Willkie Advises on Privatization of Nice’s Airport

Willkie recently advised the Azzurra consortium (consisting of the Atlantia Group, EDF Invest and Aeoporti di Roma) on the bid for the privatization of Nice’s airport. On July 28, the consortium was deemed the best bidder in the process that will result notably in the sale of the French state’s 60% interest in the company that controls three airports on the French Riviera (Nice – the largest French Airport after Paris – as well as Cannes-Mandelieu and Saint Tropez). The firm advised the bidders on the preparation of the proposal submitted to the State and is accompanying the consortium in the acquisition, financing and regulatory process toward completion of the transaction.

The Willkie team was led by partners Thierry Laloum and Amir Jahanguiri and included partner David Tayar; national partner Gabriel Flandin; special European counsel Philippe Grudé; counsel Leonardo Fedrini; and associates Anne-Laure Barel, Perrine Saunier, Gabrielle Reddé, Antoine Bouzanquet, Laure Pistre, Marion Bellemin, Louis Jambu Merlin, Mathilde Ayel, Guillaume Melot, Luca Leonardi and Massimo Palombi. 

Hudson’s Bay Company Completes Lord & Taylor Mortgage Refinancing

On July 19, Willkie client Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) announced the closing of a $400 million, five-year mortgage on the Lord & Taylor flagship property in New York City, located at 424-438 Fifth Avenue, to refinance the existing mortgage of $250 million due September 2017. In connection with this transaction, the lenders independently commissioned a leading international appraiser, which valued the property at $655 million.

Founded in 1670, Hudson’s Bay Company is the oldest company in North America. HBC is one of the fastest-growing department store retailers in the world, based on its successful formula of driving the performance of high quality stores and their all-channel offerings, unlocking the value of real estate holdings and growing through acquisitions. In North America, HBC’s leading banners include Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gilt, and Saks OFF 5TH, along with Find @ Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters. In Europe, its banners include GALERIA Kaufhof, the largest department store group in Germany, Belgium’s only department store group Galeria INNO, as well as Sportarena.

The deal was handled by partners Gordon Caplan and Thomas Henry; counsel Daniel Backer; and associates Timothy DeKeyser and Mark Stokely.

Inspired Gaming Group, a Vitruvian Portfolio Company, to Be Acquired by Hydra

On July 16, Hydra Industries Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Inspired Gaming Group and its affiliates from funds managed by Vitruvian Partners LLP and its co-investors. Willkie acted as U.S. legal counsel to Inspired and Vitruvian. The transaction reflects a valuation for Inspired of £200 million (US$264 million), including indebtedness, but excluding transaction expenses as well as the impact of Hydra's sponsor shares and subject to certain closing adjustments.

Inspired is a global games technology company, supplying virtual sports, mobile gaming and server-based gaming systems with associated terminals and digital content to regulated betting and gaming operators around the world. It operates more than 25,000 digital gaming terminals and supplies its virtual sports products in more than 30,000 venues and on more than 200 websites in 30 countries.

The deal was handled by partner Manuel Miranda and associates Jacob Kleinman, Andrew Prodromos and Christina Castedo.