MOP and Weil advise on biggest Irish deal ever

Dublin’s Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP) is celebrating winning a role on what is thought to be the biggest-ever cross-border acquisition by an Irish company.

The $5bn purchase of US textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin and the related acquisition of Irish interactive educational software publisher Riverdeep by HM Rivergroup closed last week.

The Irish firm won Riverdeep as a client from local rival William Fry in 2003 when it advised on its take private. The latest deal is a seen as a precursor to a period of aggressive growth by HM Rivergroup, potentially generating significantly more instructions for MOP.

MOP partner Ed Miller led the team acting as local counsel to Weil Gotshal & Manges, which handled the deal from its London and New York offices. Weil partners Jeremy Dickens and Ian Hamilton led the transaction in London.

The latest deal saw two concurrent transactions in which MOP’s client Riverdeep merged with Houghton Mifflin and was effectively reversed into the newly-formed Irish public limited company HM Rivergroup.

The latter company acquired Houghton Mifflin from private equity houses Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Blackstone for around $3.4bn and Riverdeep for approximately $1.2bn, including the assumption of net debt.
Ropes & Gray advised the sellers with Dublin firm Mason Hayes & Curran.