Shearman secures triple multibillion-dollar deal boost

Shearman & Sterling and Canadian firm Torys have advised on their second major transaction in a week for financial data provider Thomson Corp.

Both firms are advising Thomson on the agreed sale of its education business for $7.75bn (£3.91bn) to a consortium.

New York-based corporate partner George Casey is leading the team for Shearman, while corporate partner Michael Siltala leads for Torys in Toronto.

The deal comes days after it was announced that Thomson had agreed to take over Reuters for £8.8bn to make the world’s largest financial data and news company.

Shearman and Torys are both advising Thomson on that deal, with Shearman working on the complex antitrust issues and Torys advising on Canadian law aspects. Allen & Overy has also been instructed by Thomson on English law issues (www.thelawyer.com, 8 May).

The disposal of the education business Thomson Learning will fund the takeover of Reuters.

The consortium buying Thomson Learning comprises private equity house Apax and Ontario-based pension fund OMERS Capital, advised by elite Canadian firms Stikeman Elliott and Goodman & Carr. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided US law advice.

Elite US firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel advised on the acquisition finance, provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan, Citigroup and UBS.

Toronto-headquartered Torys has long been Thomson’s preferred legal adviser. Name partner John Tory is a Thomson board member and Geoff Beattie, the former Torys partner who now runs the Thomson family’s investment company, will become deputy chairman of the combined Thomson-Reuters entity if the deal is successful.

Meanwhile, Shearman also had a key role on the £3.8bn unwinding of DaimlerChrysler, announced on Monday (14 May). The Düsseldorf and New York offices, led by veteran German corporate partner Georg Thoma, advised the auto giant on the sale the US-based Chrysler operations to private equity house Cerberus, which was advised by longstanding adviser New York firm Schulte Roth & Zabel. Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy advised on the financing.

Thoma acted on the original $35bn tie-up between Daimler and Chrysler in 1998 and has been a favourite with the company ever since. New York rival Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom also nabbed a role advising DaimlerChrysler on the disposal, which sees Daimler retain a 19.9 per cent stake in Chrysler.