A&O pops up in battle for spot on Apax panel

Allen & Overy (A&O) has emerged as a surprise contender for a much sought-after place on private equity firm Apax’s leveraged transaction panel.

It is understood that A&O is one of five firms asked to bid for the two places available in the line-up. It joins Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Travers Smith Braithwaite, which are also in the running, as revealed in The Lawyer (22 March).

The fifth firm in the running is Ashurst which, contrary to market speculation, has ended up on the short-list to advise on deals worth more than €100m (£67.3m).

Normally recognised for its highly regarded banking practice, A&O’s presence on the tender list is a boost to its private equity group.
In February this year, A&O acted for Apax and newco Medeus Pharma on the $120m (£66.5m) acquisition of Elan Corporation’s European sales and marketing business.

A question mark still remains over which firms are in the frame to advise Apax’s leveraged transaction team on high yield. It is understood there is just one place up for grabs in the area.
If A&O fails to make the panel after tendering takes place in mid-April, its expertise in high yield could still give it a shoe-in to Apax.

Apax was unavailable for comment. Ashurst and A&O declined to comment.