Clifford Chance and A&O win lead roles on Merck’s £1.6bn acquisition of AZ

Allen & Overy (A&O), Ashurst and Clifford Chance have advised on German drugs and chemicals group Merck’s £1.6bn acquisition of AZ Electronic Materials.

The transaction for the chemicals company – manufacturer of the chemicals used in electronic devices including smartphones, flatscreen TVs and iPads – is among the largest bids of 2013.

AZ is incorporated in Luxembourg but listed in London, which makes it a shared jurisdiction under the Takeover Panel’s Code. The last deal of this kind was financial services provider SS+C’s £575m bid for fund administrator GlobeOp Financial Services in March 2012, in which Clifford Chance advised SS&C and Ashurst GlobeOp.

A&O advised Merck on the deal, led by corporate partners Richard Browne and Michael Ulmer, assisted by senior associate Anabelle Crocker. 

Clifford Chance represented AZ, led by corporate partner Tim Lewis with senior associate Katherine Moir.

Ashurst also picked up a role on the deal, advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch as financial adviser to Merck. Corporate partner Tom Mercer led on the deal, with help from finance consultant Stephen Edlmann, finance senior associate Christopher Hardingham, and corporate associate Tom Bartram.

Background to this deal:

Clifford Chance previously advised AZ on its flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 2010 led by capital markets partners Adrian Cartwright and Iain Hunter (11 October 2010).

Allen & Overy has advised Merck on a number of deals in recent years, including the acquisition of the insolvent Konarka Group’s IP portfolio in December 2012 and its purchase of Microbiol from Biotest in March 2011. Frankfurt-based Michael Ulmer also led on both of those transactions.