CC and Freshfields land roles on £1.3bn AZ Electronic IPO

Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have bagged roles on what could become one of the biggest private equity- backed initial public offerings (IPO) of 2010.

The magic circle firms are acting on AZ Electronic Materials Group’s (AZ) planned flotation on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which would value AZ at around $2bn (£1.3bn) and involve the sale of $400m of new shares.

Clifford Chance is advising AZ and its private equity owners Carlyle Group and Vestar Capital Partners. The firm has historically had strong links with Carlyle Group, with whom global head of private equity David Walker acts as the main relationship partner.

Chemicals company AZ is a leading global producer and supplier of chemical materials used in electronics devices such as Apple’s iPad.

The Clifford Chance team is being led by London capital markets partners Adrian Cartwright and Iain Hunter. London-based ­capital markets partner Chris Walton and Luxembourg managing partner Christian Kremer are ­providing US and Luxembourg advice. The team also includes finance partners James Butters, John ­Dawson and David Walker.

Eversheds private equity head Mark Spinner is advising the AZ management team. UBS Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are acting as joint sponsors, global coordinators and book-­runners. They are being advised by a Freshfields team led by corporate partners Jennifer Bethlehem and Simon Witty.

AZ will first list its securities through a Luxembourg holding company and then apply for admission to the premium listing segment of the LSE in November. If successful, the IPO is expected to be among the top five in Europe this year.

Cartwright claimed the City had generally responded positively to news of the IPO, unlike the lukewarm response seen with recent IPOs such as that of online supermarket Ocado.

Hunter said: “By bringing together our equity capital markets practices in London and Luxembourg, with our private equity and finance capabilities, we have again shown our ability to guide clients through complex transactions.”