23 June 2004, LONDON – LAWFUEL – Lovells has advised Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay on their successful bid for The Telegraph Group, which includes The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. The transaction was signed on 22 June 2004. This brings to an end one of the most hotly contested and protracted auction processes ever seen in the City.
The auction for The Telegraph Group began in November 2003, when the board of Hollinger International hired Lazard to conduct an asset sale following the resignation of Lord Black as Chairman and Chief Executive of Hollinger International. The auction process comprised at least four principal rounds of bidding. Lovells first became involved in advising on the UK regulatory aspects of the pre-emptive bid for Lord Black’s shares in Hollinger Inc, which was launched in the US in January. After the bid was blocked in the US, Press Acquisitions Limited, a company ultimately controlled by Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay, joined the auction process being run in the UK for The Telegraph Group on its own.
The Lovells’ team was led by Marco Compagnoni, Lovells’ head of private equity. Lovells has been advising Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay for more than 25 years, most recently on the £590 million acquisition of the home shopping and related business of GUS plc in May 2003. Other notable deals on which Lovells has advised them include the acquisitions of The Scotsman and The Sunday Business (now The Business) and the Ritz Hotel, and the take private of Littlewoods plc. Marco has led the Lovells’ team on each of these transactions.
Marco was assisted on The Telegraph bid by private equity team members, Malcolm MacDougall and Samantha McGonigle. The team also included Daniel Friel (partner, taxation) and Philip Harle (taxation), Susan Bright (partner, competition), Lindy Golding (partner, intellectual property), Mac Macmillan (intellectual property), Matthew Cottis (partner, banking), Peter Considine and Angus Gill (both banking).
Marco Compagnoni, who led the Lovells team, said:
“Everyone on the Lovells team has enjoyed a long history of working with our clients which results in a very efficient and effective transactional approach: the combination of decisive clients with entrepreneurial flair, and proactive lawyers who understand both them and the market-place, was essential to a deal such as this.”
Hollinger were advised by a Herbert Smith team, led by partner Anthony Macaulay. Finance was provided by Bank of Scotland.