Camerons pips Ashurst to win T&F Informa’s acquisition of IIR

Ashurst to win T&F Informa’s acquisition of IIR” />CMS Cameron McKenna is celebrating securing the lead role on T&F Informa’s $1.4bn (£760m) acquisition of US conference organiser IIR, beating the publishing group’s other main adviser Ashurst to the role.

The acquisition marks the first major M&A deal for T&F Informa since last year’s merger of publishing house Taylor & Francis with academic book and journal publisher Informa. That deal, concluded in May 2004, saw Ashurst advise Taylor & Francis and Camerons act for Informa.

The latest acquisition sees T&F Informa acquire IIR from founder and 93 per cent shareholder Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay for $1.4bn. The deal is to be funded by a £311m rights issue by T&F Informa, underwritten by broker Hoare Govett, with the balance funded through debt provided by ABN Amro.

Camerons partner John Burton, the firm’s T&F Informa relationship partner, led on the deal, while corporate partner Sean Watson sits on T&F Informa’s board of directors.

T&F Informa drafted in Ashurst to advise on the debt facility and to act for Hoare Govett as underwriter on the rights issue, suggesting that the group is seeking to maintain a competitive tension between its two main advisers.

Ashurst corporate partner and T&F Informa relationship partner Jeffrey Sultoon advised Hoare Govett on the underwriting agreement, while finance partner Mark Vickers advised the publishing group on the debt facility.

Allen & Overy, led by partner Francis Bridgeman, advised ABN Amro as debt provider.

It is understood that T&F Informa has no in-house legal capability, with the group’s finance director Tony Foye and company secretary Jeff Thomasson largely responsible for outsourcing legal work. Both hail from the Taylor & Francis side of the business. IIR, however, is understood to have a general counsel based in Amsterdam.

Lord Laidlaw instructed Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison on the disposal. The Scottish Tory peer could gain up to $1.3bn (£710m) from the deal.