Freshfields wins lead role on Poundland IPO

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has won the mandate to advise West Midlands-based retailer Poundland on its long-awaited IPO.

Poundland, Europe’s largest single-price discount retailer, is working on a London Stock Exchange listing that potentially values the business at £700m.

The IPO will comprise a partial sale of funds by Warburg Pincus and a free float of at least 25 per cent of the issued share capital.

Clifford Chance has advised Poundland on its corporate matters in the past, having been instructed by Warburg Pincus on its acquisition of the retailer in May 2010 (10 May 2010). Corporate finance partner Spencer Baylin and former private equity head David Walker led for Clifford Chance on that deal.

However, it is thought that Poundland reviewed its relationship with the firm following the departure of Walker to Latham & Watkins last year (8 April 2013).

Freshfields won the lead role on the IPO after participating in a pitch process to Poundland and Warburg Pincus. Corporate partner Adrian Maguire and capital markets partner Mark Austin led on the transaction. The pair have a strong track record in private equity-led IPOs having advised Cinven on its £1.4bn Partnership Assurance IPO last May (15 May 2013).

Maguire has forged a relationship with Warburg Pincus having advised on the disposal of global roaming platform MACH to Syniverse Holdings last year.

The firm’s co-head of international capital markets Sarah Murphy dealt with the US equity capital markets side of the deal, London partner Helen Lethaby led on tax issues, while the managing partner of Freshfields’ employment, pensions and benefits group in London Simon Evans presided over the deal’s employment aspects. Associates Jamie Corner, Richard Johnson and Alex Sjoman assisted.

Allen & Overy advised the underwriters, led by UK equity capital markets head Mark Dighero.

West Midlands firm George Green was instructed by Poundland’s management thanks to its longstanding relationship with the company. The firm’s corporate head Guy Green led on the transaction.

It is understood that Poundland continues to regularly instruct Eversheds, Wragge & Co, Hill Dickinson and Shoosmiths on property matters, while Brodies deals with real estate issues in Scotland as does William Fry in Ireland.

Shakespeares and Freeth Cartwright are instructed on IT matters, while DWF advises on human resources. George Green also continues to pick up regular work across a range of areas.