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Private equity: CVC gifts Clifford Chance and Cleary Gottlieb with two major European mandates

Followers of the tussle between UK and US private equity practices for European mandates were this week rewarded with an instruction to both camps by leading buyout house CVC in its acquisitions of Domestic & General and Campbell Soup.

Advent International agreed earlier this week to sell extended warranty company Domestic & General (D&G) to CVC in a deal thought to be worth about $1.2bn, according to The New York Times, although this sum has not been officially disclosed.

Clifford Chance (CC) advised CVC, with a team led by Kem Ihenacho, co-head of the firm’s Africa practice and one of its private equity stars. He was assisted by M&A partner Brendan Moylan and insurance partner Hilary Evenett.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Advent on the sale, with a team led by corporate partner Adrian Maguire. Maguire told Legal Business: ‘Following advising Advent on its acquisition of D&G in 2007 and remaining close to the company throughout Advent’s ownership, we were happy to assist on the disposal of the asset.’ Advent bought UK based-D&G for $1.1bn.

Macfarlanes advised D&G’s management with a senior team led by corporate head Charles Meek, who was supported by tax partner Damien Crossley. The firm previously advised the D&G management team in connection with the company’s sale to CVC in 2007.

Freshfields typically competes with CC for CVC mandates and most recently acted for the private equity house on its sale of a $1.3bn stake in Indonesian retailer Matahari Department Store earlier this year.

However, this week has also seen Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s strong Brussels offering get its foot in the door, advising opposite Allen & Overy (A&O) on CVC’s proposal to buy the European brands of Campbell Soup (excluding its UK arm) in a deal worth around $400m.

Cleary is fielding a team that includes Brussels M&A partners Laurent Legein and Jacques Reding, Paris M&A partner Jean-Marie Ambrosi and London partner David Billington who advised on finance matters.

A&O is advising the iconic company famously portrayed by Andy Warhol in the 1960s out of Belgium, where the European base of Campbell Soup is located. The team is being led by corporate head Pierre-Olivier Mahieu, alongside employment head Pieter De Koster, tax head Patrick Smet and environmental law head Gauthier van Thuyne.

According to a release by the private equity house, CVC has raised fully committed senior debt financing, with Linklaters advising Rabobank, ING and BNP Paribas Fortis, the joint underwriters and bookwriters on the deal.