Deals comment

One of the longest-running PFI sagas finally reached its zenith last month with the financial close of the controversial £1bn St Bartholomew’s and the Royal London PFI redevelopment. Allen & Overy, led by projects partners John Scriven and David Lee (pictured), had been advising the Barts and London NHS Trusts throughout the six years of the project. Clifford Chance, led by real estate partner Rebecca Ford, advised the Skansa Innisfree consortium, made up of Skanska, Innisfree and Equion (part of John Laing). It is the largest transaction entered into by the consortium. Ashurst had the funders role in the bond financing, which includes an unprecedented £275m of variation bonds to assist future financial flexibility. The project had been subject to a series of delays and political wranglings after the Health Secretary called it in, and the close comes amid political outrage at revelations of private sector exploitation of similar hospital PFI deals.

The list of UK-Spanish link-ups is growing by the week and Herbert Smith seems to be leading the charge. The latest deal for the City firm is its role advising UK directories company Yell on its E3.3bn (£2.27bn) acquisition of Spanish rival Telefónica Publicidad e Información (TPI). Corporate partner Ben Ward led the team, with Spanish firm Cuatrecasas advising Yell on local law issues. Meanwhile, Clifford Chance Madrid partner Carlos Hernandez-Canut advised the financing banks. Indeed, Herbert Smith is racking up the Anglo-Spanish mandates. The firm has won a role defending BAA from the proposed takeover bid by Ferrovial and has found itself a job on the £165m acquisition of Bristol Waters by Spain’s Agbar.