A quintet of firms led by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have landed the prize mandates on the sale of the Vue cinema chain – the third largest in the UK – to private equity house Doughty Hanson.
Corporate partner Laurie McFadden, supported by finance partner David Trott, led the Freshfields team acting for Vue Entertainment on the £450m deal.
McFadden led the Freshfields team that acted on the original management buyout (MBO) of the cinema operator in 2006, when private equity duo Boston Ventures and Clarity Partners sold their holdings to a management team led by chief executive Tim Richards.
Skadden advised longstanding client Doughty Hanson, fielding a team featuring relationship partner Allan Murray-Jones and counsel Julie Bradshaw on the M&A side, and banking partner Mark Darley on the debt financing aspects of the transaction.
The Vue management team, which will net a payout reported to be around £70m, turned to Travers Smith. Private equity partner David Innes took the mandate in what is likely to be his valedictory deal ahead of an impending move to Debevoise & Plimpton. Innes also acted on the 2006 MBO on behalf of the management team.
“It’s a great business in a fun industry,” said Innes. “They’ve been a terrific management team, both in terms of what they’ve achieved and in acting for them.”
The deal will give Vue the financial clout to fun further expansion, with reports suggesting that raids on rivals Cineworld or the combined Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group could be in the offing.