Links, Norton Rose, Slaughters act on Thomas Cook share sale

Three banks – BayernLB, Commerzbank and RBS – came to control a significant portion of the company after the collapse of German retail group Arcandor, which owned more than half of Thomas Cook’s shares.

The 44 per cent stake had been collateral for a e1bn (£880m) loan and was transferred to the banks when Arcandor filed for insolvency in June.

Norton Rose banking partner Dirk Trautmann in Munich and corporate ­partner Julian Stanier advised BayernLB as the agent for the lending banks. Slaughters partner William Underhill represented Thomas Cook, while Linklaters corporate finance partner John Lane acted for placing agents UBS, RBS and ­Commerzbank.

The share placing was one of the largest to occur in the UK for several years.

There was previously uncertainty about whether Thomas Cook would fall ­victim to a takeover after rival operator Rewe ­reportedly expressed an interest in taking up the shares.
Norton Rose, led from Munich, has been providing ongoing advice to BayernLB following the collapse of Arcandor.

The remainder of ­Arcandor’s stake, around 9 per cent, is set to be divided among Arcandor’s convertible bondholders.

Slaughters has been key corporate counsel to Thomas Cook after advising longstanding client ­MyTravel on its merger with the group in 2007.

Underhill, who heads the technology, media and ­telecoms group at the firm, led the MyTravel relationship along with competition head Malcolm Nicholson, who left the firm to join the Competition Commission ­in May.