Kirkland builds Bain relationship with work on Samsonite buyout

The $1.7bn (£844.14m) secondary buyout of luggage company Samsonite by CVC Capital Partners has strengthened Kirkland & Ellis‘s ties with key private equity client Bain Capital.

Kirkland advised Bain as one of the major shareholders in the luggage company, with Los Angeles private equity house Ares Management and Teachers’ Merchant Bank, the investment arm of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPPB). These financial backers owned 86 per cent of the equity in Samsonite.

Bain, Ares and the OTPPB first invested in Samsonite in 2003 with a $106m (£64.8m) recapitalisation, with Kirkland advising.

On the latest deal SJ Berwin and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison advised CVC. Kirkland put out a London team led by Bain relationship partner Jim Learner alongside corporate partners Matt Hurlock and Abrielle Rosenthal. Finance partner Stephen Gillespie led on the debt aspects.

Bain also retains close ties to Boston-headquartered Ropes & Gray.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advised longstanding client Samsonite. The New York-headquartered firm also advised the company on its 2003 recapitalisation.

The underwriting banks turned to Linklaters, with corporate finance partner John Lane and corporate partner Stuart Bedford leading.

The sale to CVC, which is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of this year, was part of a twin-track exit for the shareholders, who had pondered a London IPO. Ashurst had a lead role in the IPO plans, with corporate partner Nicholas Holmes heading the team.