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South African sell-down: Slaughters leads as GSK exits Aspen Pharmacare

Slaughter and May, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Bowman Gilfillan advised GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on the sale of its remaining 6.2% stake in Aspen Pharmacare, announced last week.

GSK confirmed its intention to sell the remaining stake in the South Africa’s biggest generic drugs producer Aspen Pharmacare last Wednesday, expected to comprise up to 28.2m Aspen shares. GSK’s internal team was led by vice president & associate GC Antony Braithwaite.

The completion of the accelerated bookbuild raised £477m. GSK held in a stake in the firm for seven years.

Slaughters was lead counsel with a firm-wide team including corporate and commercial partners David Johnson and Chris McGaffin.

Cleary acted on US aspects of the deal with a team led by Sebastian Sperber, while Bowman advised on South African law. Bowman’s team was led by partners Ezra Davids and Ryan Wessels.

Commenting on the deal, Slaughters’ Johnson said: ‘It was a sell-down of residual stake which GSK picked up years ago; it was a straightforward transaction.’

Slaughters is a longstanding adviser to GSK, having advised the pharma group in July on its agreement with Verily Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences), an Alphabet company, to form Galvani Bioelectronics.

In March the firm, alongside fellow Magic Circle firms Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, advised GSK on a multi-billion-dollar three-part deal with Novartis. This saw GSK acquire Novartis’s global vaccines business for $5.25bn and an equity interest of 63.5% in a new consumer healthcare joint venture.

For more on Slaughter and May’s M&A team see the feature: ‘The new boy – can Ryde & co keep Slaughters’ deal team on top?’