Firms capitalise on publishing sector

SJ Berwin, Freshfields and Clifford Chance are among a host of firms cashing in on the volatile publishing sector.

SJ Berwin acted for international publishing house The Future Network on its #577.5m flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Its team was led by corporate finance partner Steven Davis and included corporate finance partners John Daghlian and Peter Anderson, assisted by Mark Sanders, Pauline Rippon and Rob Day.

Daghlian says: “This was a bloody good flotation for SJ Berwin to do. It is unusual for a non-magic circle firm to do this sort of work.

“But as we have expanded by recruiting from outside the firm rather than internal appointments, we have many ex-Clifford Chance partners and such like so we can handle these big publishing cases.”

Weil Gotshal & Manges corporate partner Akiko Mikumo and corporate assistant Corey Chivers also worked on the flotation, providing US counsel for The Future Network.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the deal's underwriter, was advised by Freshfields corporate partner Neil Radford and corporate assistant Julian Makin.

Freshfields has also gained work on another major publishing deal involving US media giant Gannett's #904m bid for UK regional newspaper group Newsquest. The firm has gained a new client in Gannett after being introduced by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Corporate partner Patrick Gaynor led the Freshfields team with support from competition partner Rod Carlton and finance partner David Winfield.

US securities partner John Chrisman worked with Gannett's in-house team to provide support on the US side, where the media giant also consulted local firm Nixon Hargrave Devans & Doyle.

Clifford Chance acted for Newsquest in the UK. Corporate partner Daniel Kossoff, who leads Clifford Chance's six-strong team, says: “We acted for [private equity group] KKR when Newsquest was formed, when it acquired Regional Newspapers from Reed Elsevier, and since then we've acted for Newsquest on its flotation and its purchase of Westminster Press.”

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised Newsquest on US matters. London corporate partner Gregory Conway led the team, with assistance from New York partner Casey Cogut.