J sainsbury / accenture

Conforming to the Robert Palache dictum that securitisation is less a specialism than a skill set, Clifford Chance partner Steve Curtis has advised Barclays Capital on one of the more innovative financings around – the replatforming of J Sainsbury’s IT business in tandem with Accenture. This is one of a growing number of whole business securitisations. It is also the third J Sainsbury securitisation in recent times; the other two were on the property side. It is believed to be the first time that an outsourcing has been securitised.

For this deal, special purpose vehicle Swan Infrastructure acquired the IT business from J Sainsbury and then contracted the business back. Store Finance, sister company to Swan, then raised the bonds and lent the money across to Swan. Also in play was a £240m loan facility arranged by Barclays, which meant that there were plenty of knotty intercreditor issues.

The deal rounds off an excellent first year as a partner for Curtis; he advised Citibank and the Royal Bank of Scotland on the bond-only financing of Glas Cymru’s £1.8bn offer for Welsh Water, and Barclays on the Blue Eagle CDO.