Skadden secures first Lehman Bros instruction

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has won its first instruction from Lehman Brothers in France on the privatisation of the French motorways.

Lehman, which has hired a number of heavy hitters to target the European equities market, conducted a beauty parade after being named joint financial adviser with Société Générale on the Société des Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône (SAPRR) privatisation.

Lehman conducted a beauty parade of four firms. Skadden’s French partner Pierre Servan-Schreiber emerged victorious, largely due to the work the US firm had done on the privatisation of the Autoroutes du Sud de la France, which floated a 49 per cent stake in March 2002.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton will be upset not to have received a role after its Paris office worked as issuer’s counsel on the $2.3bn (£1.28bn) Autoroutes du Sud de la France deal. Willkie Farr & Gallagher has snared that role on the forthcoming SAPRR transaction. Willkie partners Daniel Hurstel and Stéphane Sabatier are advising.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher completes a trio of US firms working on the privatisation. Recently-recruited partner Nicolas Baverez is advising the French government on the transaction. Baverez, who specialises in the public sector, joined from boutique firm Brandford-Griffith Baverez Cotty (now Brandford-Griffith & Associés) in June, and this is the first big deal he has brought in. Like Skadden, he also worked on the privatisation of the Autoroutes du Sud de la France.