Ashurst scores lead role on William Hill refinancing

<a class=Ashurst scores lead role on William Hill refinancing” />Ashurst has secured a key instruction from William Hill over its plan to raise £1.2bn via a rights issue and debt facility with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Allen & Overy advising the banks.

Ashurst corporate partner Anthony Clare advised the gambling group, while Skadden capital markets partner James Healy acted for the underwriting banks on the £350m cash call.

Allen & Overy banking partner David Campbell represented the lending banks, which have agreed to provide new funding worth £838.5m.

Ashurst won a place on William Hill’s streamlined panel in June last year alongside Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons.

Ashurst had not been a panel member before this review, which saw general counsel Thomas Murphy invite around 10 firms to tender before settling on just three.

Ashurst corporate partners Anthony Clare and Jonathan Earle acted for the bookmaker and betting shop chain in October 2008 for the acquisition of assets from Playtech, the AIM-listed online gaming software provider.

In 2005 the firm was on the sell side of a deal that saw Stanley Leisure offload its UK betting division to William Hill.

Since the panel review, Pinsents has also been instructed, acting on the upgrade of William Hill’s online betting service. Technology partner Susan Biddle led a team of three associates.

The rights issue is being fully underwritten by Citigroup, RBS, Hoare Govett and Barclays.

William Hill released its annual financial results today, with operating profits falling by three per cent to £278.6m over the last year.

A number of companies have asked shareholders to provide extra capital since the start of the year. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has advised British Land and mining group Xstrata on their capital raisings, with Linklaters advising the underwriters on both deals.