SVG calls in JP Morgan et al as HarbourVest battle heats up

JP Morgan banker Conor Hillery

The lead JP Morgan banker on the deal is Conor Hillery, head of industry coverage for financial institutions in Emea

JP Morgan’s lead banker on the deal is Conor Hillerywho was earlier this year named head of industry coverage for financial institutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – according a person familiar with the matter.

JP Morgan and Numis have existing relationships with SVG – both serve as retained corporate brokers along with Haitong Securities. Lazard has recently been added to the advisory roster, the person said.

Also involved in an advisory capacity is Slaughter and May, the law firm renowned in the City as a go-to adviser for defending against hostile bidders.

Unsolicited offers such as that launched by HarbourVest are rare in the City. An unsolicited offer for a private equity firm is rarer still.

On September 12, HarbourVest offered 650p per share in cash in a deal that valued SVG at more than £1 billion.

In a letter the following day, SVG urged its shareholders “to take no action” until the publication of the group’s interim results – scheduled for September 20 – at which point they could consider the deal.

But according to the person familiar with the matter, SVG is considering bringing forward the publication of its results to help it fend off the bid.

The springboard for HarbourVest’s bid was buying 8.5% of SVG’s shares in the market – and it also received commitments from investors representing an additional 42.7% of the group’s remaining share capital, according to this week’s statement. This would give it more than the 50% threshold needed to take control of SVG.

Around half of the committed shares have been irreversibly committed by Coller Capital. However, the person said that the remainder is pledged in letters of intent that are not binding.

If a counter-bidder were to emerge for shares held by the likes of Aviva, Legal & General and Old Mutual, which have all signed letters of intent, then HarbourVest could end up falling short of the 50% threshold.

The person said HarbourVest’s discounted offer undervalued SVG and failed to recognise strong performance in its funds and the sought-after relationships it has with private equity firms including AEA Investors, Permira and Cinven.

JP Morgan is a retained corporate broker to SVG alongside Numis Securities and Haitong Securities. Banks maintain corporate broking relationships, usually for a nominal fee, in the hope of winning more lucrative work on capital markets and M&A deals.

UPDATE: This story was updated to clarify that SVG is working with Numis Securities and Lazard, as well as JP Morgan and the law firm Slaughter and May.

More from Private Equity

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Alternatives – Financial News Online

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *