Macfarlanes and Slaughters lead as Comet sells for £2

Macfarlanes and Slaughter and May have won key roles advising on Anglo-French electrical goods retailer Kesa’s sale of its 250 Comet stores to private equity house OpCapita.

The deal sees Kesa, which is listed in London and Paris, offload its UK Comet stores to Hailey, a group of companies advised by retail turnaround specialist OpCapita, for just £2. As part of the transaction, Kesa will invest £50m in Hailey.

Slaughters is acting for Kesa, a longstanding client, putting forward corporate and finance partner Simon Robinson. Robinson advised Kesa on its €455m multi-currency revolving credit facility last year.

Macfarlanes partners Stephen Drewitt and Ian Martin are advising OpCapita. The instruction came through the firm’s estsblished relationship with OpCapital principal Joshua Spoerri, who Macfarlanes advised in a previous role in Bank of America’s European private equity business.

SJ Berwin won the smaller role of advising the management of Comet, fielding corporate associate Andrew Wingfield and tax partner Stephen Pevsner after a competitive tender. Several firms pitched for the role, including magic circle firms.

SJ Berwin has advised on a number of so-called ‘dowry’ deals, in which the vendor pays a sweetener to the buyer to ensure the transaction goes ahead.

The firm advised on the high-profile sale of MFI to Merchant Equity Partners for a nominal £1 in 2008 (6 October 2008).