Bonelli and White & Case scoop lead roles on €2.5bn Generali deal

Italian firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo and White & Case have taken the lead roles as Italy’s largest insurer Generali acquires a 49 per cent stake in joint venture partner PPF Group, a Czech and Dutch private equity group.

Bonelli corporate partner Giorgio Fantacchiotti led the firm’s work on the deal, advising on M&A issues, alongside fellow corporate specialists Sergio Erede, Gianfranco Veneziano who advised on regulatory issues, banking partner Giuseppe Sacchi Lodispoto, and competition partner Massimo Merola. The associates were Roberto De Nardis, Tecla Ubaldi, Omar Diaz, Federico Borgogno, Francesca Di Carpegna and Federica Munno.

The deal saw Bonelli client Generali pay €2.5bn (£2.04bn) for the remaining 49 per cent stake in joint venture Generali PPF Holdings (GPH) it does not currently own. The joint venture was set up in 2007 to create a major Eastern European insurance company.

Generali will also sell its consumer credit insurance business operating in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan to PPF Group for €80m (£65.3m).

White & Case represented PPF, with a team led by Prague-based corporate partner Damian Beaven. Partners Michal Smrek and Ivo Janda in Prague, London-based partner Charlie Lightfoot and Milan partner Ferigo Foscari, together with London associate Edward Attenborough, were also involved.

Fantacchiotti said: “The acquisition of full control by Generali of the GPH group will contribute enormously to the consolidation of Generali’s business across the central and eastern European region. At a time when uncertainty continues to impact deals activity within the eurozone, this encouraging development demonstrates the value that the entral and eastern Europe area represents to healthy corporates such as Generali.”

Bonelli worked alongside Dutch best friend De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, which fielded a team led by capital markets partner Joost Schutte together with fellow partners René Clumpkens and Reinout Vriesendorp.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom provided English and Russian law advice. London-based partners Lorenze Corte, Pranav Trivedi and Clive Wells advised on M&A, corporate finance and banking issues respectively while Moscow-based partner Dmitri Kovalenko was involved from the Russian angle.

Background to this deal:

Bonelli was instructed by Generali when the company’s banking arm floated in 2006 (27 October 2006) and is understood to have acted on several other deals for the insurer. Erede represented the company when it took over INA in 1999.

Skadden has also acted for Generali on a number of deals, including a $2.5bn notes offering four years ago.

Meanwhile, White & Case, alongside Czech firm Brzobohatý Brož & Honsa, represented PPF when it entered into the joint venture agreement with Generali in 2007.

It is understood that the PPF acquisition is the first time De Brauw has advised Generali.