Ashursts’ Paris practice closes giant Euro buyout

The Paris office of Ashurst Morris Crisp has completed one of Europe’s largest ever buyouts for longstanding clients CDC Equity Capital and Charterhouse General Partners.`The pair of private equity houses have bought the contracting sector of Alstom Holdings for euro770m (£466.4m) plus more than euro600m (£363.4m) of extracted cash.`Alstom’s contracting sector employs 25,000 people in more than 20 countries and has a turnover in excess of euro2.5bn ($1.5bn). The buyout is thought to be the largest in France this year, though it is similar in size to Candover’s recent buyout of Picard Surgelés.`Ashursts M&A partner Thomas Forschbach led the deal along with banking partner Laurent Mabilat, and the pair had a team of 10 assistants working with them.`BNP Paribas and the Royal Bank of Scotland provided the loan to the consortium. Both were advised by White & Case.`Alstom was advised by Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Duclos Thorne Mollet-Vieville.`Ashursts was involved from the tendering stage, and once the clients were selected, the deal was closed within two months.`Forschbach says: “It was a procedure with a limited number of candidates, and they were the preferred bidders. At the beginning the fate of the lawyers was very much in the hands of the clients.`”Ultimately, probably in terms of turnover and the number of people employed, it was one of the three biggest buyouts in Europe.”`Ashursts’ other private equity clients in the Paris office include the likes of Cinven, Candover, Apax, Electra, PPM Ventures, Legal & General Ventures, Morgan Grenfell Private Equity and Bridgepoint Capital.`The firm missed out on advising Candover in the Picard Surgelés deal to Linklaters & Alliance. It was conflicted because it was already advising UBS Warburg.