Skadden scoops Doughty Hanson Priory sale

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s London office has confirmed its place as the lead corporate advisers to Doughty Hanson & Co after landing its second significant transaction for the private equity group in quick succession.

Skadden, led by corporate partner Allan Murray-Jones, is advising Doughty Hanson on its £825m sale of the Priory Group, the chain of rehabilitation centres famed for nursing celebrities back to health after drug addiction and breakdowns, to ABN Amro.

The instruction comes just weeks after Murray-Jones was also instructed by the private equity group on another similarly topical transaction – the £1bn flotation of its UK food manufacturing arm RHM.

Skadden has been steadily building a relationship with Doughty Hanson since Murray-Jones joined from Lovells in 2001, taking a sizeable chunk of Doughty’s European work with him to the US firm.

The two RHM and Priory instructions are thought to signify confirmation that Skadden is now considered the private equity group’s key corporate advisers.

The growing relationship is a significant blow to Nabarro Nathanson, which has traditionally had a strong relationship with Doughty. However the firm, led by corporate finance partner Warren Taylor, is still involved on the Priory deal, advising on disclosure and property matters.

Travers Smith corporate partner David Innes and taxation partner Kathleen Russ advised the company’s management team and shareholders on the sale.

Linklaters’ capital markets partner Edward Hickman and corporate partners John Lane and Guy Lewin-Smith advised ABN Amro as equity investor in the Priory.

Meanwhile, Allen & Overy banking partner Ian Powell provided ABN Amro’s lending arm with advice on financing of the deal.