Skadden beats Davis Polk to Ashtead deal

Skadden beats Davis Polk to Ashtead deal” />Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has nudged aside Davis Polk & Wardwell to land a new client, UK-listed equipment hire company Ashtead.

The firm triumphed over Davis Polk in an August competitive tender to advise on Ashtead’s $675m (£374.4m) debt facility.

London finance partner Mark Darley led on the deal for Skadden, while Chicago partner Seth Jacobson led from the US.

It is understood that Ashtead’s regular legal adviser Slaughter and May did not pitch for the job, although Slaughters assisted Ashtead on some UK aspects of the deal.

Skadden’s appointment comes despite the fact that in April Ashtead instructed Davis Polk on a £120m high-yield bond offering.

The latest deal, involving the new $675m debt facility, sees Bank of America and Deutsche Bank as lead arrangers on a facility based on Ashtead’s inventory, receivables and assets. Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker advised the banks on the deal.

The arrangement has the advantage of offering greater flexibility for companies through less onerous covenant agreements, although they impose on banks the need to undertake a higher degree of due diligence.

Facilities of this nature, which have grown up in the US, were previously stigmatised as the funding of last resort for troubled companies, but are now being used increasingly in both the US and the UK as primary sources of funding.

Both Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are understood to be targeting the UK market in the area.