Clifford Chance and Slaughters lead on New Look IPO

Slaughters is advising New Look and its majority shareholder, a holding company owned by private equity houses Permira Advisers, Apax Partners and New Look founder Tom Singh. Collectively they own around 80 per cent of the business with the remainder held by its employees.

Slaughters partners Martin Hattrell and Simon Nicholls are leading the team acting on the deal with partner Matthew Tobin giving advice on financing matters and partner Eddie Codrington advising on pensions issues.

Clifford Chance, which advised Apax and Permira on their 2004 acquisition of New Look, is acting for the bookrunners and sponsors on the deal and also has a separate role as counsel to Permira.

Partner Adrian Cartwright is advising joint sponsors and bookrunners Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Cazenove as well as sponsor Lazard and co-managers Barclays Lloyds TSB, RBS Hoare Govett and Singer Capital Markets.

Private equity partner Jonny Myers is acting for Permira. Apax and Singh are also receiving separate advice, from Ashurst corporate head Stephen Lloyd and Macfarlanes partner Robert Boyle respectively.

Davis Polk & Wardwell is advising New Look on the US aspects of the deal with London-based partner John Meade leading.

When New Look was taken private in 2004 Singh turned to Allen & Overy partner Alan Paul for advice, while the company’s management was advised by Simmons & Simmons partner Damon Le Maitre-George (23 February 2004).

While New Look’s owners had also been considering a secondary sale to another private equity firm, it is understood that the they have not been following a twin-track exit strategy.

The news comes at a time of increased activity for the private equity sector. Last week reported that Clifford Chance had missed out on a role on Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ (KKR) £955m buyout of retailer Pets at Home, with the US private equity house turning to regular adviser Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for all aspects of the deal (27 January 2010).

In other deals Weil Gotshal & Manges has advised Advent International on the £190m acquisition of pension and employment benefit group Xafinity from Duke Street Capital (1 February 2010), while Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Ogier and Travers Smith all won roles on a £440m investment by private equity house Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) in legal process outsourcer CPA Global (1 February 2010).