New York trio scoops world’s largest LBO

A New York triumvirate of Cravath Swaine & Moore, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell has landed work on what is set to be the world’s largest private equity deal.

Simpson Thacher, assisted by Texan-headquartered Vinson & Elkins, is advising Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) on their $44.5bn (£22.67bn) offer for Texan utilities company TXU, advised by Sullivan & Cromwell, with Cravath advising TXU’s board.

Simpson Thacher is fresh from advising on what was previously the biggest leveraged buyout (LBO) on record. The firm advised marquee client Blackstone on its successful $38.9bn (£19.82bn) bid for Sidley Austin client Equity Office Properties, while Sullivan advised Vornado Realty Trust and Starwood Capital on their failed bid.

KKR and TPG have offered $69.25 (£35.28) per share for TXU and will assume $12bn (£6.11bn) of the company’s debt. This represents a 25 per cent premium on TXU’s closing price on 23 February. The offer is being financed through bonds and the private equity houses’ own equity, added to by Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. Credit Suisse and Lazard acted as TXU’s financial advisers.

Covington & Burling, Hunton & Williams and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan all scored roles advising the investor group. Cahill Gordon & Reindel advised lenders Citigroup and JPMorgan.

Longstanding TPG adviser Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton confirmed that it had a role on some aspects of the bid, but Simpson Thacher was the lead adviser.

Cravath corporate partners Richard Hall and James Woolery are advising TXU’s board and strategic committee along with litigation partner Elizabeth Grayer.