Aon’s bid for Benfield puts CC opposite Debevoise

Clifford Chance is on the other side of the table to Debevoise & Plimpton in Aon Corporation’s proposed £935m takeover of London-listed insurer Benfield Group.

Aon, one of the world’s largest insurance groups, called on Clifford Chance to advise on the cash bid that was agreed last week. Benfield was represented by the London office of Debevoise.

The deal, which is subject to ;shareholder ;and ­regulatory approval, would create an insurance giant worth almost £1bn.

However, ;US-based Marsh & McLennan is rumoured to be considering a counter-bid. The company usually instructs Slaughter and May for corporate ­matters in Europe.

Clifford Chance corporate partner Joel Ziff led the team acting for Aon,
with which the firm has a ­longstanding relationship.

Debevoise ;corporate ­partner Jeremy Hill has worked with Benfield since 2003 when, as an Ashurst partner, he advised on its float on the London Stock Exchange. He took the client with him when he moved to Debevoise in 2004.

“The deal’s proof of a longstanding trend towards global consolidation in the insurance market,” said Hill.

He was joined on the deal by tax partner Richard Ward and New York-based M&A partner Andy Sommer.

Aon also used Sidley Austin in the US and Mello Jones & Martin in Bermuda, where Benfield is domiciled.

Benfield ;instructed Bermudian firm Conyers Dill & Pearman.