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Hammonds has confirmed its longstanding relationship with Premiership football club Aston Villa by advising it on a takeover approach from a consortium led by Birmingham businessman Michael Neville.
The consortium is understood to include Irish-born brothers Brian and Luke Comer, directors of luxury home developer Comer Homes Group. The brothers have retained the services of long-term adviser Jonathan S Rose Solicitors' name partner.
National tabloid speculation forced Aston Villa to announce to the London Stock Exchange that it had received a preliminary approach last Monday (31 October).
Hammonds corporate partner David Hull is leading the team advising Aston Villa's majority shareholders Doug Ellis and Jack Petchy in their sale of a 58 per cent stake. The 81-year-old Ellis has come under increasing criticism of late for his lack of support for club manager David O'Leary, but he remains well respected at the club for his work in dragging it out of the doldrums in the 1960s.
Both Hull and Rose declined to make any further comment other than to confirm representation of their clients.
However, The Lawyer understands that lawyers for both sides spent the week prior to the story hitting the tabloids negotiating a confidentiality clause. It is believed that the public leak could delay negotiations between the parties.
"These guys haven't even met yet," said a source close to the deal.