Linklaters and Travers Smith scored lead roles on the latest infrastructure deal, acting on ports owner Peel Group’s disposal of a significant stake to RREEF. Peel is understood to be valued at £1.6bn.
The auction, involving Peel’s sale of a 49 per cent stake, saw RREEF, an infrastructure fund controlled by Deutsche Bank, defend a bid from acquisitive Australian bank Macquarie.
Macquarie has been increasingly interested in UK infrastructure of late, winning the auction for Thames Water for £7.8bn in October.
The Peel disposal is the latest in a string of infrastructure deals that has generated huge interest from pension funds and private equity groups seeking secure but steady returns.
Canadian Pension Plan and private equity group 3i are also understood to have been in the running.
Peel, which owns Mersey Docks and the Manchester Ship Canal, is a longstanding Travers client and was advised by head of corporate finance Spencer Summerfield and corporate finance partner Philip Cheveley. In June 2005 the firm acted on Peel’s buyout of Mersey Docks for £800m.
At Linklaters, head of the infrastructure team Ian Andrews and private equity partner Richard Youle led the team for RREEF.
Peel Ports is owned by property magnate John Whittaker through his business conglomerate Peel Holdings, which has £3bn worth of assets, including Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. The company was taken private in 2004.
Travers also acted on the privatisation.