Legal Business Blogs

For sale: Clifford Chance leads as the Co-op Bank looks for buyers

Clifford Chance (CC) is advising the Co-operative (Co-op) Bank as the high street lender is inviting offers to buy all of its shares. This will help build its capital and meet regulatory requirements.

Corporate partner Lee Coney is leading the team, with support from capital markets partner Iain Hunter, M&A partner Hilary Evenett and banking and finance specialist Simon Gleeson.

Following its split from parent the Co-op Group in 2013, the Co-op Bank launched its first legal panel, appointing 11 firms to the roster. CC, Allen & Overy (A&O), Bates Wells Braithwaite, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds and Hogan Lovells are among the firms on the panel.

The bank continues to be 20% owned by the Co-op Group, after almost collapsing in 2013 and being bailed out by a group of hedge funds. The Co-op Group accepted the bank’s decision, and offered its support through a news release this morning.

In August 2015, CC also advised the Co-Op Bank as it avoided a substantial fine following an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for breaching listing rules.

Earlier in 2013 CC, led again by Hunter and Evenett, also advised the bank on its recapitalisation as it prepared to float in 2014. At the time, A&O’s dual role as adviser to the Co-op Group and the bank came under scrunity as a group of hedge funds were taking over 70% of the UK bank.