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Repeat business: Slaughters and Spanish best friend act as Santander buys back its asset management arm

Slaughter and May, its best friend Uria Menendez and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton have won roles advising on Santander’s buy back of its asset management business from private equity groups Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.

Madrid-based Banco Santander sold 50% of its asset management business to the private equity houses in 2013, which had hoped to merge the business with UniCredit’s own asset management operation Pioneer before talks fell through earlier this year.

Santander Asset Management has €170bn of assets under management and generates €1.1bn of annual fee income.

Cleary advised Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic with a team including London based partners Simon Jay on corporate matters, Richard Sultman on tax issues and London/Milan based partner Carlo de Vito Piscicelli on financial aspects of the deal.

Slaughters advised Banco Santander alongside Madrid-based Uria Menendez. Corporate partner Michael Corbett led the Magic Circle firm’s team with M&A partner Antonio Herrera and Stephen Hess advising for Uria Menendez. The duo had advised Santander back in 2015 on the UniCredit deal which ultimately failed. Linklaters had advised UniCredit Pioneer Investments while Davis, Polk & Wardwell also acted alongside Slaughters.

Cleary acted for the PE houses on the original acquisition from Santander and then on their merger talks with UniCredit.
Jay told Legal Business: ‘This is another very interesting transaction with Santander. We’ve got to know them and their lawyers very well over the past two or three years and they’ve been very constructive around the transaction.’

In November it was revealed Santander UK had taken on Bank of Ireland’s general counsel John Bennett as its chief operating officer and senior counsel for legal and regulatory, joining a 35-strong team led by seasoned legal counsel John Collins, the bank’s director of legal, compliance, regulatory affairs and anti-money laundering.