Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz have won top roles on the €21.2bn (£15.1bn) acquisition of Visa Europe by Visa Inc to create a single global payments business.

Linklaters was sole counsel to Visa Europe, with a team led by US corporate partner Scott Sonnenblick in New York, as well as UK corporate partners Aedamar Comiskey and Stephen Griffin. 

Meanwhile, Macfarlanes picked up a new client in the form of US-based Visa Inc, with M&A partners Graham Gibb and Nicholas Barclay advising on UK aspects of the deal. US matters were handled by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz partners Steven Rosenblum and Karessa Cain and Edward Herlihy. They were assisted by fellow antirust partner Ilene Knable Gotts, finance partner Gregory Pessin and tax partner Eiko Stange. 

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy also represented the company, specifically focusing on litigation aspects of the transaction. Its team was led by co-managing partner of the firm’s London office Julian Stait and senior associate Cormac Alexander. 

Visa Europe is a separate entity to Visa Inc, owned by over 3,000 European financial instutions. The transaction involves an up-front consideration of around €16.5bn (£11.78bn), with the potential for an additional earn-out of up to €4.7bn (£3.3bn) following the fourth anniversary of closing. 

It is due to close in the third quarter of 2016. 

Background to the deal 

US-listed Visa Inc is a new client for Macfarlanes, with Visa instead turning to American firms such as Davis Polk & Wardwell and White & Case for its IPO in 2008 – the largest ever US listing at the time. 

Macfarlanes acted alongside Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, as well as New York-based Visa Inc general counsel Kelly Tullier, who took on the role last year. Visa Europe’s GC meanwhile is Niamh Grogan, having taken up the position following Vanessa Turner’s departure to Allen & Overy. 

According to The Lawyer Market Intelligence (LMI), Linklaters and Milbank both have history representing Visa, especially on the litigation side. Last year saw both firms secure judgment in favour of the company, in a dispute brought by retailers over fees charged for using Visa credit cards.