BLP wins Schroders and BA after Merrill instruction

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has won Schroders and British Airways (BA) Pensions Trustees as new clients on the back of property funds work the firm has handled for Merrill Lynch.
BLP partner Antony Grossman led a team advising Merrill Lynch on the sale of Ashtenne Holdings’ properties. Merrill Lynch invested £35m in a fund run by Ashtenne. The investment bank then referred Schroders and BA Pensions Trustees as investors to the fund and recommended that BLP advise them on the investments.
Jones Day Gouldens advised Ashtenne and Nabarro Nathanason advised the fund.
The deal set the wheels in motion for a fortnight of groundbreaking deals that the BLP team also worked on. The Arlington Securities and Monsoon deals both raised eyebrows in the City.
Arlington, Europe’s largest business park company, completed an £800m restructuring that split the company into three tax-efficient funds; it became a revenue-based management and service company that will generate income from managing the funds. BLP advised Legal & General, one of Arlington’s owners. Gouldens advised Arlington and CMS Cameron McKenna advised Pricoa and Akaria, Arlington’s other owners.
The firm also advised the Stoneycroft trust on a unique deal that City analysts viewed as effectively taking fashion chain Monsoon private. Stoneycroft is the investment trust for the children of Monsoon’s founder and chairman Peter Simon. The fund is proposing to add options giving shareholders the right to sell their shares to Stoneycroft during two offer periods lasting for three months. The deal will force the company to transfer its listing to AIM because of the reduced free float.
“The Takeover Panel said that they’d never seen a structure like it,” said Grossman.
Stoneycroft’s financial advisers were City Capital Corporation and Numis Securities, which were advised by Linklaters.