A&O, Camerons, Freshfields seal Welcome Break sale

Allen & Overy

(A&O), CMS Cameron McKenna and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have snared key roles in the £500m sale of Welcome Break, the motorway services company.

The chain was sold by buyout group Investcorp, advised by A&O, to Appia Investments, a consortium of funds represented by Freshfields.

Camerons was instructed by Welcome Break’s management in the firm’s first major transaction for the company since winning a three-firm beauty parade last year.

Bahrain-based Investcorp bought Welcome Break in 1997 for £473m, a transaction on which A&O advised. The sale sees the end of one of the longest-held investments by a private equity group.

The Freshfields line-up on the deal was led by senior corporate associate Piers Pritchard-Jones, while A&O partner Ian Lopez represented Investcorp.

Camerons corporate head Andrew Sheach, who led the Welcome Break team, said: “Welcome Break service areas are a familiar sight on our motorways and I am delighted that we were able to advise their management on this important stage of their growth.”

The buyer, Appia Investments, comprises the NIBC European Infrastructure Fund, the ING European Infrastructure Fund and Challenger Life, which is run by Australian billionaire James Packer.

Welcome Break is the second-largest operator of motorway services areas in the UK, with 27 sites across the country.