The Work

October 10, 2011 4:57 PM

Dexia Bailout Lands Roles for at Least Five Firms

Posted by Brian Baxter

At least five major law firms have landed key advisory roles on a multibillion-dollar French and Belgian rescue package for Brussels-based financial services giant Dexia, which is struggling from its exposure to sovereign Greek debt.

The proposed deal will see the Belgian government acquire Dexia's banking division in Belgium for $5.4 billion. Dexia has also obtained state guarantees from Belgium, France, and Luxembourg for a combined $121 billion in financing. The transaction essentially makes Dexia—one of the world's largest companies—the first major casualty of the Greek debt crisis.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance and Linklaters have taken the lead advising various parties on the agreement, according to U.K. publication Legal Week. Benelux firms Stibbe and Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick have also been retained for significant legal roles.

Cleary and Stibbe both advised on Dexia's first bailout three years ago, according to our previous reports. At that time the governments of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg injected $9.2 billion in cash into Dexia in a deal that resulted in the departure of former CEO Axel Miller, who was once a Brussels-based Clifford Chance partner.

Legal Week reports that Clifford Chance bank finance, capital markets, and restructuring and insolvency partner Yves Herinckx in Brussels is advising the Belgian ministry of finance on Dexia's most recent rescue. Stibbe—an international alliance partner of British firm Herbert Smith—is representing the Belgian government and National Bank of Belgium on the deal through corporate finance and capital markets partners Marc Fyon, Jan Peeters, and Ivan Peeters.

Dexia, meanwhile, has once again turned to Cleary Gottlieb M&A and capital markets partner Laurent Legein in Brussels for outside counsel on its latest bailout, according to Legal Week. Olivier Van Herstraeten is the head of Dexia's in-house legal, compliance, and tax departments. Antoine Gosset-Grainville, a former partner at French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, serves on Dexia's board of directors.

A team of Linklaters lawyers is advising French financial organization Caisse des Dépôts et Donsignations as a majority shareholder in Dexia, Legal Week reports. Paris-based Caisse serves as an investment manager for the French government. The Societe Federale de Participations Industrielles, which owns the Belgian government's stake in Dexia, has turned to Liederkerke Wolters corporate partner Thierry Tilquin in Brussels, according to Legal Week.

The BBC reports that Luxembourg's finance minister has said publicly that a Qatari investment group could soon purchase Dexia's Luxembourg unit.

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