Clifford Chance and Slaughters lead as Aviva sells RAC to Carlyle

Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May snatched lead advisory roles in The Carlyle Group’s £1bn acquisition of RAC from insurance giant Aviva, which was announced today.

The private equity house bought the breakdown rescue company following an auction, fighting off competition from rivals including Clayton Dubilier & Rice, BC Partners and Bain Capital.

Clifford Chance acted for Carlyle on the leveraged buyout and advised the financing banks. The deal was complicated by the high-profile nature of the companies involved and the regulatory implications of a transaction in the financial services sector.

Although Carlyle has selected firms including Latham & Watkins and Linklaters for previous deals, it opted for the Clifford Chance team for the transactional advice, which was led by global private equity head David Walker. Partner Tim Page assisted with financial services regulatory advice.

Slaughters represented longstanding client Aviva. Partner Richard Smith led, supported by corporate associates Robert Innes and Victoria Macduff.

On the regulatory side, the seller was advised by Slaughters partner Jan Putnis and associate Nicholas Bonsall.

Neil Harrison, head of group legal, led Aviva’s in-house team on the deal.

Clifford Chance banking partner Jim MacHale advised the lenders, which included JPMorgan as lead bank, as well as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and UBS.

Linklaters acted for the buyer on the debt financing, while partner Chris Hale led the Travers Smith team advising the management of RAC.

The sale was part of Aviva’s offloading of non-core assets and represents an increased focus on its core business.