Legal Business Blogs

Trucking ahead – King & Spalding, Hill Dickinson and Minter Ellison advise on £280m Eddie Stobart majority stake sale

Rare in the transport world for having its own television show, King & Spalding, Hill Dickinson and Minter Ellison have secured roles on the £280m sale of a majority stake in iconic UK haulage company Eddie Stobart, announced this week.

The sale by the Stobart Group to a group led by chief operating officer William Stobart, sees US top 40 Global 100 firm King & Spalding advise Stobart’s financial backers, DouglasBay Capital.

King & Spalding’s London team was led by corporate partner William Charnley, former managing partner of McDermott Will & Emery’s London office, who joined Mayer Brown in 2007 and later King & Spalding in 2012 as part of a series of lateral hires to build up its City capability. The deal team includes tax partner Kevin Conway and employment partner Pulina Whitaker.

Under the terms of the deal the Stobart Group will release 51% of holding company Eddie Stobart Logistics, comprising of £195.6m in cash, £44.1m in shares and around $41.1m in debt, allowing the company to repay some debt and return capital to shareholders.

Hill Dickinson advised long-standing client the Stobart Group, with a team led by Jonathan Brown. Brown previously advised the Stobart Group on its acquisition of James Irlam & Son for £60m in 2008.

William Stobart is being advised by Minter Ellison’s London corporate M&A partner Michael Wallin.

The Eddie Stobart brand began with individually named green trucks and drivers that must wave and honk their horn if waved to, and has grown to encompass its own Channel 5 television show, Trucks and Trailers.

However, the Stobart Group is reported by the Financial Times to be diversifying away from road haulage, and has widened its portfolio with acquisitions including Southend Airport in 2008 for £21m, and Carlisle Lake District Airport a year later for £9.9m. Hill Dickinson led by Brown advised the group on both those acquisitions. The group also operates a rail freight operation under the name of Stobart Rail.

Last year the group announced it would launch a law firm, One Legal, after being granted alternative business structure status by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The company also offers its clients direct access to a network of barristers for fixed fee.