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ADDLESHAW Booth & Co has ousted Wilde Sapte as the legal adviser to the giant pharmaceuticals retailer and wholesaler AAH in a deal worth £1m to the Manchester firm.
Addleshaws will act as the company's outsourced legal department in what the firm is describing as its "most significant new business win" since the merger which formed it last year.
The practice beat off Wilde Sapte and Edge & Ellison to win the contract to handle the property work generated by AAH's chain of 1,200 chemist shops as well as a variety of other legal work, including insurance, personal injury and intellectual property.
The key factor in Addleshaws' victory is understood to be the level of fees it was prepared to charge.
The beauty parade was prompted by the acquisition in the spring of Lloyds Chemists by AAH's owner, the German company Gehe.
The company decided to disband Lloyds' 10-lawyer in-house department, headed by Stephen Buckell, and re-tender the legal services contract which Wilde Sapte had been handling up until then. Edge & Ellison was invited to tender because of its connections with Staffordshire-based Lloyds.
AAH deputy group company secretary Richard Davies said Addleshaws would effectively be operating as the company's in-house legal department and would handle the vast majority of its work. He added that Freshfields was handling the disposal of some of AAH's wholesale business.
Addleshaws' tender for the contract was handled by senior partner Paul Lee, the client partner, Andrew Chamberlain, and property partner Susie Diggines. Lee said the win demonstrated the strength of the merger between Addleshaw Sons & Latham and Booth & Co.
Chamberlain added: "It is fantastic news as far as we are concerned."
Helen Cleveland, a company and commercial partner at Wilde Sapte, said the firm had had a long association with AAH and was sad to have lost the contract, but she stressed her department was expanding and looking for more lawyers.