Travers Smith LLP has advised Bridgepoint, the leading European private equity group, in connection with the debt financing aspects of their acquisition of a majority stake in Nordic Cinema Group (NCG). Bridgepoint has acquired NCG from Ratos AB and Bonnier Holding in a transaction totalling SEK 4.7 billion (EUR 501.7 million).
NCG is one of the largest cinema operators in the Nordic region, with 66 cinemas, 444 screens and a 44 per cent share of total box office revenues in the region. It was formed in 2013 as the result of a merger between SF Bio and Finnkino. It operates in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
58% of NCG's shares are owned by private equity conglomerate Ratos, 40% is owned by Bonnier Holding and the remainder is owned by management. Under the terms of the acquisition, Bridgepoint will become the majority shareholder, Ratos will relinquish its entire 58 per cent stake in the business, while Bonnier Holding will reduce its 40 per cent stake in NCG alongside management.
Debt finance for the deal was arranged on an all senior basis by Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank, GE Capital, Natixis and Nordea.
Travers Smith’s team, which acted as lead counsel to Bridgepoint on the debt financing aspects of the deal, was led by finance partner Jeremy Walsh and senior counsel Barry Newman, who were supported by associate Fiona Swords.
Hannes Snellman acted for Bridgepoint on the Swedish law elements of the acquisition and financing. Clifford Chance, led by Richard Sharples, advised the arrangers.