A&O scoops Standard Chartered work

Allen & Overy (A&O) has muscled in on longstanding Slaughter and May client Standard Chartered after the magic circle firm scooped an instruction to advise the bank on a major acquisition in Korea.

A&O is advising Standard Chartered on the $3.3bn (£1.75bn) acquisition of Korea First Bank (KFB), the country’s seventh-largest bank, from KFB Newbridge Holdings.

It is understood that Slaughters, which has historically handled the lion’s share of Standard Chartered’s own account work, missed out on advising the bank because of its relatively small presence in Asia. Last summer the firm decided to shut its Singapore office, with one partner relocating to Hong Kong.

A&O has been securing more of Standard Chartered’s own account work since the firm won a place on the bank’s global panel in August 2003, but the multibillion-dollar acquisition is understood to be the firm’s first major mandate.

Standard Chartered is financing the acquisition with the proceeds of a placing of ordinary shares and is being advised by Slaughters on that aspect of the deal.

The deal was signed on 10 January and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2005, subject to regulatory consents.

Newbridge, the company that was established to hold the investment of private equity investors in KFB, is being advised by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.