US ally aids Olswang’s hedge fund deal

The alliance with Greenberg Traurig gifted Olswang a key role on the landmark $3.4bn (£1.7bn) reverse takeover of hedge fund and Chadbourne & Parke client GLG Partners.

Olswang’s US ally Greenberg was already an adviser to shell company Freedom, which, when it floated last year on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and raised $528m (£265m), was the largest flotation of a special-purpose acquisition company (Spac).

Olswang won instruction on the reverse takeover of GLG through an introduction from Greenberg’s New York head of corporate Alan Annex. Both firms worked on the deal for Freedom, with corporate partner Tony Leifer leading the Olswang team. Chadbourne’s New York-based corporate partner Alejandro San Miguel led for GLG, heading a ten-partner team.

Leifer told The Lawyer: “We were working mostly with US lawyers in a UK context and the blend of concepts was exciting.”

Spacs basically float with a view to acquiring a company at a later date. The vehicle later identifies what company to buy and then needs to garner shareholder approval for that purchase.

The deal sees Freedom pay $1bn (£500.2m) in cash to GLG shareholders. The reverse takeover of GLG now means that the hedge fund is listed on the NYSE. The partners of GLG own 70 per cent of the new company.

As such, Leifer said he expected Chadbourne to be the go-to adviser of the new company. “We may pick up pieces of work if Chadbourne continues to not have a substantial London presence,” he said, referring to recent merger talks between Chadbourne and Watson Farley & Williams that were revealed by The Lawyer.

London-based GLG is one of Europe’s largest hedge funds with more than $20bn (£10bn) under management. It was set up in 1995 as a business unit within Lehman Brothers, before becoming fully independent in 2000.

Separately, Shearman & Sterling advised private bank Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie on the acquisition of a 3 per cent stake in GLG.