Deals comment

Herbert Smith has drawn first blood in the race to win the real estate investment trust (Reit) war, securing the first public mandate to convert Hammerson from a listed company to a Reit.

Herbert Smith scores reit coup with Hammerson deal

Herbert Smith has drawn first blood in the race to win the real estate investment trust (Reit) war, securing the first public mandate to convert Hammerson from a listed company to a Reit. The news has left Herbert Smith corporate partner David Paterson (pictured) and the firm’s PR cronies with a smug smile, but the scoop should not come as too big a surprise. It certainly will gall Nabarro Nathanson, which is Hammerson’s other main adviser for real estate, but Herbert Smith did advise the company on a similar conversion in France. In 2004 Hammerson became the first UK-based company to convert to the French version of a Reit (known as a SIIC), using Herbert Smith and Paterson for advice. Paterson is being assisted in the UK Reit move by tax head Neil Warriner and real estate partners Don Rowlands and Chris de Pury.

Tchenguiz Family Trust turns to Freshfields on M&B bid

Corporate partners at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer must have been rubbing their hands with glee when they were brought in to advise the Tchenguiz Family Trust on its proposed bid for pub group Mitchells & Butlers (M&B). Partners Edward Braham, David Ereira and Patrick Gaynor were working on the deal which saw a Tchenguiz-led consortium offer £4.6bn for the group. M&B, advised by Allen & Overy partner Susan Howard, has turned down the offer, but there is still a chance Tchenguiz could return with another bid. The deal is a coup for Freshfields. As well as being a juicy mandate, the magic circle firm has got one over on Linklaters. Linklaters has long been associated with Robert Tchenguiz thanks to former partner Raymond McKeeve. Past deals for the property tycoon include the £1.1bn acquisition of supermarket Somerfield. However, it is understood that on this occasion Linklaters was conflicted.