GALA GROUP

The second deal of its kind for this group of bridge lenders and Gala Group Holdings. The advisers mirror those working on Gala’s acquisition by Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity last spring, where a bridge loan was used for the £100m purchase followed by a high-yield debt issue, which closed in May. Gala says that the bridge loan will be refinanced through the capital markets, but the bridge lenders – Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – have again opted for Cravath Swaine & Moore’s London office. The deal is led by partner Philip Boeckman with senior associate Seda Yalcinkaya. For Gala, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Lovells have been brought in, as they were last year. Clifford Chance is the newcomer, acting for senior bank lenders JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and RBS. Slaughter and May, senior bank advisers in March, were conflicted out due to advising Hilton Group on the deal. To date, Clifford Chance’s relationship with the JP Morgan leveraged finance group has been patchy, but partner Mark Stewart wooed them. Gala, the UK’s leading bingo company, was formed after a management buy-in from Bass in 1997. The original syndicate of equity investors sold to Credit Suisse last year.