Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are celebrating after scooping the lead roles on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) flotation of satellite operator Inmarsat.

Clifford Chance partner Matthew Layton won the instruction after he advised private equity houses Apax and Permira on their $1.5bn acquisition of Inmarsat in 2003. Freshfields advised the company on that transaction.

Inmarsat manages nine satellites in orbit and provides telecommunications services largely to the maritime industry.

Freshfields corporate partner Simon Witty is leading the team advising sponsors JP Morgan Cazenove, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

The magic circle firm is currently advising the EADS-led consortium iNavSat on its bid for the to secure preferred bidder status in the EU’s Euro3.3bn Galileo satellite project. That consortium includes Inmarsat.

The float promises to be the largest IPO in the UK for more than a year. According to reports, the group plans to raise about $690m although formal pricing announcements are not due to be made until mid-June. The float is set to take place at the end of June.