Veil Armfelt wins new client with Partouche casino deal
Veil Armfelt Jourde La Garanderie is advising French casino operator Groupe Partouche on its acquisition of a 22 per cent stake in the rival operator Compagnie Europeenne de Casinos from French hotel group Accor. Partouche is a new client for Veil. The firm won the work through its lead partner on the deal, Patrick Jais. Accor acquired the stake when it launched a takeover bid for Européenne de Casinos. However, Partouche was also bidding for the stake and after a two-month war, it finally gained control of the smaller operator by buying 56 per cent of Europeenne de Casinos on the market. The original bid made by Accor was for e52 per share (£32). Partouche then offered e59 (£37). Accor raised its bid to e65 (£40) and Partouche finally closed the deal at e66.5 (£41). At the beginning of March, Accor dropped its bid for Euro-péenne de Casinos and agreed to sell its shares to Partouche. The acquisition will be financed by Credit Suisse First Boston and Banque de Vizille, which are being advised by Linklaters. The financing is being carried out under UK law and a team at Macfarlanes, led by partner Mark Furman, is advising alongside Veil on these aspects. Accor is being advised by Patrick Beauvisage at Latham & Watkins. The company has a longstanding relationship with Lathams in Paris (previously the Paris office of Stibbe). Jais said that there are some specific legal issues that make the deal interesting. "The offer has been made in cash, which allows the shares to be bought on the market. Under French law you can buy shares on the market even if there's a takeover bid on the company," he said. "It is significant that we were able to buy 30 per cent of share capital just before launching a takeover bid," he added. Accor has set up a joint venture with US investment company colony Capital, which will take a 50 per cent stake in Accor subsidiary Accor Casinos.