Freshfields and Simpson Thacher advise on £600m Guardian sale of Trader Media Group

Freshfields has advised the Guardian Media Group in its £600m sale of a 50.1 per cent stake in Trader Media Group (TMG) to Apax Partners.

Corporate partner Simon Marchant led the deal to sell its remaining stake in the business to joint partner Apax, which bought 49.9 per cent of TMG in 2007.

The former Asia chief was joined on the deal by corporate associate Rikin Morjaria.

The sale, which is subject to approval and completion, is expected to value TMG at around £1.8bn including debt. 

The Guardian Media Group is owned by the charitable Scott Trust, which has authorised the board to reinvest the proceeds in order to continue to safeguard the financial independence of the paper.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised Apax partners in the deal, led by former Allen & Overy (A&O) private equity head Derek Baird who moved across in 2012 (8 November 2012).

Indeed A&O had a good chance at winning the deal for Apax after taking on former Ashurst global head Stephen Lloyd in December (3 December 2013). The private equity house was one Lloyd’s star clients at Ashurst. He is understood to have snared the client back in 2004 and is expected to bring it with him to his new firm.

Ashurst also maintain links with the company, with M&A partner Charlie Geffen one of those responsbile for secure the firm a panel spot with Apax back in 2006 (24 April 2006).

But Simpson Thacher has historically earned work from Apax on big ticket deals. In 2005 the firm teamed up with Danish firm Bech-Brunn to advise Danish telecoms group TDC on the biggest European leveraged buyout (LBO) of all time. TDC accepted a $10.2bn (£5.6bn) bid from Nordic Telephone Company (NTC). The firm advised the Apax-led consortium comprised of Blackstone, KKR, Permira and Providence (28 January 2008).

The firm also took on another senior associate with close ties to Apex and other key client Apax Partners and BC Partners in May 2013. Clifford Chance associate Seema Shah joined the US firm after spending a period of secondment at the company (21 May 2013).