Freshfields boosts Permira links with billion-euro deal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has shored up its relationship with private equity house Permira on the purchase of pan-European TV and radio broadcaster SBS Broadcasting.

Freshfields, which handles the bulk of Permira’s German work, has had to face a challenge from Clifford Chance (CC) for German mandates in recent times. Earlier this year Permira instructed CC’s Frankfurt office on its ultimately unsuccessful bid for E.on subsidiary Ruhrgas Industries.

Freshfields’ Frankfurt office advised joint buyers Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) on the deal. The private equity houses will pay EUR1.69bn in cash for all of SBS’ assets and assume its debts of around EUR1.864bn. The transaction values SBS at EUR2.1bn.

Following the purchase SBS will be liquidated and the cash purchase price, together with proceeds from the exercise of share options, will be distributed to shareholders.

Freshfields fielded a large international team of lawyers led by private equity specialist Andreas von Werder and technology, media and telecoms partner Thomas Tschentscher. Additional partners working on the deal included Don Guiney (London), Bob Schlossberg (Washington) and Winfred Knibbeler (Amsterdam).

Freshfields advised Permira on US law and represented Permira and KKR on aspects of the deal in all other jurisdictions.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett provided US counsel for KKR. Sullivan & Cromwell represented the SBS shareholders.