Apax and Alpha’s shopping spree

Big media groups have been keeping their lawyers busy over the last couple of years – not just in the courts, but buying and selling bits and bobs of their enterprises.

The Guardian Media Group (GMG) is the latest to get stuck into some deal-making of its own.

Last week, private equity giant Apax gobbled up the remaining 50.1 per cent of shares in GMG’s Trader Media Group. The move completed Apax’s takeover of the publishing house, which owns used car network Auto Trader.

There must’ve been some familiar faces around the negotiation table, with the majority of players involved taking a role on the sale of the other 49.9 per cent of shares to Apax back in 2007.

Freshfields was once again instructed by GMG. Meanwhile, former Allen & Overy partner Derek Baird took the same lead from for Apax this time round, albeit at Simpson Thacher rather than his former firm Allen & Overy. A&O wasn’t left out in the cold though – the firm was also gifted its fair share of work on the financing side for the private equity house.

Perhaps trickier to manoeuvre was ATP’s $133m sale to Alpha Petroleum. Mayer Brown and Herbert Smith Freehills were among those taking a lead role on the deal, which saw creditors paid back only a tenth of the amount they initially put in to the debt-laden company.

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