A&O, Ashurst join US duo on £935m Vue cinema sale

Allen & Overy (A&O), Ashurst, Debevoise & Plimpton and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have advised on Doughty Hanson’s £935m sale of cinema operator Vue Entertainment to Canadian buyers OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (Aimco).

Stephen Lloyd

A&O advised OMERS, led by London private equity partner Gordon Milne with senior associate Joanna Elvidge assisting him.

Ashurst acted for Aimco on the acquisition with a team led by global corporate head Stephen Lloyd, who was assisted by senior associate Nicola Burke and associate Lucy Phillips. Tax partner Richard Palmer also advised, as did antitrust associate Alexi Dimitriou.

Debevoise advised Vue’s management, fielding London-based lead corporate partner David Innes, with assistance from associate Ken Barry. London partner Richard Ward provided tax advice.

Skadden guided Doughty Hanson, putting forward a team led by London corporate partner Allan Murray-Jones together with corporate partner Shaun Lascelles and associate Simon Rootsey.

Background to this deal:

A&O has had a long relationship with OMERS since the private equity house opened its London office in 2009. Milne acted for it on the purchase of Lifeways Community Care from August Private Equity, which was represented by Shoosmiths, in 2012.

This was the first time that Ashurst had advised Aimco on a private equity deal. However, real estate partner Gerald Kelly and finance partner Nick Benham had advised it on real estate and infrastructure projects in the past, prompting Aimco to approach Lloyd’s corporate team for this deal.

Earlier this year, Debevoise advised the executive directors of another Doughty Hanson portfolio company HellermannTyton on its London listing, which was priced at 195p per share, valuing the business at £419.9m

Skadden has a long-established relationship with Doughty Hanson. Partners Murray-Jones, Lascelles and Pete Coulton have advised the company on a number of recent deals, including its acquisition of fibre-optic connections and ethernet service provider Eurofiber Nederland from Dutch investment group Reggeborgh Groep, the $1.1bn sale of the Netherlands’ Norit, a manufacturer of carbon-based products, to Cabot Corporation, both in 2012. The US firms also adviser the client on its £250m acquisition of a majority stake in oilfield logistics business ASCO in 2011.

For a roundup of May’s deals including a profile of Ashurst’s Stephen Lloyd, see City analysis: Big time