City showdown for Fisons takeover bid

Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy are squaring up in the £1.7 billion hostile takeover bid for Fisons by US drugs company Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (RPR).

Slaughters' team, acting for RPR, is led by corporate partner Tim Clark, who headed the firm's team for investment bank Kleinwort Benson in its £1 billion acquisition by German bank Dresdner.

Allen & Overy's team, led by corporate partners John Trenbath and Alan Paul, with senior associate Calvin Walker, advised Fisons on its defence document last week. Fisons hit back at the unsolicited bid, saying RPR's offer of 240p per share “significantly undervalues” it, and that RPR was exploiting “privileged access to extensive information” – an accusation refuted by RPR as “false and offensive”.

The defence document strongly rejects RPR's assertion that Fison's future is uncertain and details its “very clear strategy for growth”.

Fisons says its planned reorganisation for a global pharmaceutical operation is given “rapid and aggressive” impetus with recent disposal proceeds of over £600 million. Allen & Overy's recent work for Fisons includes the $350 million disposal of Fisons laboratory supplies group in the US and UK.