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🤑 The biggest deal you've never heard of


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A massive €14bn bid led by private equity firms for Adevinta, the world's largest classified ads business, could boost confidence in European deal-making amid a challenging economic environment. The deal involves a bunch of commercial law firms.


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🤑 The biggest deal you've never heard of

What's going on here?

Permira and Blackstone (two private equity firms) are leading a €14bn bid to take the Norwegian online classifieds company Adevinta private. This could be the second biggest private equity deal of the year (the biggest was the sale of Worldpay).

What does this mean?

Adevinta is a huge classified ads business — it became the world’s biggest after it merged with eBay’s classifieds business in 2020.

mai deal is significant because this year’s been a bad year for private equity markets — high interest rates and geopolitical uncertainty has led to fewer deals than usual.

Because of its scale, a bunch of law firms are getting involved.

How would a deal like this be structured?

Well, it’s just a bid at this stage. But Adevinta’s board has told its shareholders that the offer is worth considering.

As is typical in private equity deals, it’s structured as a leveraged buyout using mostly borrowed money.

So here’s a leveraged buyout typically goes down:

  • 🔍 First, pick a company to buy. In this case, it’s Adevinta.

  • 💰 Then, borrow a bunch of money. Here, the lenders are Blackstone’s own credit arm, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund (called GIC) and Sixth Street Partners (an American investment company).

  • 🏛️ Secure the loans with the target company's assets and future cash flows (so the company’s at risk if the loan isn't repaid, not the private equity fund).

  • 🤝 Negotiate the sale terms and purchase the company's shares (lawyers would get involved here).

  • 🚪 In this case, Adevinta would then be taken private in a process called delisting (it’s currently listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange) — again lawyers will help with this.

After that, private equity funds typically aim to increase the value of the company by making operational improvements. Then, they’d hope to sell it or take it public again at a higher valuation for a big profit.

Which law firms are involved?

A bunch of firms are involved in this deal:

  • Freshfields and Latham & Watkins are acting as the lead legal advisers to the buyers (as well as Simpson Thacher and Weil)

  • Cleary Gottlieb and Skadden are the legal advisers to Adevinta

  • Wachtell Lipton is serving as legal adviser to eBay and Clifford Chance is advising Schibsted — both are existing shareholders looking to sell their shares

Why should law firms care?

Deal volumes are down at the moment — and this hurts the bottom line of most corporate law firms.

But, despite a challenging background (high interest rates, global instability etc), massive deals like this could give the markets confidence.

Jennifer Chimanga, a Tech M&A partner at Clifford Chance, said, “… this landmark transaction will… provide a major confidence boost to European deal-making against a very challenging macro-economic environment.”

That’s why law firms (well, those who are not actually involved in this deal) will be interested in it anyway — it’s a statement that M&A activity can still be expected despite the current conditions.

At least their corporate teams will be hoping it’s that!


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  • 📜 Freshfields will introduce solicitor apprenticeships in September 2025. The scheme will bring on up to six apprentices, splitting their time between work and studies in London. This follows similar initiatives by fellow Magic Circle firms Linklaters and Allen & Overy. Other firms, including HFW, Weil, and Hogan Lovells, have also announced apprenticeship plans.

  • 🚗 Tesla has won a legal battle in Sweden as a court ruled that the country's transportation agency must allow the electric car company to pick up its license plates directly from its own offices. Tesla filed lawsuits against Sweden's transportation agency and postal service due to workers' refusal to deliver its license plates in support of striking Tesla mechanics. The victory means that Tesla can maintain its vehicle deliveries to Swedish customers without disruptions.

  • 📢 UK regulators are concerned that Adobe's $20bn acquisition of Figma may harm competition in the digital design sector. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fears it could "eliminate competition" and "reduce innovation". While these findings are provisional, the CMA may block the deal. A final decision is expected by 25 February 2024.

  • 🔒 Allen & Overy was removed from the ransomware hackers’ website. The exact details remain uncertain, but the fact that the firm was taken off the website before the deadline suggests either a ransom payment or ongoing negotiations with the hackers. As of now, Allen & Overy has not made any public statements regarding the situation.



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