Freshfields, Herbies on Wolseley’s £1bn rights issue

Freshfields, Herbies on Wolseley's £1bn rights issueFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Herbert Smith have been called in to advise on building supplies company Wolseley’s upcoming £1bn rights issue.

In the latest of a glut of cash calls by listed companies, Freshfields head of corporate Mark Rawlinson is understood to be advising Wolseley while Herbert Smith is understood to have been instructed by the underwriting banks.

Wolseley, which has debts of around £3bn, is expected to make an announcement by the end of the week on whether it will go ahead with the right issue.

The company has lost around 90 per cent of its value since June 2007 on the back of declining profits in the US market.

In December 2008, Wolseley general counsel Richard Shoylekov revamped the company’s UK panel, selecting Eversheds and Addleshaw Goddard to do the bulk of the external legal work (1 December).

Freshfields remained on the global panel as main corporate adviser. The firm advised Wolseley during its period of expansion before the credit crunch, including on the 2006 purchase of DT Group for £1.35bn (16 October 2006).

In the last two weeks, HSBC and gambling group William Hill have both announced multi-billion pound rights issues. (2 March and 27 February).

Norton Rose won the instruction from HSBC, with Linklaters acting for the underwriting banks, and Ashurst got the call from William Hill, with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom for the banks.