Accessibility Links

A load of guys in international legal jobs broker a mammoth $5bn deal

Posted by: Laurence Simons 23/07/12

Think what you could buy with $5 billion (£3.2bn).

The moon, probably. A large portion of Greece. Between five and three-point-two billion McDonalds double cheeseburgers. Or, if you want to be left field, a completely gigantic advertising agency.

Well that's what's going down right now, as Tokyo-based Dentsu has agreed to acquire London's Aegis Group, with its biggest shareholder - French billionaire Vincent Bollore - off to buy millions upon millions of 'Royales with cheese' after selling his 15 per cent stake.

However, when big deals such as this go down, Dentsu don't just send a diminutive-looking intern carrying $5 billion in a briefcase over to London to see if Aegis fancy selling up: they have to do it right. And to do it right means hiring a lot of lawyers to huddle together in a room and sweat nervously and shout.

And sweating nervously and shouting on behalf of Dentsu is Linklaters London partner David Holdsworth. Hold up, rewind, say what: a London-based partner representing a Japanese firm? Yes. This is happening. Despite being Japan's top advertising agency, Dentsu has long relied on partnerships with overseas agencies in an effort to truly reach an international market, and they seem to be taking this same practice that makes them a success in the advertising market into their legal negotiations. Clever Dentsu.

Meanwhile, Aegis have hired fellow Magic Circle firm Slaughters to whisper in their corporate ear and occasionally shout "DOUBLE IT" as the deal goes on, with M&A partner Roland Turnhill and competition partner Michael Rowe lining up for them against Holdsworth and Baker & McKenzie Tokyo partner Hideo Norikoshi.

Fans of lots of names in a list will probably be pleased to hear that Sullivan & Cromwell will also be part of the transaction, representing Bollore with a team led by Paris partner Dominique Bompoint and London partner Tim Emmerson. Anyway, want to broker a $5 billion deal? Get yourself some international pals, and start learning French.