GTM, Herbies, Sullivan on board with £700m cash shell gambit

Greenberg Traurig Maher (GTM), Herbert Smith and Sullivan & Cromwell are understood to have won mandates on the flotation of a £700m cash shell by billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen.

Nicolas Berggruen
Nicolas Berggruen

The investment vehicle, known as Justice, will be used for the acquisition of a single company with a value of anything up to $10bn (£6.22bn), according to sources close to the deal. It is expected that the book will close to investors later this week.

Berggruen is understood to be launching the venture with business partner and Jarden Corporation CEO Martin Franklin, and ­Pershing Square Capital Management founder Bill Ackman.

GTM is thought to be ­acting for Justice as well as Franklin and longstanding client Berggruen, with ­Ackman turning to Sullivan.

The transatlantic GTM team is believed to be led by capital markets partners Tim Jeveons and Andrew Caunt, while London ­corporate partner Tim Emmerson is understood to be leading for Sullivan.

Herbert Smith is thought to be advising joint underwriters Citigroup and ­Barclays Capital. The team includes corporate finance partners Martina Asmar and Chris Haynes.

The flotation, which will be in the form of a traditional IPO, comes after Nat Rothschild launched a ­similar vehicle last summer. The Vallar cash shell raised £707m in July 2010 before acquiring stakes in two Indonesian mining companies. US firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher acted for Vallar on the flotation, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advising on the bank side.

Sources close to the Berggruen deal said that Justice will ultimately ­target “anything that’s undervalued”, with no specific sector or jurisdiction in the cross hairs.

A source said: “If you look at the markets today no one’s going to be doing an IPO, but if you can raise the money it’s a good time to be doing something like this.”

Among those connected with the proposed investment vehicle are former Labour City minister and ­ex-fund manager Lord Myners and economist Nouriel Roubini.