Clifford Chance steals a march on Links over Montagu sell-off

Clifford Chance has muscled in on Linklaters’ client Montagu Private Equity by acting on a rare leveraged buyout in ­Germany.

Christopher Kellett

Christopher Kellett

The magic circle firm won the instruction from Montagu for the sale of sausage skin manufacturer Kalle for e212.5m (£185.2m), one of the largest debt-funded deals of the year so far.

The Clifford Chance team was led by partners ­Christopher Kellett and Mark Besen.

Latham & Watkins M&A partner Jorg Kirchner acted for the buyer Silverfleet Capital.

The deal is the first major investment by Silverfleet, which is the former buyout arm of Prudential.

Debt for the transaction was provided by a consortium of banks led by Bank of Ireland and Rabobank, ­represented by Ashurst finance partner Stefan Kock.

Linklaters has built up a strong relationship with Montagu ever since advising HSBC on the sale of its 80 per cent stake in the group to the Montagu ­management.

London-based private equity partner Richard Youle acted on the £1.2bn take-private of waste company Biffa last year, as well as on the acquisition of British Car Auctions for £450m in 2006.

However, Clifford Chance had previously been instructed by Montagu in Germany. Kellett, who was the lead partner for the acquisition of BSN Medical in 2005, said the firm was the group’s main legal ­adviser in the country.

He explained that the deal had taken longer than previous investments because of uncertainty in the markets.

“The difficulty was that there hasn’t been a deal with fresh equity and fresh debt for some time in Germany,” said Kellett.