Ropes & Gray is advising Altice USA on the financing of the 49.99% sale of its Lightpath fiber enterprise business to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners (MSIP), a leading investor in telecommunications infrastructure. Altice USA will receive total gross cash proceeds of approximately $2.3 billion from the sale and related financing activity.
The transaction, which was announced on 29 July, builds on Ropes & Gray’s long track record of advising on complex deals requiring innovative structures and executed in accelerated time lines. The Ropes & Gray team was led by London-based finance partner Michael Kazakevich, with partner Aditya Khanna, counsel Alexandru Mocanu and associate Ashish Alexander.
The financing of the spin-off of Lightpath by Altice USA adds another major mandate to what has already been an impressive year for Ropes & Gray’s London finance team, with over 30 transactions closed so far in 2020, representing both issuers and underwriters, raising over $18 billion in gross proceeds. Notably, the deals are evenly split between loans and bonds, evidencing the growing diversification of the practice as it matures into an elite City leveraged finance offering.
Among the highlights of 2020 so far, have been transactions for:
- Altice France on a separation of debt silos involving a HY offering, exchange offer and an automatic exchange transaction;
- Liberty Global on the financing aspects of its 50-50 joint venture agreement with Telefonica in connection with the formation of the leading fixed-mobile provider in the United Kingdom;
- A leading investment bank in connection with a loan financing related to a Serie A football club.
In addition, the London-based finance group has supported global firm clients in their cross-border deal activity, most recently advising Baring PE Asia on the financing of its acquisition of Lumenis and US-based Avista Capital Partners on its acquisition of Vision Healthcare.
Michael Kazakevich, global co-head of Ropes & Gray’s finance group said: “This year we mark the firm’s tenth anniversary in London and it is a good time to reflect on how far we have come. We have recruited talented lawyers laterally and have promoted several associates to partner who have come into their own to lead market-leading, and in some cases, market defining, transactions. In 2020 alone, our London-based finance lawyers have represented sponsors, borrowers, lenders and initial purchasers on syndicated and direct loans, high yield and convertible bonds, rescue and special situations financings for clients in Europe, US and Asia.
“Our success is a result of continually meeting the challenging demands of our clients and delivering elite levels of service, especially in the current climate. We are pleased to have helped Altice USA enter into this strategic transaction and look forward to helping the Lightpath management team reach their goals.”
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