Ashurst, SNR check out as Malmaison sells to Denver private equity group

Ashurst and SNR Denton took lead roles on the sale of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin to a US private equity group after the brands’ parent company went into administration last autumn.


David Carter
David Carter

Ashurst private equity partner David Carter led for RBSM Investments, the private equity arm of RBS, and MWB Hotel Holdings on their sale of the brands to Denver-based KSL Capital Partners, a deal reported to be worth around £200m.

Carter was joined by restructuring and special situations senior associate Olga Galazoula and associate Caroline Grant, as well as tax associate Philippa Michie.

The Ashurst lawyers were also advising a Deloitte team consisting of partners Phil Bowers and Neville Kahn, who were appointed as MWB Group’s administrators in November 2012.

SNR Denton acted for KSL, fielding London corporate real estate head Matthew Tinger as the lead partner alongside real estate finance partner James Irvine, tax partner Alex Thomas, real estate partner Jason Sheard and Emea hotels head Mark Daliere. The lead corporate associate was Kasit Rochanakorn, who qualified last September.

CMS Cameron McKenna corporate partner and hotels and leisure head Thomas Page advised Malmaison and its management alongside corporate associates Vishal Nayyar and Paula Ade and real estate associate Katie Paul.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised the lending group consisting of RBS and Bank of Scotland, putting forward banking partner Jeffrey Rubinoff and associate Lisa Seifman, who worked alongside finance associate Richard Daniels, another September 2012 qualifier.

Background to this deal:

Ashurst’s relationship with the wider RBS group is longstanding; the ties with RBSM are through Carter, who has acted for it since its original investment in Malmaison in 2005. He advised the Malmaison shareholder on the hotel chain’s refinancing in 2011, on which the same Freshfields team advised the banks (10 October 2011).

SNR Denton has an established relationship with KSL in the US, with hotels and leisure chair Rick Ross in Phoenix acting as the key relationship partner. Others who work with KSL are Daliere, who moved to the London base on secondment indefinitely in July 2011 to build up the firm’s hotels practice, as well as Phoenix managing partner Meghan Cocci and Atlanta hospitality and leisure partner David Klein.

CMS took on Malmaison’s legal work in early 2012, when its shareholders and non-executive directors chose to bring in new advisers across the board, including legal advisers, amid the resignation of MWB CEO Richard Balfour-Lynn and finance director Jagtar Sing in the first half of the year. It previously used Dechert for corporate work and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) for various matters including finance, with both firms advising on the original refinancing. Dechert still carries out occasional small pieces of work for the company, while BLP has retained a relationship with the client.

CMS’ Page took a degree of work from the Deloitte partners when MWB went into administration on account of its legacy role for the company, with Clifford Chance also advising the administrators. Clifford Chance restructuring partners Philip Hertz and John MacLennan and corporate partner Tim Lewis advised the administrators, while a team from the magic circle firm comprising restructuring partner Adrian Cohen and banking partner Alistair McGillivray acting for MWB’s lender Lloyds Banking Group before and after the filing.