Magic circle among firms to win roles on bumper £2.9bn B&M IPO

A raft of firms including Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised on the IPO of discount store chain B&M – the biggest London listing of 2014 so far.

The Liverpool-based business saw its shares soar by 6.9 per cent yesterday morning (12 June) to give the company a market capitalisation of about £2.9bn – placing B&M just outside the lower boundary of the FTSE 100.

Clifford Chance advised B&M on the transaction, with regards to English, US and Luxembourg law, led by capital markets partners Simon Thomas and Chris Walton alongside corporate partner Simon Tinkler. 

Freshfields advised the underwriters on both English and US law, with corporate partner Chris Mort thought to have a key role on the transaction. Independent Luxembourg firm Arendt & Medernach was instructed on aspects relating to its jurisdiction. 

Both US private equity house Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), which owned 60 per cent of B&M, and the Arora family which held a 40 per cent stake along with management, sold about £1bn of shares in the flotation. The parties will continue to hold shares equivalent to up to 60 per cent of the company, which is retaining £75m of the new money raised to expand in the UK and Europe. 

Allen & Overy advised the Arora family on the sell off, led by City-based corporate partner George Knighton and associate Dougall Meston, with support from corporate partner David Broadley and senior associate Michael Bloch. Luxembourg advice was provided by corporate partner Fabian Beullekens and counsel Christophe Balthazard. 

Debevoise & Plimpton’s City office took the lead role for CD&R. The firm declined to comment on which partners were involved. 

Background to this deal: 

Clifford Chance advised CD&R on its acquisition of its stake in B&M back in December 2012, with advice led by Tinkler with support from senior associate Graham Harrison. 

The stake was acquired from businessmen Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora, who developed the business since purchasing it in 2005. Allen & Overy advised the family on the sale of their stake to CD&R in 2012, with Knighton taking a lead on the deal. 

Debevoise has close ties to CD&R. So far in 2014, the firm advised on financing aspects of an agreement under which the group’s managed funds acquired packaging company Mauser Group for about €1.2bn. It also took a role on CD&R’s agreement to acquire Ashland Water Technologies for $1.8bn.