Travers Smith has set its sights on traditional Slaughter and May client Ashtead Group, the FTSE250 tool rental company, after advising it on the £95.6m auctioning off of its offshore oil and gas equipment business.
Travers corporate partner Philip Cheveley won the firm’s first instruction from Ashtead general counsel Eric Watkins.
Private equity house Phoenix Equity Partners, which backed the management buyout of the offshoot company, was advised by Macfarlanes partner Stephen Drewitt. The management was represented by Dundas & Wilson, which also represented a group of lending banks including Barclays and HSBC.
Cheveley said: “For us it is quite a significant instruction because it’s the first deal we’ve acted for Ashtead Group on.”
He said the presence of several banks as lenders was a symptom of current market troubles, adding: “Execution is a lot more difficult because there are a lot more moving parts to bring together.”
Scotland-based Ashtead, which has a global turnover of £896m, has previously turned to Slaughter and May and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in the US. In July 2006 Slaughters partner Andy Ryde acted on a rights issue to raise funds for the company’s 1bn Dollars(£548m) acquisition of US plant hire company Nations-Rent. Skadden’s first instruction came in 2004 when it advised Ashtead on a 675m Dollars (£374m) debt facility.