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Travers, Debevoise and Freshfields provide cover for $1.1bn Ascot insurance deal

Usual suspects Travers Smith, Debevoise & Plimpton, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have been gifted with advisory roles on the latest heavyweight deal as Canada Pension Plan Investment (CPPIB) has agreed to buy Ascot Underwriting Holdings, the Lloyds of London insurer linked to American International Group (AIG), as part of a $1.1bn agreement.

Travers Smith advised the senior management team of Ascot with senior partner Chris Hale leading a team including tax partner Kathleen Russ.

CPPIB, Canada’s largest pension fund, was advised by a cross-border team at Debevoise including partners Alexander Cochran and Nicholas Potter and London-based David Innes and James Scoville. City tax partner Richard Ward also acted on the deal.

Freshfields corporate insurance partner George Swan advised AIG alongside international tax disputes head Helen Buchanan.

AIG will get about $240m in cash proceeds, reflecting the New York-based company’s 20% stake in the business and ownership of a related unit in the deal. Ascot Underwriting’s ownership has included an employee trust. The $1.1bn sum also includes a recapitalisation of an entity by the buyer.

Following the sale of Ascot, chief executive Andrew Brooks will continue to lead the business alongside the rest of the senior management team in their new partnership with CPPIB. As part of the transaction, AIG has divested its interest in Ascot but will maintain its ongoing strategic relationship with Ascot Underwriting Bermuda.

Travers Smith also announced a second high-profile deal this morning (20 September) and advised long-standing client Exponent Private Equity on the acquisition of The Racing Post, the leading media player in the horseracing and sports betting market in Britain and Ireland, for an undisclosed sum. Private equity partners Ian Shawyer and Lucie Cawood led on the deal alongside finance partner Donald Lowe, tax partners Kathleen Russ and Simon Skinner and commercial, IP & technology partner Richard Brown. The selling shareholders were advised by White & Case.