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Practice Overview

Debt Finance

Cravath’s international debt finance practice is one of the most highly regarded in the world. We represent corporate issuers, investment banks and financial sponsors across a range of investment grade and high‑yield bonds, senior bank financings and other financings. We have a reputation for devising creative solutions while at the same time focusing on the key commercial and practical aspects of each deal. Since 2014, we have completed over 225 bond financings in Europe, generating total proceeds of over $375 billion.

Cravath’s capital markets practice and lawyers have been recognized by various third‑party publications, including Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers UK: A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession, Chambers Latin America, IFLR1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial and Corporate Law Firms and The Legal 500. For over a decade, Cravath has been ranked in the highest tier for its work in the capital markets arena by Chambers Global. Our clients are located all over the world and span a broad range of industry sectors, including consumer products, energy, healthcare, media and entertainment, pharmaceuticals, technology, telecommunications, transportation, retail, financial services and blockchain and financial technology (FinTech).

All the partners in Cravath’s London office are widely recognized for their bond financing expertise and regularly receive individual honors in that regard. The 2019 edition of The Legal 500 United Kingdom named all our London partners as “Leading Lawyers” in Finance (High-Yield).

In Europe, we advise on a wide range of investment grade, high‑yield, bridge and other debt financings, including many offerings by first‑time issuers and some of the most complex or novel transactions. Our attorneys advised the 2018 winner of the International Financing Review Euro Bond and European High‑Yield Bond awards (the dual‑tranche high‑yield financing for the novel public‑to‑private takeover of Recordati in Italy) and the top two winners of the 2016 Most Impressive High‑Yield Issuer in European Currencies Award from GlobalCapital (Verallia and LeasePlan), as well as the second and third place winners in the publication’s 2016 Most Impressive LBO‑Related Bond Funding Awards (Verallia and Douglas, respectively). Additionally, since 2014, Cravath has acted as issuer’s counsel to the European Investment Bank in connection with over 30 debt offerings totaling over $125 billion.

Cravath has broad experience in high‑yield bond offerings. The 2018 edition of Chambers Global quotes a source describing the Firm as “outstanding” and “the benchmark for high-yield.” As the effects of economic and political uncertainties, such as Brexit, continue to ripple through the global high-yield bond market, Cravath is well positioned to guide its corporate clients and investment banking firms through evolving market conditions and risks. Our practice is nimble and balanced between representing issuers and underwriters. Additionally, the Firm has notable expertise in executing complex, cross-border high-yield bonds issued in multiple currencies.

Our lawyers handled many of the initial high‑yield bond financings in Europe in the mid‑ to late‑1990s, and then helped devise the structural enhancements on the Brake Bros. high‑yield bond offering in 2002 and 2003 that were demanded at that time by high‑yield investors. More recently, we have helped introduce other innovations, such as the standard intercreditor provisions used in Europe, loan options in lieu of bond financings, “all‑bond” structures and the first toggle notes used in Europe. The Firm has handled many other significant transactions, such as the first large buyouts in France and Italy (Rexel and Seat) and the first buyouts in Europe for Lindsay Goldberg and Ripplewood. Cravath has also advised on the first “holdco” bond for a regulated business in Europe (BAA) and on ONO’s groundbreaking pass‑through SPV structure. In addition, we have been involved in a number of other novel pay‑in‑kind (PIK) high‑yield bond offerings and loan facilities, such as those by Global Closure Systems, New Look, Sunrise Communications, Unilabs and Verallia.

As the high‑yield market reopened in 2009 following the financial crisis, the Firm was involved in many of the key transactions, including Sappi’s debut high‑yield bond offering. The London office also handled benchmark senior secured bond financings for Smurfit Kappa and Kerling and the innovative bond offering and concurrent rights and convertible offerings by Petroplus, as well as Infinis’ bond offering (the first dividend recap after the financial crisis). We structured, on behalf of Akerys, the first out‑of‑court restructuring of high‑yield bonds issued by a European company, and advised Yell in connection with its refinancing.

In 2018, Cravath worked on high-yield bond offerings for Arrow Global, Aurum, Bacardi, CGG, Drax, GardaWorld, GFKL, hibu, Infopro Digital, La Financière ATALIAN, Picard, Premier Foods, Schenck Process and Shandong Ruyi. The Firm has also completed debt offerings for AerCap, Allergan, Celulosa Arauco, Credit Suisse, Enel Chile, the European Investment Bank, Mylan, Nestlé, nVent, RELX, Rogers Communications, Shell, Smurfit Kappa and the State of Israel. In addition, we advised on the high-yield bridge and bond financing for the acquisition of Albéa by PAI Partners.

In 2017, Cravath advised on high-yield bond offerings for, among others, ALAIN AFFLELOU, Drax, Dufry, Ferroglobe, GardaWorld, GFKL, INEOS, Infopro Digital, Inter Milan, La Financière ATALIAN, Löwen Play, Mattamy Group, NH Hotel Group, Picard, Premier Foods, Schenck Process, Smurfit Kappa, Takko, Verallia, Wagamama and Welltec. The Firm also completed debt offerings for AerCap, Allergan, Credit Suisse, Enstar, the European Investment Bank, GasLog, Genpact, Inversiones CMPC, Mylan, Myriad International and Seaspan.

In 2016, Cravath worked on high‑yield bond offerings for, among others, Atalian, BlueScope Steel, Braas Monier, Cabot Financial, Ferroglobe, INEOS, Inmarsat, INOVYN, LeasePlan, Mattamy Group, NH Hotel Group, Parex, Reynolds, Sappi, Schumann, SNAI, THOM Europe and Verallia. The Firm also completed debt offerings for AerCap, Bacardi, Credit Suisse, European Investment Bank, Fortis, Mylan, Rogers Communications, Shell, Shire, State of Israel and The State Treasury of the Republic of Poland. Moreover, Cravath advised on the high‑yield bond financings for the acquisitions of Schustermann & Borenstein by Permira, Tesch Inkasso by Lowell GFKL Group, Sisal Group by CVC Partners, Stroili by THOM Europe and SMCP by Shandong Ruyi. We also advised on the bond financing for the acquisition of Baxalta by Shire.