Ineos high-yield bond issue tops €3bn mark
The high-yield bond issue from petrochemicals business Ineos has certainly got people talking. The €3.1bn (£2.13bn) issue is the largest European junk bond to date and it demonstrates the attraction that this type of bond issue holds for corporate credits, which were once wary of junk bond status. Proceeds from the bond will be used to refinance a bridging loan, which Ineos used to help it buy BP subsidiary Innovene in October 2005. Slaughter and May acted for Ineos, with banking partner Andrew Johnson (pictured) leading the team on one of the world’s biggest leveraged buyouts. Johnson’s role included advising on the €9bn (£6.2bn) financing package. Shearman & Sterling‘s reputable high-yield practice advised underwriters Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, led by London capital markets partner David Beveridge.
OFT clears the way for Boots-Alliance Unichem tie-up
Competition teams at Allen & Overy (A&O) and Slaughter and May celebrated a surprise victory last week after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) indicated that it would clear the pending £8.1bn merger between pharmaceutical giants Boots and Alliance Unichem. In an unexpected announcement, the OFT said it would not refer the proposed acquisition by Boots of Alliance Unichem to the Competition Commission on the condition that the retailer agreed to sell around 100 stores. A&O corporate antitrust partner Mark Friend led the competition side of the transaction for Alliance Unichem, while Slaughters competition partner Claire Jeffs scooped the mandate to act for Boots. Competition partners close to the deal feared it would be referred to the commission, given that the merger was estimated to consume 40 per cent of the drug wholesale market in the UK.