Shearman elbows out rivals to advise Bridgepoint on its £212m acquisition of Moneycorp

Shearman & Sterling has won its first-ever mandate from private equity house Bridgepoint, advising on its £212m acquisition of foreign exchange provider Moneycorp.

The deal marks a sea-change for the mid-sized private equity house, which has traditionally turned to Clifford Chance, Linklaters or Travers Smith for advice on its UK-related deals.

It is understood that Bridgepoint turned to Shearman this time round due to its existing relationship with private equity partner Mark Soundy, who joined its ranks from Weil Gotshal & Manges last May (15 May 2013).

At his former firm, Soundy advised Bridgepoint on the disposals of sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management and indie media company All3Media.

Specialist foreign currency retailer Moneycorp handles transactions worth more than £8bn annually, and employs more than 500 people.

Until recently, it was managed by the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Special Opportunities Fund (SOF). However, the fund was spun off from the bank in late 2013 as part of a drive to downsize its investment business.

On this deal, Slaughter and May took the lead role for SOF Investments, fielding a team led by corporate partner David Johnson with associates Jane Kaye and Sam Whittaker.

Charles Russell advised Moneycorp’s management thanks to an existing relationship led by employment partner David Green. Corporate partner Mark Howard took the lead on this particular transaction, with assistance by Green and associates Jodie Dennis, Tom Smitham, Jessia Ganagasegaran and Will Nash.

Background to this deal:

Bridgepoint’s legal function is headed up by former Travers Smith private equity chief Charles Barter (19 August 2008). While he has tended to turn to Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Travers Smith for advice on its UK business in the past, Bridgepoint has also turned to international firms including Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis, Garrigues, Zhong Lun and Mannheimer Swartling.

This is the first time that the private equity house has looked to Shearman & Sterling, following its hire of former Weil partner Soundy last year. Soundy joined the firm with his two former Weil colleagues, tax partner Sarah Priestley and private equity associate Simon Burrows. As a result, it is understood that the Shearman won a mandate from Bridgepoint to advise on a handful of its UK deals following a competitive pitch process earlier this year.

For more on Bridgepoint’s adviser relationships, see our blog Clifford Chance, Linklaters take on Shearman in battle for Bridgepoint