A&O and Linklaters take on Schaeffler debt restructure

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Linklaters have played key roles in the restructuring of German company Schaeffler’s debt, paving the way for the ball-bearing producer to merge with auto-parts manufacturer Continental.

A&O was handed the mandate from Schaeffler thanks to a longstanding relationship between the company and A&O Düsseldorf partner Rolf Koerfer.

Known as one of ­Germany’s leading M&A lawyers, Koerfer joined A&O from Shearman & Sterling last year. He was not part of the A&O team working on the deal as he has been serving as chairman of Continental, which is 90 per cent owned by Schaeffler, since March. Koerfer is expected to step down from that role as soon as a replacement is found, although it is understood he will remain on the board.

The A&O team was therefore led by Frankfurt banking partners Neil Weiand and Walter Uebelhoer.

Linklaters acted for the consortium of five lending banks, which was led by Commerzbank and RBS.

Banking partners Ste­phen Lucas in London and Marc Trinkaus in Frankfurt led the advice along with corporate partners Stephan Oppenhoff and Jochen Laufersweiler in Frankfurt.

Schaeffler took on e16bn (£14.03bn) of debt at the beginning of this year to finance its acquisition of Continental. It is understood that the banks involved had difficulty ­syndicating the debt.

Continental is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.