Latham and Linklaters advise on £1.3bn US takeover of UK waste business Biffa

Transatlantic take private sees Los Angeles giant's client snap up FTSE 250 business
Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, England, UK - September 8th 2021: Biffa Mercedes-Benz Econic Waste Collection truck

Peter_Fleming; Shutterstock

Latham & Watkins and Linklaters are advising on US private equity firm Energy Capital Partners’ (ECP) proposed £1.3bn acquisition of FTSE 250-listed UK waste management business Biffa.  

Latham & Watkins provided legal counsel to ECP, while Linklaters advised Biffa. ECP is offering Biffa shareholders 410p a share, a 28% premium on the 325p closing price on June 6, the day before the offer period started. That was below a 445p offer previously discussed back in June. The High Wycombe-based waste company has recommended that shareholders accept the revised offer. Biffa’s financial advisor is Rothschild & Co, which said the new offer was ‘fair and reasonable’.

The deal is expected to complete either in the final quarter of this year or in the first quarter of 2023, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain conditions.

Ken Lever, chair of Biffa, said: “Whilst being lower than the proposal previously announced on 7 June 2022, it is the Biffa Board’s view that this offer represents a compelling opportunity, particularly in a weakening economic environment, for shareholders to realise, in cash and with certainty, the potential for future value creation.”

Latham’s team was led by London corporate partners David Walker and Douglas Abernethy and finance partners Jeff Greenberg, Charles Armstrong and Steve Curtis. Linklaters’ team included corporate partners Jonathan Sadler and Michael Fanner and employment and incentives partner Cara Hegarty.

ECP invests in energy transition, environmental infrastructure and other sustainability-related businesses. It has $26bn in capital commitments from more than 600 investors globally. 

The private equity firm currently has a portfolio of more than 20 companies with Latham being called on to advise on several deals, including in July last year advising its SPAC, ECP Environmental Growth Opportunities Corp, on its US$1.4bn combination with cloud manufacturing and digital supply chain company Fast Radius.

Andrew Gilbert, an ECP partner, said: “We intend for Biffa to remain focused on providing the high level of service to which its customers have become accustomed and look forward to supporting Biffa’s strategic initiatives, development, growth and industry leadership.”

Earlier this month, Linklaters advised FTSE 250-listed housebuilder Vistry Group on its £1.25bn acquisition of rival Countryside Partnerships. Norton Rose Fulbright advised Countryside on the deal, which will create one of the UK’s leading residential property construction businesses. Vistry’s existing stable of housing brands include Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Drew Smith.

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