
The Addleshaw team was led by corporate partner Richard Lee. Lee told Legal Business: ‘What it means for the group is that they are no longer a private equity owned business and they no longer have the debt structure that goes with the private equity ownership. It gives them an improved balance sheet because the funds they raised in the IPO have been used to pay off the debt which they were previously carrying.
‘There were preferred share structures in there, plus loan notes, plus bank debts and the purpose of the fundraising for the company was to clear out that debt,’ added Lee.
The equity fundraise was managed by Berenberg with Grant Thornton acting as adviser. A London Bird & Bird equity capital markets team led by Adam Carling advised Berenberg as broker and Grant Thornton as nominated adviser.