CC and Links step up for latest KKR deal

Magic circle rivals Clifford Chance and Linklaters dominated the latest acquisition by US private equity powerhouse Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

Clifford Chance client KKR defied the recent credit crisis by paying £593m for Northgate Information Solutions (NIS). The FTSE250 IT group is a regular Linklaters client that runs the payroll systems for household names such as Tesco and Shell. The deal is being structured as a scheme of arrangement.

A recent dip in NIS shares meant that KKR paid a 40 per cent premium on the average share price during December. The deal was announced on 21 December.

Corporate partner and NIS relationship partner Roger Barron led the team at Linklaters. He had also advised on NIS’s £250m acquisition of Belgian software company Arinso in summer 2007. In a statement, KKR said that it was particularly attracted to the “international platform” of NIS since it acquired Arinso.

Barron said: “This was a fairly sizeable deal, given the market conditions. It’s proof that there is still appetite by the private equity houses.”

Corporate partners Daniel Kossoff and Keith Hyman led at Clifford Chance. Kossoff is also a regular advisor to KKR on its UK acquisitions, leading advice on the £11.1bn management buyout of Alliance Boots backed by KKR in 2007.