Sullivan Paris wins £5.4bn Axa deal for Winterthur

Swiss firm Lenz & Staehelin, Linklaters and Sullivan & Cromwell have secured roles on Axa’s acquisition of Winterthur, the insurance arm of Credit Suisse, for Swiss Francs 12.3bn (£5.4bn).

The deal will make the French insurance company one the biggest players in Switzerland as well as adding operations in Asia and the rest of the Europe.

Sullivan & Cromwell is advising Axa on the corporate aspects of the deal led by Paris managing partner William Torchiana. European counsel Juan Rodriguez advised on antitrust issues. Bär & Karrer, led by Rolf Watter, was Swiss counsel for Axa.

Lenz & Staehelin is acting for Credit Suisse, led by partner Rudolf Tschaeni.

Axa is financing the acquisition through the mixture of a rights issue and debt which will include a hybrid bond.

The prospectus has already gone out for the EUR4.1bn (£2.8bn) rights issue, which is expected to take place in the next few weeks.

The debt package is expected to be around EUR4.8bn (£3.3bn). As well as the hybrid bond, it will include senior and subordinated bond issues. The hybrid bond is expected to contain both sterling and euro denominated tranches.

Linklaters’ Paris office is advising Axa on the financing package led by partner Gilles Endréo along with partners Severin Robillard. It is understood that Allen & Overy will act for the banks but the book building process has yet to start.