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Nick Syson

Banking Partner, London

“I am a banking lawyer with specialist knowledge of leveraged finance and debt restructurings. I ensure that even the most complex deals are executed, combining an extensive knowledge of the law and changing market practice with sharp understanding of clients’ commercial requirements.”

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

Nick is a market-leading specialist in leveraged finance. He helped set up the firm’s leveraged finance practice in 2001 and was co-head of the leveraged finance practice until early 2016. Within his practice, he advises arranging banks on financial sponsor-backed leveraged finance transactions and coordinating bank and steering committees on debt restructurings. He also advises on bank/bond financings.

Nick has been involved in a number of pioneering developments in the leveraged finance sector, including “Opco/Propco” financings (in which the finance is divided between operating companies and property-owning businesses), regulatory life insurance arbitrage transactions, deals involving hedging uneven cashflows, and, more recently, on the growing use of covenant-lite loans.

Nick was based in Singapore for two years where he focused on, and developed his knowledge of regional debt restructuring.

Work Highlights

Nick has led on many prominent leveraged finance deals. These include advising the lenders on:

  • the £8bn facilities for the leveraged buyout (LBO) of Alliance Boots in 2007, the largest ever European LBO
  • the €2.4bn facilities for Hugo Boss to acquire Valentino Fashion Group, the first time under English law that financial sponsors required arranging banks to underwrite the issuance equity, as well as the debt 
  • many acquisitions by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company (KKR), including the €640m facilities to acquire Webhelp (the call centre group), the £315m facilities to acquire LGC (the life sciences testing company) and the £955m acquisition of Pets at Home (the UK’s largest pet supplies retailer)
  • the £1.8bn acquisition of United Biscuits 
  • the NOL11bn facility for Apax Partners to acquire Evry, a Norwegian technology company
  • the Opco/Propco financing for Gala, the betting and gaming company and the £2.3m acquisition of Coral Eurobet, a debt restructuring and subsequent bond refinancing
  • the restructuring of Paroc, the Finland-based insulation manufacturer, which was notable for being subject to lender led pre-purchased insolvency using non-cash consideration

Professional experience

  • Elected for consecutive terms to the Linklaters supervisory board
  • Elected for consecutive terms to the Wilde Sapte executive board.

Education and qualifications

Nick studied law at the University of Southampton.