SJ Berwin, Travers Smith and Mayer Brown win roles on Hamleys sale

SJ Berwin, Mayer Brown and Travers Smith have led the work on the sale of iconic London toy shop Hamleys by Icelandic bank Landsbanki to French company Groupe Ludendo.

The firms acted for Landsbanki and Ludendo respectively in the £60m deal, which saw Landsbanki sell off its 65 per cent stake in Hamleys.

SJ Berwin’s team was led by corporate partner David Parkes and Paris-based partner Etienne Boursican, supported by corporate associates Barri Mendelsohn and Elizabeth Calvert.

Meanwhile Paris managing partner David Patient led Travers’ team acting for Ludendo on acquisition issues.

Mayer Brown represented Ludendo on debt and equity structuring, with a London and Paris team led by tax partners James Hill and Laurent Borey, corporate partners Olivier Aubouin and David Bates, and finance partner Jean-Philippe Lambert. They were assisted by counsel Charles-Albert Helleputte, tax associates Nathalie Jacquart and Ben Frye, finance senior associate Danuta Rychlicka and associates Maud Bischoff and Sofia Kontou, corporate and securities associates Carole Sabbah, Caroline Poncelet and Adam Meisels and corporate and securities jurist Guilhem Richard.

King & Spalding partner William Charnley represented private equity house Bracken, which owned about 30 per cent of Hamleys. Charnley joined the US firm from Mayer Brown in July (5 July 2012).

Hogan Lovells acted for Natixis, the coordinating agent of a group of 10 banks including Arkea Banque Entreprises et Institutionnels, Banque Palatine, Barclays Bank PLC, BNP Paribas, BRED Banque Populaire, Crédit Coopératif, Crédit Lyonnais, HSBC France and Société Générale relating to the financing of the acquisition. Paris partner Olivier Fille-Lambie, senior associate Ariane Berthoud and associate Sophie Lok worked alongside London partner Paul Mullen and senior associate Camille Astier.

French firm Nabarro & Hinge was also involved, representing mezzanine finance fund ActoMezz, which is a subsidiary of Groupama Private Equity. ActoMezz took a stake in Ludendo in 2010. On the Hamleys deal, Nabarro & Hinge founder Jonathan Nabarro and associate Hugues Gascon acted for ActoMezz.

Background to this deal:

Hamleys was bought out in 2003 in a public-to-private deal backed by Icelandic retailer Baugur (23 June 2003). The £47m deal saw Travers Smith scoop the lead role for the management.

However Baugur collapsed in the financial crisis and was put into administration in 2009. SJ Berwin advised Baugur’s bank, Landsbanki, through the administration (5 February 2009). The bank took over Baugur’s stake in Hamleys. However Landsbanki is now in the process of auctioning off assets as part of its winding-up proceedings.

SJ Berwin is continuing to act for Landsbanki on the sale of its assets.