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Freshfields and Linklaters take the lead on Schneider Electric’s £3.3bn Invensys bid

Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have landed the leading roles on a takeover bid by France’s Schneider Electric for UK engineering firm Invensys in an offer that values the company at £3.3bn.

Linklaters led by London corporate partner Nick Rees is lead adviser to the French power equipment company, while Freshfields led by corporate head Barry O’Brien and City M&A co-head Ben Spiers is advising longstanding client Invensys. The deal comes just under a year after O’Brien and Spiers led on the company’s £1.74bn sale of its rail division to Siemens.

Linklaters has acted for Schneider on a number of deals including its 2010 acquisition of Areva T&D, led by Paris corporate partner Marc Loy.

Invensys today confirmed that it has received a takeover offer after rumours first emerged earlier this week, and the Invensys board has advised that it is likely to accept Schneider’s offer of 505p per share, valuing the company at £3.3bn.

In it’s own statement today, Schneider confirmed it is in the early stages of talks regarding an offer, but said it was not making an announcement of a firm intention to make an offer under rule 2.7 of the Takeover Code and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made. Schneider, which is now required to make a formal offer by 8 August, said a deal would hep it develop its robotics business.

Invensys provides software, systems and controls to a wide range of clients from oil refineries to appliance manufacturers in order to help monitor, control and automate products and processes. Schneider specialises in medium and low-voltage electrical power equipment.

Earlier this year, Severn Trent Water received a takeover offer from a Canadian, Kuwaiti and UK consortium, reportedly valuing the target at £5bn, an offer rejected by the Severn Trent board.

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) led by City corporate partners Stephen Wilkinson and Robert Moore advised longstanding client Severn Trent, while Allen & Overy led by corporate partner Richard Evans advised the consortium, made up of Borealis Infrastructure Management, the Kuwait Investment Office and Universities Superannuation Scheme.