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CMS Cameron McKenna has just completed its first corporate transaction for Sara Lee Corporation - taking the work from under the nose of bigger player Clifford Chance.
`Camerons won the job of disposing of Sara Lee's UK bakery business which earned £50m in sales last year. The company makes, markets and distributes frozen baked foods under the Sara Lee name and private label brands. It was sold to Dublin-based Hibernia Foods for an undisclosed sum.`Camerons has advised Sara Lee on employment and IP litigation in the past and won this work as a result of its expertise in the food industries - the firm also acts for Golden Wonder and Young's Bluecrest Seafood.`Howard Rubenstein, head of legal at Sara Lee, said: "We like to use different firms for different things. Generally we use Clifford Chance for acquisition work but decided to use Cameron McKenna this time as we already have an excellent relationship with them."`Corporate partner Louise Wallace led the Camerons team, supported by corporate tax partner Richard Croker.`"The work came to us through litigation partner Susan Barty. It would be nice if Sara Lee used us all the time but it is more likely that it will keep all its external lawyers," said Wallace.`She added: "We hope to continue advising Sara Lee in this context."`The relationship began when Rubenstein worked for Ernst & Young and was advised by Barty.`Rubenstein said: "We have an excellent relationship with both Clifford Chance and Cameron McKenna. However, for this transaction Camerons was the right and obvious choice and it did an excellent job."`Clifford Chance mainly advises the corporation on banking and finance and Chicago-based acquisitions. The firm was unavailable for comment.`Wendy Harrison at DLA advised Hibernia.`Camerons has also been chosen in a competitive tender as the sole firm advising on UK business immigration for European bank BNP Paribas. Julia Onslow-Cole led the immigration team on the work.