Electra Partners boosts Ashursts’ Euro network

Ashurst Morris Crisp’s European offices have been put to the test after snaring the multi-jurisdictional mandate for Electra Partners’ secondary buyout of Italian chemicals distributor Azelis Sarl.

Electra’s e135m (£93.1m) purchase from Permira, the third exit the private equity rival has made in just over a week, was run out of Frankfurt.

As well as Germany, the bid spanned Italy, France and the UK. It was led jointly out of London by Ashursts’ Charlie Geffen, who heads up the electra relationship, and corporate partner Daniele Raynaud from Milan.

“This was a nice deal for Ashursts Europe,” said Geffen. “The management group included family and friends, which was unusual and had a significant effect.”

Electra will invest e45m (£31m) in the company, giving it a 57 per cent stake, with Azelis’s management holding the remaining 43 per cent. The debt will be rolled over.

Azelis’s management turned to local firm Morano & Associati for advice while Permira also plumped for provincial representation with Munari Gatti & Associati.

The transaction is a significant boost for Ashurst’s Italian office, which is still building its presence in corporate work in the region.

Since the firm opened the office in 2000 it has made more strides in terms of its finance group, where it has landed a number of lucrative deals.

Among a number of instructions that the firm counts as a high point its retainer by lenders Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas and CSFB on the e5.56bn (£3.83bn) auction of Seat Pagine Gialle earlier this year.