A&O acquires Imperial Tobacco habit

Allen & Overy (A&O) is advising Imperial Tobacco for the second time in as many months on an overseas purchase by the acquistive cigarette brand.

Imperial has made a £7.5bn all-cash offer for Spain’s Altadis, advised by Garrigues.

Under the terms of the bid, Imperial is offering €45 (£30.75) a share, which represents an 18 per cent premium on Altadis’ closing price on the Spanish stock market. Altadis’ global cigarette brands include Gauloises Blondes, Fortuna and Brooklyn.

A&O’s team is being led by London-based corporate partners Jeremy Parr and Helen Harrison-Hall and Spanish-based partners Inigo Gomez-Jordana and Juan Barona.

Parr also led on Imperial’s first US acquisition, its $1.9bn (£974m) cash offer for Commonwealth Brands in February (The Lawyer, 9 February).

Imperial’s banks on the deal are Citigroup, ABN Amro and Morgan Stanley, advised by a team from Ashurst lead by corporate partner Nicholas Holmes.

Imperial is the fourth-largest tobacco company in the world. A&O won Imperial as a client in 2002 when relationship partner Parr joined the firm from Ashurst.

This is the latest deal in the consolidating global tobacco market. It follows Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer client Japan Tobacco’s £7.5bn bid for Gallaher in December. Gallaher, which produces Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges, instructed Slaughter and May.