Linklaters and Slaughters join US trio on £3.2bn Aegis takeover

Linklaters and Slaughter and May have won lead roles advising on Japanese advertising agency Dentsu’s £3.2bn acquisition of UK rival Aegis Group.

US trio Baker & McKenzie, Sullivan & Cromwell and White & Case also snatched jobs on the deal, in which Dentsu initially acquired a stake of 15 per cent in Aegis, later taking on a further 5 per cent from French businessman Vincent Bolloré, the UK advertiser’s largest shareholder.

Dentsu is also set to acquire an additional 10.5 per cent of the company and has received undertakings to this extent.

Linklaters led for Dentsu on the deal, which was announced this morning, fielding London corporate partner David Holdsworth to manage the mandate. Holdsworth spent time as a partner in Tokyo in 2010 and now oversees the magic circle firm’s outbound Japanese practice.

The Linklaters team also included corporate partner Shane Griffin and corporate associate Lorna Tennent, both of whom are based in London.

Hideo Norikoshi, a corporate partner at Bakers’ Japanese arm Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Koma Law Office, advised Dentsu on the Japanese aspects of the deal. Norikoshi joined the firm from Linklaters earlier this year (5 January 2012).

Slaughters acted for Aegis, a longstanding client, with corporate partner Roland Turnill leading.

Sullivan City partner and European M&A head Tim Emmerson and Paris corporate partner Dominique Bompoint advised Bolloré on the sale of his stake, while White & Case London corporate partner Gavin Weir guided Morgan Stanley, Dentsu’s financial adviser. It is thought that Aegis financial advisers Greenhill and JPMorgan Cazenove did not instruct outside lawyers.

The transaction, the latest in a string of recent advertising takeovers, sees the Japanese company acquire the UK-listed competitor in cash, creating Asia’s largest advertising agency and the second biggest in western Europe.

It follows the buyout of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty by rival Publicis Groupe earlier this month, on which Lewis Silkin and Osborne Clarke won advisory roles (6 July 2012).

In another Publicis deal this month, the company acquired Brazilian advertising agency Neogama/BBH, hiring Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for Brazilian law and Lewis Silkin for UK law.