Travers Smith LLP has advised its long-standing client EQT AB (EQT), a differentiated global investment organisation, on the sale of its Credit business segment to Bridgepoint, a major international private equity group.
Operating globally, with teams based in the UK, US, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Luxembourg, the Credit business is the smallest of EQT's three business segments, representing 10% of EQT's total assets under management. As of 31 December 2019, it had EUR 3.9 billion in assets under management (AUM) and total revenues of EUR 35.8 million. Despite the difficult market environment, the Credit business segment, which has raised over EUR 7 billion since its inception in 2008 and invested in over 180 companies, attracted considerable interest in the market ahead of the sale.
The transaction, which remains conditional on regulatory approval, will allow EQT to further focus its efforts on building scalable value-add strategies focused on active ownership. It also moves Bridgepoint's credit strategy and ambitions significantly forward and provides further diversification for the Bridgepoint Group in line with its strategic objective of offering a broader range of compelling middle market focused alternative asset investment strategies.
The cross-disciplinary Travers Smith team which advised EQT on the deal was led by Financial Services and Markets Partner Phil Bartram, with support from Senior Associate Henriika Hara and Associate Matt Humphreys. A team led by Funds Partner Will Normand, Financial Services and Markets Partner Michael Raymond and Funds Associate Luke Scott advised on CLO-related aspects of the deal. Employment Partner Tim Gilbert and Associates Sarah Baker and Matt Evans provided specialist advice on employment matters, while Pensions Senior Counsel Helen Rowan advised on pensions aspects, with Private Equity and Financial Sponsors Partner Emma Havas and Associates Matt Powrie and Natasha Cheung advising on corporate aspects of the transaction. Private Equity and Financial Sponsors Associate James Ravden has been seconded to EQT Credit during the transaction.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Clifford Chance LLP and Arendt & Medernach SA also advised EQT AB. Clifford Chance LLP and Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP acted for Bridgepoint, while Macfarlanes LLP advised the management of EQT Credit.
Phil Bartram commented: "We are delighted to have helped EQT to bring off a very successful transaction in difficult circumstances. The deal is another demonstration of our strength in advising sophisticated, global financial institutions (particularly providers of private capital) on the most complex transactions, including spin-offs, acquisitions of new business lines and matters involving the equity of the house. We pride ourselves on bringing together all the specialisms needed in a single, joined-up offering. It is especially satisfying to see the Credit business find a new home with Bridgepoint: two businesses we know very well. We look forward to continuing to work with both clients in future."
Travers Smith has previously advised EQT on aspects of its IPO on NASDAQ Stockholm, as well as on the launch of its CLO business line and a reorganisation of the Credit business.
The firm also counts Bridgepoint as one of its key clients and has previously acted for Bridgepoint on the establishment and FCA authorisation of Bridgepoint Credit.