Allen & Overy conflicts blow gifts CC MBO

A mysterious conflict has forced Allen & Overy (A&O) out of the role of corporate adviser to the Netherlands’ Aegon, giving Clifford Chance an in on the e133m (£91.7m) management buyout (MBO) of Unirobe.

Aegon is taking a 45 per cent stake in Dutch-based chain of insurance sellers Unirobe, which is being sold off by AXA Nederland, the Dutch arm of French insurer AXA. Unirobe’s management, led by chief executive officer Joob van Beraum, is acquiring a 55 per cent share in the company.

Clifford Chance corporate partner Thij Alexander, who is leading a team on the transaction, confirmed this is the first large corporate deal on which the firm has acted for Aegon.

A&O, Aegon’s principal corporate adviser, has retained a role on the provision of competition advice. However, A&O partner Paul Glazener declined to elaborate on why the firm could act for Aegon on competition but not corporate matters.

For Simmons & Simmons, the deal signifies the first time the practice has advised Unirobe, specifically its management.

Unirobe’s financial adviser, Solveigh Corporate Development, referred the deal to Simmons’ Amsterdam-based corporate partner Jean Pierre van Leeuwe.

It is also understood that van Leeuwe in the past has worked with Ernst Jan Kruis, one of Solveigh Corporate Development’s lead partners.

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek represented AXA Nederland, which received financial advice from Goldman Sachs in London and BNP Paribas in Paris.

Unirobe has 35 outlets, 900 employees and an annual income of around e70m (£48.3m).