Dealwatch: Advisors bring KKR Infra-Play to the streets while CC and MoFo advance renewable energy disposal worth $ 3.5 billion
As market activity continues to branch out into different sectors, some of the biggest deals recently have been energy and infrastructure in nature, with KKR’s £ 2 billion acquisition of John Laing Group and SB Energy India divestment for renewable energies through SoftBank were outstanding.
The US private equity investor KKR agreed to take over the listed infrastructure group John Laing as part of a deal in which the investor Equitix also jointly owns John Laing’s existing portfolio of assets.
Ashurst’s global director, Jason Radford, advised long-standing client Equitix on the transaction. ‘The acquisition is interesting because it marks KKR’s entry into the core infrastructure. John Laing has historically held portfolios in the PFI, PPP, solar and renewable energy sectors, assets on the less risky end of the infrastructure that generate lower returns – about as far from PE as possible.
‘John Laing has decided to diversify under the leadership of Ben Loomes. After a strategic review, it decided to stick with PFI and PPP but focus on riskier assets. For KKR, who has historically been a riskier investor, buying John Laing means not only exposure to a portfolio with less risky assets, but access to a range of investment professionals who have the skills. ‘
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised KKR and Aqueduct Bidco, a newly formed company owned by funds advised by KKR, with a team led by London-based M&A partner Amy Mahon, including Clare Gaskell and Sinead O’Shea. A Herbert Gav Freehills team led by Gavin Williams also advised KKR.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised John Laing led by global transaction partner Oliver Lazenby and partners Michele Davis, David Mendel, Dawn Heath and Alex Carver who are leaders in antitrust, employment, pensions and projects.
Ashurst advised Equitix on the formation of a new managed fund and two of its flagship funds that will invest in the transaction. This team was led by mutual fund partner Nick Goddard, while corporate partner Tom Mercer worked for Goldman Sachs with support from partners Tim Rennie and Harry Thimont.
Elsewhere, SoftBank agreed to sell its majority stake in SB Energy India, a renewable energy joint venture between SoftBank and Bharti Group, to Adani Green Energy, an India-based renewable energy company of the Adani Group.
The deal was billed as the largest M&A deal in the Indian renewable energy sector and gives SB Energy India an enterprise value of $ 3.5 billion. It refers to a 5 GW portfolio consisting of 84% utility-scale solar energy (4 GW), 9% wind-solar hybrid capacity (450 MW) and 7% wind capacity (324 MW).
Morrison & Foerster advised SoftBank under the direction of London corporate partners Gary Brown and Simon Arlington. A Clifford Chance team led by David Lewis advised Adani Green.
Blackstone’s £ 1.2 billion takeover of real estate developer and investor St. Modwen FTSE 250 UK by Blackstone also kept the consultants busy.
Kirkland & Ellis advised Brighton Bidco, a newly formed company indirectly owned by mutual funds advised by Blackstone, on the recommended cash offer with a team led by corporate partners Michael Steele and Dipak Bhundia.
Ashurst reappeared, advising Rothschild as financial advisor to Brighton Bidco with a team led by UK company director Karen Davies.
In another KKR deal, OMERS Private Equity and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) acquired a majority stake in ERM, the world’s largest pure sustainability consultancy. As part of the transaction, ERM’s partners and management team will remain minority investors.
Allen & Overy works for OMERS Private Equity and AIMCo as well as Co-Counsel for ERM. Ropes & Gray acts for the shareholders of the ERM partners and as co-counsel for ERM. The A&O team was led by private equity partner Gordon Milne and the Ropes team was led by private equity transaction partner John Newton, including Will Rosen.
Finally, Noble Foods’ acquisition of the chilled dessert brand Gü by Exponent Private Equity has tickled the taste buds of a multitude of dealmakers. A & O acted for the regular client Exponent with a team led by private equity partner Peter Banks and leveraged finance partner Cathy Bell-Walker.
A&O has advised Exponent on a number of foodie transactions since early 2021, including the acquisition of Proper and the merger with Eat Real, as well as the acquisition of Fudco and Everest Dairies. A&O recently advised Exponent on the demerger of Moonpig from the Photobox Group and the subsequent IPO of Moonpig and a team led by private equity partner Gordon Milne, ECM partners James Roe and Adam Wells and Leveraged -Finance partner Neil Sinha.
DLA Piper advised Noble Group with a team led by partner Charles Cook, and Gü was managed by EMW partner Ian Morris. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson acted for the lenders with a team led by partner Neil Caddy.