Kirkland & Ellis clinched its latest large M&A deal on Wednesday as London-based private equity client Pamplona Capital Management acquired the largest laundry equipment service provider in the United States, as well as a leading automobile tire inflation service, in a deal valued at $1.4 billion.
Kirkland, which saw gross revenue jump 11 percent to nearly $2 billion and profits per partner rise another 6.5 percent to $3.25 million in 2012, is the subject of a feature story in the current issue of The American Lawyer that touches on its bid to grab high-end M&A work by competing for big deals and lateral hires with perennial market leaders Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Latham & Watkins, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Last week The Am Law Daily named Kirkland M&A partner Sarkis Jebejian—who joined the firm in December from Cravath—as its Dealmaker of the Week for his role advising a consortium led by private equity firms Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital on their proposed $6.9 billion buy of BMC Software.
This week Kirkland corporate partners Michael Brosse and Michael Movsovich, tax partners Greer Phillips and David Grenker, debt finance partners Christopher Butler and Michelle Kilkenney, and executive compensation partner Scott Price have taken the lead for Pamplona on its purchase of Coinmach Service Corp., a leading multifamily laundry service provider, and AIR-serv Group, one of the largest providers of pay air services for auto tire inflation, to create a combined portfolio company called CSC ServiceWorks.
Coinmach has fallen on rough times in recent years following its $1.33 billion leveraged buyout in 2007 by now-defunct Australian investment firm Babcock & Brown, which began liquidating its holdings in 2009. Bloomberg reports that Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland eventually assumed control of Plainview, New York–based Coinmach.
White & Case, which hired Babcock & Brown’s former general counsel Margaret Cole in 2010, is advising Coinmach on its current sale to Pamplona. M&A partner Daniel Latham and associates Matthew Silverstein and Brian Vasandani are working on the transaction, which according to a press release is being financed with a $795 million first-lien term loan and a $325 million second-lien term loan fully underwritten by Pamplona.
Mendota Heights, Minnesota–based AIR-serv, which was founded in 1981, turned to a legal team led by Shearman & Sterling M&A partner Stephen Besen and counsel Sean Skiffington, and Briggs and Morgan business law chair Charles Johnson for counsel on its sale to Pamplona. Minneapolis-based Briggs and Morgan has previously handled litigation and IP work for AIR-serv.
As for Kirkland, the firm has been keeping busy with a steady stream of work. This month corporate partner David Yun in Hong Kong led a Kirkland team advising struggling local property developer SPG Land on its $386.6 million sale of a 60 percent stake to China’s Gluon Xima International. Kirkland is planning on opening an office in Beijing, according to a report last year by sibling publication The Asian Lawyer.
In April, Kirkland lawyers advised private equity firm CVC Capital Partners on its $4.1 billion buy of a German energy metering business; private equity firm GTCR on its $585 million sale of Actient Pharmaceuticals to Auxilium Pharmaceuticals; private equity firm Avista Capital Partners on its $253 million acquisition of wireless operator Telular; and Nexstar Broadcasting Group on its joint $270 million purchase with Mission Broadcasting of 19 television stations in Indiana, Louisiana, and Texas.