Cleary gives boost to Akzo bid

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is the latest firm to land a role in the ICI and Akzo Nobel saga, which is now set to run until Monday (13 August).

The US firm advised German consumer goods company Henkel in agreeing a £2.7bn conditional partnership with Akzo Nobel ahead of any deal with ICI.

If Akzo’s approach to ICI is successful, Henkel has agreed to buy the adhesives and electronic materials business of ICI subsidiary National Starch from Akzo. This has given Akzo an essential pipeline of extra funds with which to sweeten its offer to ICI.

The news comes as The Takeover Panel yesterday (9 August) extended its ‘put up or shut up’ notice to Akzo by four days. The Dutch company now has until Monday morning to make a concrete offer for ICI or walk away for six months.

New York-based corporate partner William Groll led the Cleary team for Henkel, a longstanding client.

Akzo was advised by panel Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Slaughter and May and Sullivan & Cromwell. Slaughters has also taken the lead role advising Akzo on the ICI deal, with corporate finance partner Roland Turnill leading the team.

The Dutch group announced on 6 August that it had raised its bid for ICI by 3 per cent to £8.1bn, which sweetened the offer enough for ICI to open its books for due diligence to take place last weekend.

It was only through the partnership with Henkel that Akzo was able to push up its offer for ICI.

ICI has turned to longstanding counsel Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Corporate partners Mark Rawlinson and Martin Taylor are leading.

Financial advisers are Morgan Stanley for Akzo and Merrill Lynch and UBS for ICI.