Magic circle duo win lead roles on Informa’s £9bn UBM takeover bid

Clifford Chance (CC) and Linklaters have won roles to advise on Informa’s proposed acquisition of UBM, a deal set to create a media giant with a combined value of more than £9bn.

CC London corporate partners Katherine Moir and Steven Fox are leading the firm’s team advising FTSE 100 events and publishing company Informa, while Linklaters is advising FTSE 250 events and marketing business UBM.

Its team is led by corporate partners Michael Honan and Iain Fenn.

Both companies are based in London, with Informa the larger of the two, boasting about 7,500 employees to UBM’s 3,500.

UBM’s events business, which services more than 50 industries, including fashion and pharmaceutical, has a presence in 20-plus countries around the world. The company previously owned a number of business-to-business publications, including construction titles Building and Property Week, before shifting its focus onto events.

A successful merger with Informa would create a business with a global presence, including North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

UBM has in the past turned to fellow magic circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O), including in 2008 when it first explored a merger with Informa.

Former A&O corporate partner Ian Lopez – now at Norton Rose Fulbright – led the firm’s team on the 2008 negotiations, while CMS Cameron McKenna advised Informa with a team led by corporate partner Gary Green.

Lopez also advised UBM on the 2005 sale of market research business NOP World for £383m, while other work A&O has handled for UBM has included advising on its 2016 purchase of Asian rival Allworld for $485m.

UBM has also turned to Ashurst in the past, including on the $841m sale of its press release business PR Newswire to public relations company Cision in 2015. Ashurst advised on the UK aspects of the disposal, while Morgan Lewis handled all US aspects of the sale.

Ashurst also advised UBM on the £248m sale of its 35% stake in Channel 5 Television to European broadcasting giant RTL in 2005.