Herbert Smith, A&O in flow for £5bn Severn Trent takeover approach

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has taken the lead role for longstanding client Severn Trent on a potential bid from a Canadian, Kuwaiti and UK consortium reportedly valuing the target at £5bn.

Stephen Wilkinson

Canadian pension fund Borealis Infrastructure Management, the Kuwait Investment Office and Liverpool-based Universities Superannuation Scheme today (14 May) confirmed an approach to the FTSE 100 water group’s board with a view to making a possible cash offer for its entire share capital.

HSF City corporate partners Stephen Wilkinson and Robert Moore are acting for Severn Trent, with the consortium advised by Allen & Overy corporate partner Richard Evans.

The prospective bidders, advised by Deutsche Bank, are required by Takeover Code rules to announce a firm intention to make an offer or pull out by 5pm on 11 June.

Severn Trent said in a statement: This approach is at a very early stage, no proposal has been made and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made.”

Background to this deal:

Severn Trent is an established client of legacy Herbert Smith, with Wilkinson the primary relationship partner. He advised the group on its takeover of East Worcester Water in 1993, its £141m acquisition of RMC Group’s Hales Waste business in 2003 and the demerger from Biffa in 2006.

In 2006 Severn Trent rejigged its adviser roster and appointed Eversheds sole adviser but kept on Herbert Smith as its go-to firm for corporate and strategic matters (8 October 2007).