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Slaughters and Debevoise take sides as HarbourVest makes hostile bid for SVG Capital

Slaughter and May has won repeat work for SVG Capital as the private equity house faces a £1bn hostile takeover bid from Boston-based group HarbourVest.

Long time Debevoise & Plimpton client HarbourVest made a full and final cash offer for the entire share capital of London listed SVG Capital, without the backing of its target.

Under the terms of the offer, SVG Capital shareholders will receive 650p in cash for each share they hold, valuing the entire existing issued share capital of SVG l at approximately £1bn. The final offer price represents a premium of approximately 15% on the closing price of 566.5p per SVG Capital share last Friday (9 September).

Slaughter and May’s team on the deal includes corporate partners Robin Ogle and Paul Mudie. Ogle advised in 2015 as SVG Capital disposed of its 49.9% stake in Aberdeen SVG Private Equity Manager to Aberdeen Asset Management, and again that year when it returned about £70m to shareholders.

The Debevoise team on the deal is led by London-based dual qualified partner Katherine Ashton, and includes New York partners David Schwartz and Byungkwon Lim. Tax advice was provided by London partners Matthew Saronson and Richard Ward.

Allen & Overy (A&O) is acting alongside Debevoise for HarbourVest on UK public M&A elements of the deal. The A&O team is led by London-based corporate partner Seth Jones and includes corporate partner Richard Hough.

Debevoise previously advised HarbourVest on similar acquisitions of listed private equity vehicles. It advised HarbourVest on its $806m acquisition of Absolute Private Equity in 2011, and the $1.4bn acquisition of the Conversus Capital portfolio in 2012.

For more on the cut and thrust world of private equity lawyers, see ‘ABC – the brutally simple world of a private equity lawyer