CC scoops three private equity floats in a week

Clifford Chance acted on a trio of private equity exits last week, bringing all three public via flotation on the London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) main market.

The first of the IPOs was longstanding Clifford Chance client Xchanging, an international provider of pure play business process outsourcing. Formed by private equity firm General Atlantic in 1999, Xchanging remained a General Atlantic investment until flotation, a reasonably long time in private equity terms.

Jonathan Beastall, leader of the magic circle firm’s UK IPO group, led on the deal, which saw Xchanging valued at £493m, backed by a number of partners and associates from the firm’s corporate and capital markets practices.

General Atlantic was advised by Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Macfarlanes.

The second IPO, which was led by Clifford Chance European equity capital markets group head Adrian Cartwright, was that of Wellstream Holdings, an investee company of private equity house Candover, which was also advised by Clifford Chance.

The company, which produces offshore flexible pipeline systems for the oil and gas industry, began conditional dealings on the LSE last week with a market capitalisation of £318m.

The final deal saw Clifford Chance advise private equity client Blackstone Group on the £272m listing of cinema operator Cineworld, with partner Iain Hunter leading on the deal. The firm also acted for Cineworld.

Last year Clifford Chance advised Blackstone, which normally receives counsel from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, on its first exit in Europe, the flotation of care home provider Southern Cross.

Beastall said exits via IPOs were becoming a significant part of private equity work, with Clifford Chance advising on five main market flotations since December.