Sullivan partners CC on Barclays £80bn ABN bid

Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell have landed instruction on what will be, if successful, Europe’s biggest cross-border deal; the £80bn merger between Barclays and ABN Amro.

Clifford Chance and A&O have longstanding corporate relationships with the two banks.

At Clifford Chance, firm managing partner David Childs and firm head of finance Mark Campbell manage the relationship with Barclays, with corporate partner Guy Norman leading this deal.

At A&O, global head of banking Mike Duncan and Amsterdam-based corporate partner Annelies van der Pauw are the client relationship partners.

Sullivan & Cromwell is co-counsel with Clifford Chance advising Barclays, said the bank. Sullivan also has a longstanding relationship with Barclays in the US since it advised the bank on its listing on the New York Stock Exchange 20 years ago. London-based corporate partner George White manages the relationship in the UK.

It is understood that another firm will join A&O representing ABN Amro. A source close to the talks said that it would likely be a US firm. Both White & Case and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy are panel firms for the bank but ABN Amro is likely to look beyond its panel. Both Clifford Chance and A&O hold positions on ABN Amro’s global panel.

The banks confirmed this morning that they were in exploratory discussions about a possible merger that would create the world’s fifth-largest bank. These talks are exclusive, meaning that is less likely that other European banks would enter the bidding.

ABN Amro’s share price jumped 10 per cent to €29.70 a share ahead of Barclay’s announcement to the London Stock Exchange this morning.

For A&O, it represents another validation of its Dutch corporate practice. Last week, the magic circle firm scored instruction by Schering-Plough on its £7.5bn purchase of the drugs division of Dutch chemicals group Akzo Nobel.

That deal followed A&O’s role on the £16bn purchase of Essent by utilities group Nuon, the biggest deal in the Netherlands to date. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Essent.