Cleary and Clifford Chance join host on firms on Club Med takeover battle

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Clifford Chance have joined a host of UK, US and French firms involved as the battle to acquire luxury travel business Club Méditerranée (Club Med) hots up.

A team spanning Cleary Gottlieb’s London, Milan and Paris offices are advising Investindustrial, the private equity group run by Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi, on its €800m counter-bid for Club Med.

The offer follows a bid last year by a consortium of Chinese-owned Fosun and Ardian (formerly Axa Private Equity), which was put on hold by the French regulators in May this year. Shareholders had challenged the bid in the courts, delaying its completion.

DLA Piper and Weil Gotshal & Manges have been acting for Fosun and Ardian respectively, while French corporate heavyweights Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier continues to act for Club Med’s management, with co-managing partner Olivier Diaz and partner Hugo Diener leading the team.

Club Med is represented by Orrick Rambaud Martel and Villey Girard Grolleaud. The latter firm was launched by a team of three younger partners from Darrois early last year (4 February 2013).

Meanwhile partner Youssef Djehane of corporate boutique BDGS is advising the company’s board.

The Cleary Gottlieb team is led out of Paris by partner Pierre-Yves Chabert and counsel Sophie de Beer, and associates Amaury Berbille, Laura Birène, Florent Patoret, who are advising on corporate and tender offer matters. Tax partner Anne-Sophie Coustel, finance partners Valérie Lemaitre, Andrew Shutter and Carlo de Vito Piscicelli, and competition partner François Brunet are also involved.

Clifford Chance is advising the banks on the financing of Investindustrial’s offer. The magic circle firm’s team includes is led by finance partner Thierry Arachtingi.

Investindustrial’s bid is through a French subsidiary, Global resorts. The offer price is fixed at €21 per share and €22.41 for Club Méditerranée’s convertible bonds (OCEANE), or a total of €790 million for 100 per cent of the shares of the company. The offer proposes a liquidity event to shareholders, pricing the bid at a premium of 22 per cent compared to the Fosun-Ardian offer.

Strategic Holdings, Investindustrial’s public equity sister company, is represented by Brandford Griffith Associés partners Henri Brandford-Griffith and Diane Pasturel.

Ardian and Fosun’s investment vehicle Gallion owns 18.5 per cent of Club Med, while Bonomi currently owns about 10 per cent of the company.