Legal Business Blogs

Finance: Slaughters, Cravath and De Brauw secure Shell DCM work as Irwin Mitchell wins Wells Fargo as new client

European corporates are showing greater reluctance than last year to tap into the debt capital markets but Royal Dutch Shell this week issued a triple-tranche $3.75bn bond with Slaughter and May; Cravath, Swaine & Moore and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek at the helm.

Slaughter and May’s finance partner Matthew Tobin and tax partner William Watson led a team advising on the issue of five-year, ten-year and 30-year fixed rate notes, which were issued by Shell International Finance and guaranteed by Royal Dutch Shell, which plans to use the funds for general corporate purposes.

Cravath’s team was led by New York-based corporate partner William Rogers assisted by tax partner Michael Schler. Slaughter’s best friend De Brauw was led by London-based corporate partner Ernest Meyer Swantee and included Paul Sluerink, a Netherlands-based tax partner.

The trio regularly work together on bond issues and in August last year advised Royal Dutch Shell on a similar $2.5bn triple tranche bond under its US shelf programme, in the same month advising Unilever on a $1bn bond issue.

Elsewhere, Slaughter’s finance team has also advised Taylor Wimpey, one of the largest residential developers in the UK, on the recently announced successful refinancing of its revolving credit facility. The original facility was due to expire in November 2014 but has been refinanced with a £550m facility that expires in August 2018.

The team was led by finance partner Mark Dwyer and included tax partner Gareth Miles. Taylor Wimpey is a long term client of the firm and Dwyer has helped bring the company’s borrowing under control via a series of debt restructurings and the sale of its US business. ‘At one point the company had over a £1bn in debt. It’s most recent announcement stated a figure of £68.4m,’ Dwyer told Legal Business.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Irwin Mitchell has won new client Wells Fargo in a multi-billion pound deal on the back of the 16-lawyer SJ Berwin real estate team that joined in 2010. The firm advised the leading US real estate lender on the England and Wales due diligence aspects of its £4bn real estate loan acquisition from Commerzbank-owned Hypothekenbank Frankfurt, in a deal that signed last month.

The Irwin Mitchell team was led by real estate partner Rob Thompson, who said: ‘This is the first time we have acted for Wells Fargo, a leading US bank and we are delighted to have advised on such a major acquisition and prestigious deal. The real estate due diligence on a portfolio of this size required immense organisation and careful management to ensure the matter proceeded smoothly.’

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Dechert advised on the overall structuring of the transaction. The A&O team was led by banking partner Arthur Dyson and corporate partner George Knighton while Dechert fielded US-based relationship partner Rick Jones and London finance partner Jeremy Trinder. Tax advice was provided by London partner Mark Stapleton.

Commerzbank was advised by Ashurst corporate partners Nick Cheshire and Rob Aird.