CC steals a march on Ashurst with Blackstone coup

Ashurst with Blackstone coup” />Clifford Chance is celebrating after advising private equity house Blackstone Group on the flotation of Southern Cross Healthcare following an 18-month deal frenzy for the care home provider.

Southern Cross floated on Friday (7 July) after initially postponing the share sale because of recent stock market turbulence. Private equity partner Ian Bagshaw and equity capital markets partner Adrian Cartwright led on the deal. Linklaters corporate partner John Lane advised Morgan Stanley and UBS on the IPO.

The flotation was valued at £423m with shares priced at 225 pence.

The IPO marked the culmination of 18 months of deals for Clifford Chance, which won the Southern Cross work from Ashurst.

Ashurst originally acted for Blackstone when it bought Southern Cross in September 2004. However, Clifford Chance won its first major instruction from the private equity group a few months later, when it bought care home business NHP, and continued to advise when Blackstone merged the two businesses.

The magic circle firm has since acted on the reorganisation of the combined businesses into a property platform (NHP) and an operator platform (Southern Cross), as well as on the acquisition by Southern Cross of the Ashbourne Group of cares homes in 2005. Clifford Chance also clinched the lead role when Blackstone sold NHP to Royal Bank of Scotland for around £1bn earlier this year.

Just weeks before the flotation the magic circle firm advised Southern Cross on a £140m refinancing, led by Roderick McGillivray, with Lovells partner Gary Hamp representing Barclays Capital.