Linklaters, Baker & McKenzie, Slaughter and May, and Sullivan & Cromwell are advising on a $5 billion deal to create one of the world’s largest advertising agencies.
Tokyo-based Dentsu Inc. has agreed to pay $5 billion to acquire London’s Aegis Group. The company’s largest shareholder – French billionaire Vincent Bolloré – has already sold a 15-percent stake to Dentsu in a show of support for the deal. Dentsu says it has already received “irrevocable undertakings” to acquire some 30 percent of the outstanding shares.
Aegis’ board of directors has already approved the deal but shareholders have yet to vote on it. The deal, which also requires regulatory approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
According to the New York Times, Dentsu and Aegis are respectively the world’s fifth- and seventh-largest advertising companies. Dentsu is Japan’s top ad firm, but has typically relied on partnerships with overseas agencies to reach the international market (a partnership with French advertiser the Publicis Groupe ended in February). By acquiring Aegis, Dentsu picks up a company with 12,000 employees in 80 countries that will improve its media buying and digital marketing capabilities.
Linklaters London partner David Holdsworth is leading the firm’s team advising Dentsu on the acquisition. Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Koma Law Office corporate partner Hideo Norikoshi is advising Dentsu on Japanese law aspects of the deal.
Slaughter and May is acting as lead outside legal adviser to Aegis on the sale, with mergers and acquisitions partner Roland Turnill and competition partner Michael Rowe leading work on the deal. The firm previously advised Aegis on its $367 million acquisition of Australian media buying company Mitchell Communication Group in 2010.
Sullivan & Cromwell is representing Bolloré in the transaction, with a team led by Paris partner Dominique Bompoint and London partner Tim Emmerson.
White & Case London partner Gavin Weir is advising Morgan Stanley, which is acting as financial adviser to Dentsu on the deal.