Herbies and Slaughters lead on Prudential fundraising

Herbert Smith and Slaughter and May have taken lead roles on Prudential’s delayed $21bn (£14.6bn) rights issue, which will provide part funding for its acquisition of American International Group’s (AIG) Asian insurance arm AIA.

A multi-jurisdictional Herbert Smith team is advising underwriters Credit Suisse, HSBC and JPMorgan Cazenove on the 11-for-two issue, which was launched this morning. The firm is also advising the banks on the debt financing for the takeover and new listings for Prudential’s businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Partner Will Pearce led the London team acting on the rights issue alongside fellow corporate partner Alex Bafi. Finance partner Chris Fanner is leading on the arrangement of the debt financing.

Away from the City, corporate partner Matt Emsley is leading for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong on the dual primary listing of Prudential shares, while corporate of counsel Kwok-Hon Yeeis is acting on a secondary listing in Singapore.

Pearce said: “For our corporate practice, advising on this kind of transaction and being able to advise the banks across all disciplines and jurisdictions is a fantastic thing to do. It really represents the strength of our practice.”

The rights issue is thought to be the biggest in UK corporate history, edging out Lloyds’ £13.5bn offering last year (24 November 2009).

Slaughters corporate partner Nilufer von Bismarck is acting for Prudential on the rights issue while corporate partners William Underhill and Roland Turnill are leading on the takeover.

Finance partners Matthew Tobin and Guy O’Keefe are advising on the debt package for the deal.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Singapore firm Allen & Gledhill are also acting for Prudential, advising respectively on US securities and Singapore aspects of the deal. Debevoise & Pliimpton won the mandate to advise AIA.

The bulk of the issue is expected to be completed by the end of June with the AIA takeover slated to close in the third quarter.