Herbert Smith’s Benelux ally Stibbe has played a key role in the nationalisation of European bank Fortis, which has come into public ownership on the same day as Herbert Smith client Bradford & Bingley.
Fortis, which has suffered since it joined a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)-led consortium on the buy-out of Dutch bank ABN Amro last year, has been given a cash injection of €11.2bn (£8.8bn) from the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, with the largest share of the money coming from the Belgian government.
The government, as well as the country’s Banking and Finance Commission and National Bank, turned to Stibbe corporate partners Marc Fyon and Olivier Clevenbergh and finance partner Ivan Peeters. Local firm Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick also gave advice to the Belgian state while Eubelius partner Hans Guilliams advised on competition issues.
Fortis turned to magic circle firm Linklaters with Brussels-based partners Jean-Marie Nelissen Grade and Eric Pottier leading.
The news comes on the same day that the UK has seen Bradford & Bingley’s (B&B) lending business come into public ownership. Herbert Smith corporate head Michael Walter is leading the team acting for the bank, a longstanding client of the firm. The government has turned to Slaughter and May partner Charles Randall, who also advised on the nationalization of Northern Rock.
Santander, which was also a member of the RBS consortium that bought ABN, has acquired B&B’s savings business, under advice from Ashurst senior partner elect Charlie Geffen.