CC, Freshfields and Links among firms on call for Kazakh mobile IPO

Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have all clinched roles as Kazakh mobile operator Kcell looks to list in London and Kazakhstan.

Spencer Baylin
Spencer Baylin

Freshfields is acting for Kcell, with a team led by Moscow corporate partner Sebastian Lawson. SNR Denton Almaty partner Joel Benjamin is also acting as Kazakh counsel to the mobile operator.

Clifford Chance is acting as lead counsel to TeliaSonera, which owns a majority stake in Kcell. Corporate partner Spencer Baylin, equity capital markets partner Simon Thomas and corporate and telecoms specialist Joachim Fleury are all advising on the deal.

Linklaters and Kazakh law firm Grata are advising the underwriters on the listings, which include Credit Suisse, UBS and Visor Capital acting as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners, Renaissance Capital as a joint bookrunner and Halyk Finance acting as a co-manager of the London listing. Visor Capital is also leading the listing on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange.

The Linklaters team is led by London-based capital markets partner Patrick Sheil and corporate partner John Lane. Grata managing partner Rashid Gaissin is acting as Kazakh counsel to the underwriters.

Morgan Lewis is also understood to be acting as Kazakh counsel to TeliaSonera.

Kcell plans to float on the London Stock Exchange and the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange in mid-December and is expected to raise between $525m (£328m) and $650m (£406m). As part of the two offerings, TeliaSonera will sell a 25 per cent stake in Kcell.

The IPO will follow Russian mobile giant MegaFon’s long-awaited listing last week, which raised $1.7bn (£1bn), making it one of the largest offerings in Europe this year (12 September 2012)

Background to this deal:

Freshfields regularly acts on London IPOs coming out of Kazakhstan, having advised on listings for KMG E&P, Halyk Bank and Alliance Bank in the past. The firm acted for the banks on MegaFon’s lPO.

Clifford Chance has acted for TeliaSonera on several previous transactions. Baylin and Fleury are the primary relationship partners.

Both partners acted for the phone group earlier this year when it acquired a 49 per cent stake in Kcell from Kazakhtelecom for $1.5bn, with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton corporate finance partner Samuel Bagot advising Kazakhtelecom. As part of the deal, TeliaSonera agreed to sell a 25 per cent stake in Kcell to faciliate the IPO.

In the recent MegaFon float, Clifford Chance won a mandate from BNY Mellon in its role as depository bank (28 November 2012). However, White & Case was the firm chosen to advise TeliaSonera, which owns a stake in MegaFon.