Eversheds and Wragges wrap up takeover of Mentmore

Eversheds and Wragge & Co have concluded the long-running takeover saga involving self-storage group Mentmore, which was finally sold last week to the Bridgepoint Capital-owned Safestore.

Long-time Eversheds client Mentmore, which was purchased for £209m, had been up for grabs since late last year after a national newspaper reported that private equity house Terra Firma had made an approach. Mentmore was forced to make a statement to the Takeover Panel on 22 December.

Although Terra Firma dropped out, it is understood that Mentmore was the subject of a three-way bidding process, with Safestore, a storage group that Bridgepoint purchased last year, emerging as the eventual victor.

Safestore carried out the deal from Birmingham and turned to its usual advisers in the region Wragge & Co, led by corporate partner Andrew Smith and head of the department Jeremy Millington. DLA acted for the financiers behind the offer.

The acquirer completed the transaction using a scheme of arrangement, a mechanism fast becoming a regular feature of UK takeovers, according to Martin Letza, the corporate partner at Eversheds who led on the deal.

There are a number of advantages to using a scheme of arrangement, which means that a purchaser needs to gain 75 per cent shareholder approval for a deal that is then sanctioned by the courts. Bidders pay little or no stamp duty and there is in many cases less reliance on securing bank finance, so undertaking a deal is cheaper and quicker.

This year a number of takeovers have been completed using a scheme of arrangement. Wm Morrison Supermarkets used the mechanism to purchase Safeway, and the structure was implemented for the buyout of fashion group New Look.

However, Morgan Stanley changed the structure of its Canary Wharf offer from a scheme to a conventional takeover bid, requiring 50 per cent shareholder approval, thereby snatching the property business from rival bidder Brascan.