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Linklaters also advised Russian steelmaker Evraz, which is part-owned by Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and was valued at around £4.7bn after redomiciling in London. On Evraz, the banks turned to US firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom for advice.
May also saw former Liverpool FC chairman Sir Martin Broughton and betting chain Betfred put in rival tenders to bring bookmaker the Horserace Totalisator Board (the ’Tote’) into private hands.
Broughton’s Sports Investment Partners valued the state-owned target at £230m, while Betfred claimed its bid was worth £45m more.
Couchmans advised Broughton, while Linklaters was instructed by the Government to advise on the planned privatisation. Ashurst acted for Broughton’s private equity backer Oakley Capital, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer represented Betfred.
Slaughter and May advised the Tote, while Norton Rose advised Broughton on a planned quick-fire AIM flotation. Betfred was the eventual victor, but the deal continued into September when the OFT mooted referring it to the Competition Commission. Freshfields was brought in to advise Betfred on competition aspects.
The plight of Southern Cross Healthcare hit the headlines in June, with Clifford Chance, Eversheds, Freshfields and Hogan Lovells all winning roles to help the carehome provider secure a rescue package that would prevent it going into administration.
Freshfields acted for Capita Asset Services, the special servicer to the £1.2bn of debt owed by Southern Cross’s largest landlord NHP. Clifford Chance acted for Southern Cross. The firm advised Southern Cross’s former private equity owner Blackstone Group on its London Stock Exchange debut on 7 July 2006.
NHP turned to Eversheds, while Hogan Lovells restructuring partner Stephen Foster acted for Southern Cross’s lenders, which included Barclays and Lloyds TSB.
October brought an audacious £5.2bn bid from G4S for cleaning and security group ISS. Although the deal was ultimately aborted, Herbert Smith, Norton Rose, Slaughters and Danish firm Bruun & Hjejle all won roles in the initial stages.
Slaughters advised with ISS, while Herbert Smith was lead adviser to UK security company G4S.