Emmerson scores first deal at Sullivan

M&A rainmaker Tim Emmerson has landed his first major deal since moving from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy to US rival Sullivan & Cromwell.

Emmerson is leading Sullivan’s team advising Thomas Cook on its merger with My Travel.

Goldman Sachs, adviser to Thomas Cook on the deal along with Citigroup, recommended Emmerson to the company. The instruction resulted in Goldman Sachs asking Emmerson to start as a partner at Sullivan a month earlier than scheduled in order to work on the deal.

The combination will create a travel company with annual revenues of £8bn and is expected to save both groups a total of £75m a year in costs. The new company, named Thomas Cook Group, will be UK-headquartered, trading shares in London using My Travel’s current listing.

Instead of a reverse takeover by My Travel, a new company was created that will buy both My Travel and Thomas Cook, the former through a scheme of arrangement.

Karstadt Quelle, the German department store chain that owns Thomas Cook, will own 52 per cent of the new company with My Travel shareholders owning the rest.

A pre-condition to the deal is that Karstadt Quelle buy the remaining shares that it does not already own in Thomas Cook from Lufthansa.

On that transaction, which is currently awaiting EU antitrust clearance, Hengeler Mueller is advising Karstadt Quelle and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is acting for Lufthansa.

As first reported in The Lawyer (4 December 2006), My Travel explored the possibility of a merger with Herbert Smith client First Choice. Now that My Travel will merge with Thomas Cook, it will no longer bid for First Choice, said My Travel CEO Peter McHugh.

Then as now, My Travel turned to a Slaughter and May team led by corporate partner William Underhill, competition partner Malcolm Nicholson and finance partner Roland Turnill. My Travel is being advised by Credit Suisse and UBS.