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White & Case Advises Naspers on US$1.16 Billion Acquisition

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised Naspers, a global internet and entertainment group and one of the world’s largest technology investors, on its US$1.16 billion acquisition of an additional 29.1 percent shareholding in Avito, the leading Russian online classifieds site.

The transaction values Avito at an implied enterprise value of US$3.85 billion. Following the acquisition Naspers stake in Avito will increase from 70.4 percent to 99.6 percent (on a fully diluted basis). The remaining shares are held by existing management.

White & Case also advised Naspers on its minority investment in Avito in 2013 and on Naspers’ subsequent US$1.2 billion investment in 2015, when Naspers became the majority owner of Avito.

Avito was established in 2007 by Filip Engelbert and Jonas Nordlander together with founding investors Vostok New Ventures and Kinnevik. It achieved revenue of US$286.5 million and EBITDA of US$127.6 million for its last full financial year to March 2018 and Avito currently has 10.3million unique visitors per day.

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Eric Michailov (London / Moscow) and Johan Steen (Stockholm) with support from counsel Sophie Sahlin (London) and associates Hanna Wingren (London / Stockholm) and Ksenia Tyunik (Moscow).

 

Byron Romain Joins White & Case as a Partner in Houston

Global law firm White & Case LLP continues to expand its Houston office with the addition of new partner Byron Romain. Romain will be part of the Firm’s Global Project Development and Finance Practice and will work closely with its Global Oil & Gas Industry Group.

“Byron is a highly skilled and experienced lawyer who has an impressive track record working on significant projects across the oil & gas industry,” said Philip Stopford, Co-Head of White & Case’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Group. “His arrival coincides with the first anniversary of the Firm opening our Houston office, which signals our commitment to expanding the leading capability of our oil & gas expertise within the region.”

Romain’s practice includes representing major and independent oil & gas companies, sovereigns, quasi-governmental agencies, private equity sponsors and portfolio companies in the acquisition, disposition and development of oil & gas projects in the upstream and midstream sectors. He also advises on asset and equity deals, joint venture/development arrangements, equity investments and financing/lending arrangements.

Romain joins White & Case from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was previously the head of its North American oil & gas A&D practice.

“Expanding our industry expertise across the oil & gas industry is a pillar of our 2020 strategy,” said Jason Webber, Co-Head of the Firm’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Group. “Byron’s arrival reinforces this goal, and his sophisticated technical skills and extensive knowledge of the oil & gas sector will play an integral role in further enhancing our client offering in Houston, and across the wider Americas region.”

White Case advises JBIC on loan for acquisition of Shire plc

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in relation to its loan agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda), amounting up to US$3.7 billion (JBIC’s portion), to finance part of the funds required for acquiring Shire plc (Shire) in Ireland.

The total amount required for acquisition is approximately £46 billion. The loan is co-financed by private financial institutions, bringing the total co-financing amount to US$15.7 billion equivalent. The loan supports the overseas business deployment of Takeda by providing necessary long-term foreign currency funds for M&A by the Japanese company, assisting its overseas expansion of existing business, as well as new business deployment, and contributing to maintaining and strengthening the international competitiveness of Japanese industries.

Through the acquisition of Shire, Takeda aims to strengthen two focus areas – gastroenterology and neuroscience – as well as establishing a leading position in pharmaceuticals for rare diseases and plasma-derived therapies, which can accelerate transformation to a global R&D-driven pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. In addition, Shire has a large sales proportion in the US market, which is the largest market in the world and projected to continue to grow at a high rate. The acquisition will therefore drive further growth overseas and is expected to make Takeda one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world based on sales.

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Toshio Dokei and Simon Collins (both Tokyo), and included partners Philip Broke and Jacqueline Evans (both London), supported by associates Keisuke Nishimura (Tokyo) and Christopher Beardmore (London).