13 December – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Linklaters has advised Merrill Lynch International, Banca IMI S.p.A. and UniCredit Banca Mobiliare S.p.A. as joint global coordinators, joint bookrunners and joint institutional lead managers on the IPO of the Safilo Group. Safilo, an Italian company, is a leading designer, producer and distributor of top-end eyewear products including prescription frames, sunglass frames and lenses, sport goggles and other sports products.
It is one of the largest IPOs in Italy this year, and the largest IPO by an Italian manufacturing company in the last five years. The transaction closed on 9 December 2005.
The Milan listing took place via a global offering (Regulation S/144A institutional offering and an Italian retail offering) of 140,000,000 ordinary shares, at EUR 4.90 per share, giving Safilo a market capitalisation of EUR 1.4bn. The total proceeds amount to EUR 686 million (or EUR 768 million if the greenshoe option is exercised).
The selling shareholders were SunlightLuxco A S.à.r.l. and SunlightLuxco III S.à.r.l. (private equity funds owned by Credit Suiss First Boston) and UBS Fidiciaria S.p.A. (on behalf of certain stock option holders of Safilo). Safilo’s founding Tabacchi family remains the largest single shareholder, with a stake of more than 36 per cent.
Linklaters provided US and English law advice to the banks. The multi-jurisdictional team was led by partner Luigi Sensi and senior associate Teresa Triglia in Rome, and included lawyers in London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Paris.
The other advisers included: Studio Legale Chiomenti – Italian counsel to the managers; Clifford Chance – international counsel to the company and the majority shareholder; Studio Legale Marena, Bonvicini, Aghina e Ludergnani – Italian counsel to the company, the majority shareholder and certain stock option holders of the company; Latham & Watkins – English counsel to Sunlight Luxco A S.à.r.l. and Sunlight Luxco III S.à.r.l.; Pavia & Ansaldo – Italian counsel to Sunlight Luxco A S.à.r.l. and Sunlight Luxco III S.à.r.l.; Elvinger Hoss et Prussen – Luxembourg counsel to Sunlight Luxco A S.à.r.l. and Sunlight Luxco III S.à.r.l.; Maisto e Associati – Italian tax counsel to the company; Slavco Stepec – Slovenian counsel to the company; and Landwell Abogados – Spanish counsel to the company.