Arnheims scoops role in international buyout

Price Waterhouse-tied Arnheim & Co has won a role for itself in one of Europe's largest ever buyouts: the £620m sale of engineering conglomerate BTR's polymer products group.

Ashurst Morris Crisp did the lion's share of the work on the deal – advising buyout vehicle Unipoly and the equity backer, Legal and General Ventures, on due diligence on the 32 businesses that were being hived off in 16 separate countries.

However, Arnheim & Co's involvement is a coup for the two-year-old firm, which employs 35 lawyers.

Arnheims' management buyout expert Leon Flavell, who was recruited from Pinsent Curtis last year, led a team of two other partners and three assistants in advising the management team.

He said he was involved in more than just the usual negotiations with the backers for management's equity cut.

“We also advised the management team on the acquisition part of the deal. In addition, we acted for the new company on its borrowing of £50m mezzanine finance from Legal and General.”

Flavell said he had won the deal through Price Waterhouse corporate partner Robert Conway, who was lead financial adviser on the buyout.

He said that “luckily” Unipoly's new chief executive, Laurence Cant, also knew him from an earlier deal.

Ashursts put a team comprising 12 partners, and a total of 75 lawyers, on the deal.

Buyout partner Charlie Geffen said the deal was an example of the growing trend for buyout houses to concentrate on fewer, larger international deals.

One Ashurst partner, Nigel Ward, also advised Mithras Investment Trust on providing mezzanine finance to Unipoly.

Clifford Chance advised Fuji Bank on providing £395m senior debt finance to the buyout team, while Slaughter and May advised BTR.