Trio of top City firms advise on £1.5bn Gatwick sell-off

Freshfields partner Laurie McFadden advised airports operator and Ferrovial subsidiary BAA on the £1.5bn sale to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

GIP, a fund backed by GE and Credit Suisse that owns London City Airport, turned to previous adviser Slaughter and May, led by partner Mark Horton.

Herbert Smith real estate partner Julian Pollock gave property-related advice to BAA.

A&O infrastructure partner Conrad Andersen advised a lending consortium of 12 banks comprising BayernLB, Banco Espirito Santo (BES), Calyon, Credit Suisse, Grupo Santander, HSBC, JPMorgan, RBC, RBS, SMBC, Société Générale and WestLB.

The sale ends speculation over a potential buyer for the airport after six groups registered an initial interest (3 February 2009).

Alongside GIP, the other interested parties were Gatwick Future Partnership, Hochtief AirPort, Lysander Gatwick Investment Group, Manchester Airports Group and Borealis, and a final group made up of 3i’s infrastructure arm, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan.

The sale followed a Competition Commission ruling that said BAA should sell Gatwick and two other airports, a decision that BAA is currently challenging in the Competition Appeals Tribunal with advice from Herbert Smith.

Burges Salmon partner Nick Graves advised the Competition Commission in relation to the Gatwick sale.