Travers leads Macquarie through Compass buy

Travers Smith has advised Macquarie Bank on a successful £1.82bn consortium bid for the travel concessions business of the world’s largest contract catering group Compass.

Macquarie and Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners, represented by Linklaters, led two consortia on the purchase of Select Service Partner (SSP).

Travers corporate partner Richard Spedding and corporate finance partner Spencer Summerfield led the team advising Macquarie. Partners Julian Bass Tom Purton, Alasdair Steele and Jeremy Walsh also advised.

Linklaters corporate M&A partner Carlton Evans and Sweden-based private equity head Krister Hansen represented EQT.

The transaction was structured as a combined sale of the UK motorway service business to a consortium led by Macquarie and the remainder of the SSP business to companies controlled by EQT on a debt and cash-free basis.

Compass was represented by longstanding adviser Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, led by corporate partners Farah Ispahani and Frank Miller.

The sale price, which was equivalent to 16 times the division’s operating profit in 2005, exceeded top-end expectations.

Compass said £750m of the proceeds will go towards reducing the company’s debt, which at the end of last year stood at £2.3bn. Around £500m will be set aside for a share buyback in the next 18 months and £275m will go towards reducing the company’s UK pension fund deficit.