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Skadden, Kirkland direct Signa Sports United’s $3.2 bln SPAC merger

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A logo of Signa is pictured on a building nearby the Karstadt sport department store, in Berlin, Germany July 30, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

  • Deal closing expected in 2021's second half
  • Skadden advises return client Signa Sports
  • Kirkland guides Yucaipa after crafting its 2020 IPO

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(Reuters) - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Kirkland & Ellis are spearheading online sporting goods retailer Signa Sports United GmbH’s $3.2 billion merger with special purpose acquisition company Yucaipa Acquisition Corp, the first known merger between a U.S. SPAC and a German company.

Proceeds from Signa Sports United’s tie-up with Yucaipa will fund the purchase of one of the largest online bike retailers in the world, WiggleCRC Group, from current owner and alternative asset manager Bridgepoint, the companies said on Friday.

The combined company will keep Signa Sports United’s name and trade on the New York Stock Exchange, according to a press release. The deal values the resulting entity at $3.2 billion, including debt. The transaction is expected to wrap up in the second half of the year.

Berlin-based Signa Sports United has tapped Skadden teams led by capital markets partner Stephan Hutter in Frankfurt and mergers and acquisitions partner Howard Ellin in New York for guidance on the merger.

Skadden previously advised Signa Sports United on crafting a strategic partnership with Japanese retailer AEON Group and Thailand-based retailer The Central Group in 2018.

A representative for Skadden said in a statement Tuesday that the firm also has advised on the first SPAC mergers featuring Indian, Nordic and Russian companies.

On the other side of the deal, Kirkland is guiding Yucaipa with a team led by corporate partners David Feirstein and Marshall Shaffer, and capital markets partner Christian Nagler. Nagler previously headed the team that advised the blank check company on its 2020 initial public offering.

Blank check companies like Yucaipa raise money through IPOs to later buy privately held companies and take them public.

Signa Sports United runs firms like bicycle online shops Fahrrad.de and Bikester, tennis platforms Tennis-Point and Tennis Express, outdoor gear retailers like Campz and team sport shop Stylefile.

The company operates more than 80 Web shops in 17 countries.

Signa Sports United’s financial adviser on the merger is Citi. Yucaipa’s is Moelis & Co LLC, with Jefferies acting as capital markets adviser. Both Citi and Jefferies served as the placement agents for a private investment in public equity connected to the merger.

The business combination is among 178 blank check mergers worth nearly $367.5 billion announced so far this year, according to data from Refinitiv. Skadden and Kirkland rank third and fifth, respectively, among law firms that have advised on SPAC mergers, based on combined deal value.

Read more:

Signa Sports agrees SPAC deal, to buy Wiggle bicycle store - source

Sierra Jackson reports on legal matters in major mergers and acquisitions, including deal work, litigation and regulatory changes. Reach her at sierra.jackson@thomsonreuters.com

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