Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have won the lead mandates on Tesco’s £3.7bn merger with Booker Group.
Tesco sought legal counsel from longstanding adviser Freshfields, with a team led by retail head Claire Wills. She is also co-head of the magic circle firm’s financial institutions sector group.
Clifford Chance acted for the UK’s largest food wholesale operator Booker Group, which also owns convenience stores Premier, Budgens and Londis.
The magic circle team was led by corporate partner Lee Coney and antitrust partner Greg Olsen. They were supported by corporate partner David Pudge.
Macfarlanes partner Graham Gibb additionally won a role on the merger, advising Tesco’s financial adviser Greenhill.
The merger is set to go live in late 2017 and is subject to approval of the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).
Background to the deal
Clifford Chance and Freshfields were always in poll position to take the top roles on this deal.
Freshfields is well-known for advising Tesco on multiple matters, with Wills leading on the retailer’s corporate deals across China, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Poland and Czech Republic. In 2015, she advised on Tesco’s £4.2bn sale of its South Korean business Homeplus, while Freshfields’ litigation team has also been busy defending Tesco on a number of shareholder group claims resulted to its £263m profits restatement.
Booker lists Clifford Chance as its main legal advisers, with Olsen and Pudge acting on the company’s £140m purchase of the Makro wholesale business. Booker’s in-house legal function is led by general counsel Mark Chilton.
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