Shearman scoops Allianz deal to become top adviser
Shearman & Sterling is advising Goldman Sachs as underwriter to the German insurer Allianz on its g1bn (£626m) exchangeable bond issue. The bonds are exchangeable with shares in the German utility group RWE. The move will cut the insurer's holding in RWE from 11.7 per cent to 8 per cent and will help finance its acquisition of Dresdner Bank, which was made earlier this year. Allianz and RWE are being advised in-house. Capital markets partner Hans Diekmann is leading the Shearman team advising Goldmans. So far Allianz has issued exchangeable bonds for stock in both Deutsche and Siemens and then last year it issued h2bn (£1.25bn) linked exchangeable bonds for stocks in E.ON, BASF and Munich Re. The latest deal with AWE is the first time that Shearman has been involved in a bond issue for Allianz and it was instructed by Goldman Sachs on the request of the German insurer. Shearman is one of a number of firms used by Allianz in Germany, including Hengeler Mueller Weitzel Wirtz, Linklaters Oppenhoff & Rädler and Pöllath + Partners. Shearman's relationship with Allianz is growing steadily, and both the M&A and the capital markets departments have more instructions from the insurer in the pipeline. The development stems from the relationship between Shearman's corporate rainmaker Georg Thoma and Allianz's board member and chief financial officer Paul Achleitner, which was built up during the 1990s, while Achleitner was head of the Frankfurt office of Goldman Sachs. Shearman's first instruction from Allianz came towards the end of 1999, when it was asked to advise the insurer on the proposed merger between Dresdner Bank and Deutsche Bank. As part of the deal the retail division of Deutsche was going to be taken over by Allianz. The deal fell through in spring 2000, but by then Achleitner had moved to Allianz and the relationship was consolidated. Shearman went on to advise Allianz on its f23bn (£14.4bn) acquisition of Dresdner, which was approved in July this year. Allianz's head of corporate finance Stephen Theissing said that the company's relationship with Shearman is not exclusive and that the insurer will continue to use the other firms on its panel. But Helga Jung, head of M&A at Allianz, said that all the big M&A deals will be handled by Shearman. Theissing said that the structure of the RWE deal is standard. The bonds mature in 2006 and carry a coupon of 1.25 per cent. Issuing exchangeable bonds means that Allianz can actively manage its portfolio of holdings and spread its investments more internationally. The purchase price for the takeover offer on Dresdner has to be paid in January.