Deals comment

Buyers and firms all keen to get into Spirit

City law firms are lining up to cash in on the bidding war for UK pubs group Spirit. It is understood at least four fully financed bids worth as much as £3bn were received for Spirit last week. The bids were reportedly from billionaire businessmen the Barclay Brothers, pub group Punch Taverns, property mogul Robert Tchenguiz and former WestLB investment banker Robin Saunders. It is understood a number of City law firms are advising the companies bidding for Spirit, but no one is offering comment yet. Lovells private equity partner Marco Compagnoni (pictured) has had a long-standing relationship with the Barclay Brothers, and Linklaters private equity partner Raymond McKeeve is the main adviser to Tchenguiz. Slaughter and May, which counts Spirit and Punch as clients, is understood to be acting for Spirit. The Lawyer contacted the law firms suspected to be involved, but all declined to confirm or deny the rumours. Spirit is owned by private equity firms Texas Pacific Group, CVC, Blackstone and investment bank Merrill Lynch. According to reports, acquisitive Australian bank Macquarie has also eyed the Spirit estate but it is not yet known whether it has submitted a bid.

TDC bidders gear up for Eurpoe’s largest leveraged buyout

By now we should know which of the rival bidders has won the battle for Denmark’s national telecoms operator TDC. The company has attracted the attention of at least two private equity consortiums – one containing Apax, Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Robert, Permira and Providence, the other made up of Apollo, BC Partners, Cinven and Silver Lake. Rival Swisscom has also been muted as a potential purchaser. Whatever the outcome, the deal promises to be Europe’s largest leveraged buyout (LBO), with TDC valued at around $11.5bn (£6.67bn) rising to $15bn (£8.71bn) including debt. If the acquisition goes ahead it will exceed the Wind LBO from earlier this year; Blackstone surprised commentators by losing out on that occasion. Clifford Chance and leading Dutch practice Kromann Reumert have confirmed they are acting for the telecoms group, with which both have long-standing relationships.