Simmons scoops instruction from Clifford Chance regular Permira

The Italian office of Simmons & Simmons has scored a massive coup by winning a first-time instruction from private equity house Permira.

Simmons’ recently-appointed European private equity head Marco Franzini advised Permira and established client Private Equity Partners on their investment in Marazzi Gruppo Cera-miche, the world’s largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles.

Clifford Chance has been Permira’s adviser of choice across Europe for more than a decade, but it does not handle the organisation’s Italian corporate work, which normally goes to a niche player such as Giliberti. In the UK, Slaughter and May tends to pick up Permira’s work if Clifford Chance is conflicted.

Clifford Chance is often involved in Permira’s Italian deals through Milan-based partner Charles Adams advising Permira or its banks on debt financing. In this case, Clifford Chance’s only involvement was through associate Michail Papadakis, who worked with Simmons on European antitrust issues.

Simmons’ role in this deal came via Private Equity Partners, the management company of JPMorgan Italian Fund III. Simmons worked on the launch of the fund and has advised it on all its investments since.

The two private equity houses are taking a 33 per cent stake in Marazzi, with Permira acquiring 28 per cent and Private Equity Partners 5 per cent.