Just when the merger of bookstore chains Waterstone’s and Ottakar’s looked set to go ahead, Tim Waterstone put a spanner in the works with an offer to buy Waterstone’s from HMV. The £280m offer from the business’s founder has been rejected by shareholders, but it was a scare that Simmons & Simmons could have done without. The firm, which represented HMV, recently won merger clearance from the Competition Commission. Macfarlanes, which also played a crucial role in getting competition clearance, acted for Ottakar’s. HMV made a £96.4m takeover bid for Ottakar’s in September 2005, but the offer lapsed after it was referred to competition watchdogs. Competition partners Charles Banks (pictured) of Simmons and Marc Israel of Macfarlanes had to fight to get the regulator to hear its competition law arguments. After finally winning clearance, both Simmons and Macfarlanes must be keen to see the merger to through without any further interference.
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) saga continues with the US’s Cahill Gordon & Reindel the latest firm to be brought into one of the most drawn-out takeover bids of recent times. Nasdaq recently acquired a $782m (£437.4m) stake in the LSE through a wholly owned UK subsidiary called Nightingale Acquisition. The purchase was funded by a new $1.92bn (£1.07bn) credit facility from the Bank of America. Cahill landed an instruction from the investment bank to advise on the facility. The New York-based team was led by partners James Clark and Luis Penalver. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, which acted for Nasdaq on last month’s rejected £4.2bn bid for the LSE, advised it on the new credit facility. New York banking partner Robert Copen acted on the transaction. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Graham Nicholson is leading the defence team for the LSE.