The coup of the month was Herbert Smith bagging the £3.55bn debt mandate on PSA International’s bid for P&O. Partners Clive Barnard and Ewen Fergusson are advising Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS after Allen & Overy (A&O), Ashurst, Clifford Chance and Linklaters were conflicted out. A nice way to kick off the year for the City’s new kids on the block.

A brace of Nordic deals saved January from utter bleakness. A&O partner Tim Polglase advised The Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners on the billion-euro financing of the acquisition of Swedish cable group Com Hem. A&O worked with Stockholm firm Setterwalls on the bid. Senior lenders Nordea and SEBanken were advised by Ashurst partners Nigel Ward and Helen Burton, while White & Case partner Christopher Kandel snagged a role on the mezzanine.

Linklaters partner Adam Freeman advised Credit Suisse on Candover’s €445m (£306.1m) buyout of cable company UPC Norway, with Clifford Chance partner Richard Sharples acting for the private equity house on financing. Linklaters also acted for the lenders on PAI’s bid for Sydsvenska Kemi. Partners Fredrik Rydin, Jörgan Durban, Nick Syson and Phil Spittal advised Nordea, Handelsbanken, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on the SKr5.8bn (£431m) and $65m (£37.3m) senior debt with a SKr2.2bn (£163.5m) mezzanine facility. A&O partner Robin Harvey acted for PAI on the financing.

The Brenntag saga continued with the €1.9m (£1.3m) senior, second lien and mezzanine recap. Clifford Chance partner Malcolm Sweeting reprised his normal role for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.