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Skadden Arps has bagged the legal advice on a relatively rare E1bn (£686.7m) rights issue. The firm is acting for Banco Comercial Português (BCP), Portugal's largest listed bank, on a European a secondary share offering.
Skadden has an ongoing relationship with BCP, but was not an automatic choice for the work. The bank used Linklaters on its original London listing and has most recently used Dorsey & Whitney for its US work. However, Skadden has previously advised the bank on significant M&A deals, including its acquisition of Portugese rival Sotto Mayor.
The US firm handled the London, New York and Frankfurt issues itself, enlisting the help of Portugese counsel Joao Soares da Silva & Associados and Miguel Galvao Teles for Lisbon. The deal was led by Skadden London partner James Healy.
In Amsterdam, Skadden referred the work to former Linklaters & Alliance member De Brauw. Last month, De Brauw set up a taskforce to establish referral relationships with top US firms following its split with Linklaters - Skadden was one of the key firms targeted.
The BCP issue is part of a wave of heavily discounted offerings from companies forced to go to the markets in response to financial and capital adequacy problems.
In the UK, the trend has been most prevalent in the insurance market, with a recent offering from Legal & General. BCP has invested heavily in expansion since 2000 and has struggled to maintain capital adequacy levels since the downturn.
Healy said: "There have been recent regulatory changes in Portgual which impacted on capital ratios. The bank thought this was a good opportunity to strengthen the balance sheet."
He added: "In the current climate it took extraordinary commitment from the underwriters to underwrite the deal for a 40-day period."
The subscription period does not begin until this week, so it remains unclear how well the share issue will be received.