Latham opposite Slaughters in first Carlyle role since key CC hire

Latham & Watkins and Slaughter and May have taken the lead roles on Carlyle Group’s acquisition of global packaging supplier Chesapeake, marking Latham’s first deal for the trophy private equity client since hiring relationship partner David Walker from Clifford Chance earlier this year.

Walker led for the the US buyout group alongside finance partners Dominic Newcomb in London and Jeffrey Chenard in Washington DC, as well as London corporate associates Benedict Nwaeke and Andrew Clark.

David Walker
David Walker

He joined the US firm’s City outpost on 1 May from Clifford Chance’s corporate group, where he was global head of private equity and managed the Carlyle account for UK deals.

The transaction, the value of which is undisclosed, sees Carlyle acquire the Nottingham-headquartered paper-based packaging business from mid-market private equity house Irving Place Capital and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Irving and Oaktree were advised by a Slaughters team led by corporate partners Jeff Twentyman and Michael Corbett alongside associates Jonathan Cohen, Chris Bulger and Bernhard Georgii.

Other firms with roles on the deal included US outfit Weil Gotshal & Manges, where City banking partner Stephen Lucas and associate Chris Barron acted for Carlyle’s lenders, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, UBS and Barclays.

Taylor Wessing corporate partner Nicholas Hazell, tax partner Robert Young and corporate associate Caitlin Dupuy advised Chesapeake’s management, while Dutch firm Nauta Dutilh and Ireland’s A&L Goodbody were among the international counsel instructed to handle some of Carlyle’s due diligence.

Background to this deal:

Chesapeake has been under Irving and Oaktree’s ownership since 2009, when the pair bought it out of chapter 11 bankruptcy with legal advice from Kirkland & Ellis London corporate partner Christopher Field, Los Angeles corporate partner John Weissenbach and New York corporate partner Michael Edsall.

Despite Kirkland’s role on the original purchase, Slaughters also has established ties to Oaktree and advised it on its disposal of a 5.9 per cent stake in FTSE 250 property agent Savills earlier this year, with Twentyman leading. Additionally, the City firm has an existing relationship with Chesapeake, managed by corporate partner Andy Ryde.

Latham already carried out UK deal work for Carlyle through City corporate partner Michael Bond before hiring Walker and has long been its main transactional adviser in the US. However, Walker was the primary London contact for Carlyle and was expected to significantly strengthen Latham’s relationship with the client and bring over its UK deals pipeline to the US firm when leaving Clifford Chance (8 April 2013). Clifford Chance is still in a strong position to hold on to Carlyle’s African deals, which are handled by City partner Kem Ihenacho.

For more on Carlyle’s adviser relationships, see CC in front seat at Carlyle, and see City analysis for more on Walker’s move