Stockholm merger helps Ashurst with AJB Bergh’s Mölnlycke sale

Ashurst with AJB Bergh’s Mölnlycke sale” />Ashurst handled its first major Swedish deal since merging with Stockholm boutique AJB Bergh last December, advising on the €2.85bn (£1.88bn) private equity disposal of healthcare company Mölnlycke.

An acquisition vehicle controlled by Investor AB and Morgan Stanley Principal Investments (MSPI), advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, bought Gothenburg-headquartered Mölnlycke from Apax.

The private equity house bought the company in 2005, advised by partners Graham White and Raymond McKeeve, who were then at Linklaters. Now at Kirkland & Ellis, they did not pitch for this deal. McKeeve told The Lawyer this was because the original exit strategy was an IPO but that the pair continue to act for Apax.

A beauty parade was held last September involving four firms, including Freshfields, which eventually appeared on the other side advising not only Investor and MSPI, but also unsuccessful bidder Clayton Dubilier & Rice.

Ashurst won the instruction from Apax and fielded two teams to offer different exit strategies. Corporate partner Stephen Lloyd’s team advised on the auction, while a second team, led by corporate partners Anthony Clare and Daniel Bushner, advised on a potential listing on the London Stock Exchange, which is understood to have been a viable strategy as late as 25 January.

Although the tender came before the AJB Bergh merger, Lloyd said the combination “greatly helped in the process”, with name partner Jonas Bergh advising on Swedish issues.

Swedish firm Cederquist advised the buyers on local law, while Baker & McKenzie advised on debt financing. Herbert Smith advised the banks.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) advised Mölnlycke’s management committee, which is made up of the remaining minority shareholders. Head of corporate Keith Snedden led BLG’s team.