A&O secures Macquarie’s Thames Water win

Allen & Overy client Macquarie has been successful in its bid for Thames Water in a deal that is valued at around £8bn, making it one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure deals to date.

Corporate partners Alan Paul, Jeremy Hunt, Christopher Thornes and Keith McGuire led the team at the magic circle firm for the acquisitive Australian bank.

Allen & Overy has acted for Macquarie in the past on infrastructure purchases in Europe, including its acquisition of 70 per cent of Brussels airport and its £1.27bn acquisition of NTL’s business of antenna towers earlier this year.

However, Macquarie also has relationships with a raft of other firms. In the last year it has instructed Clifford Chance, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Berwin Leighton Paisner for various European infrastructure transactions.

The auction of Thames Water by German utilities group RWE had the City’s top lawyers marshalling into action. Last week’s favourite to win the auction had been the Qatari Investment Authority with UBS, advised by Herbert Smith.

Clifford Chance picked up instruction from Australian utilities company Alinta, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised private equity fund Terra Firma on a rival bid.

Slaughter and May was advised RWE, a longstanding client of the firm’s German best friend Hengeler Mueller. Meanwhile, Berwin Leighton Paisner advised the Thames Water’s board.