Herbert Smith Freehills and Macfarlanes lead on private equity purchase of Time Inc's UK arm

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Macfarlanes are playing the lead roles on the sale of the UK arm of Time Inc to private equity firm Epiris.

Time Inc’s UK magazine business includes NME, Marie Claire and Country Life. It is being sold by US parent company Meredith to private equity firm Epiris, whose investments include the UK franchise of US-style restaurant group TGI Fridays and bowling company Hollywood Bowl.

HSF is acting for Meredith, with global M&A head Gavin Davies leading the firm’s team. He took up the global M&A head role at HSF in January, succeeding Stephen Wilkinson, who became managing partner of the firm’s clients and sectors group.

Macfarlanes, meanwhile, is advising Epiris with a team led by M&A partner Stephen Drewitt and banking partner Kirstie Hutchinson.

The value of the deal is undisclosed, although it has been reported as being worth around £120m.

Other recent M&A deals for Macfarlanes include providing UK corporate advice on Disney’s $52.4bn takeover of most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, and acting for bar chain Revolution on its ultimately unsuccessful sale to Stonegate Pubs.

Meredith is also taking advice from consultancy Barou Advisers while Epiris is working with investment bank Jefferies and accountancy giant PwC.

Debevoise & Plimpton advised Time Inc on its $2.8bn sale to Meredith last year, with Cooley acting for Meredith.

In 2013, elite US firm Cravath Swaine & Moore advised long-term client Time Warner on its move to fully separate itself from Time Inc.