Freshfields, Travers Smith bag mandates on historic LSE acquisition

Freshfields corporate partner Andrew Hutchins led a team for the magic circle firm advising LSE on the capture of Turquoise – the rival platform set up in 2008 by nine investment banks as an alternative to the LSE’s platform.

Travers Smith head of private equity Phil Sanderson acted on the sale side in a transaction that will see Turquoise merge with existing LSE subsidiary Baikal.

The City firm won its role on the sale following a beauty contest earlier this year.

“We are one of the go-to firms for this sort of size of deal,” Sanderson commented.

The deal means that the LSE can now offer trading in shares across Europe for the first time in its history.

The consortium of leading international banks that established Turquoise following European Commission reforms in 2007 to allow competition within a region across trading platforms included BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Société Générale and UBS.

Sanderson added that Turquoise had “fulfilled one of its objectives” by creating competition among share trading platforms, but the venture has not turned a profit since its inception.

Competition partner Simon Priddis led the Freshfields team acting for LSE on Office of Fair Trading (OFT) aspects of the deal. Much of the work was also taken on by the exchange’s in-house legal team, led by Catherine Johnson.

Travers head of EU and competition Margaret Moore handled competition and OFT aspects on the sale side.

The new entity will continue to trade as Turquoise and will be 60 per cent owned by LSE, with the remaining 40 per cent remaining in the hands of its existing shareholders, all of whom are banking clients of the exchange.