Freshfields, Linklaters to act on Pyaterochka IPO

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have scooped the lead roles on the IPO of Russia’s largest grocery retailer Pyaterochka.

The £312m float, which is expected to close this month, is the second-largest issue by a Russian company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to date and the country’s largest-ever consumer flotation.

Pyaterochka’s decision to list on the LSE is a further fillip for the exchange in its battle with New York to attract Russian issuers. But despite the achievement of the LSE in luring Russian companies, UK firms have had mixed success in securing issuer roles on Russian IPOs. Pyaterochka’s float is one of the few in which UK law firms have dominated the key roles.

Latham & Watkins in particular is dominating Russian floats on the issuer side. It has emerged that the US firm is advising Russia’s largest independent gas company Novatek on its proposed LSE listing. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is understood to be advising the co-lead arrangers. The instruction follows Latham’s work for the issuer on the largest Russian float to date – the $1bn (£520m) IPO of Russian conglomerate Sistema.

Meanwhile, Linklaters is establishing itself as the firm of choice to advise underwriters on Russian IPOs. In addition to its role on the Pyaterochka float, the firm advised the underwriters on both the Sistema and Lukoil IPOs. On the latter float, the issuer was advised by US energy specialists Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

It is understood that Freshfields won the mandate to advise Pyaterochka over two years ago. New partner Mikhail Loktionov advised alongside Moscow-based Tobias Mueller-Deku.

Linklaters, led by partners Steve Thierbach and Brigid Rentoul, advised Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley as co-lead arrangers on the IPO.