Heatons, SJ Berwin, Slaughters gain roles on Mosaic acquisition

Manchester firm Heatons has scored a major role on a £320m retail acquisition that cements the three-partner firm’s relationship with Icelandic retail group Baugur.

The deal also generated instructions for SJ Berwin and Slaughter and May.

Mosaic, the owner of Oasis and Karen Millen, acquired Rubicon Retail, which owns the Pied-à-Terre and Warehouse brands among others.

Heatons managing partner Matt Fleetwood led for Mosaic. The firm struck up a relationship with Mosaic’s management after the Oasis Group acquired Karen Millen in 2004 for £120m and rebranded as Mosaic.

Corporate partner Mark Sanders at SJ Berwin led for Rubicon. The firm has a longstanding relationship with Rubicon’s management.

Allen & Overy (A&O) client Baugur holds significant stakes in both companies and floated Mosaic on the Iceland Stock Exchange in 2005. The merged entity has a combined turnover of £800m.

Baugur has instructed both A&O and Heatons in the past. The group maintains that it uses both firms for different files, with A&O as its preferred City firm.

Mosaic financed the acquisition with refinanced debt provided by Icelandic bank Kaupthing (also a shareholder in Rubicon), which was advised by Slaughters.

Baugur’s relationship partner at A&O Alan Paul said the group did not instruct outside counsel on the Rubicon deal. Baugur’s in-house lawyers, including former SJ Berwin associate Andrew Lobb and former A&O associate Stuart Hanbury, handled the group’s legal involvement.

“Baugur didn’t mastermind this deal,” Lobb told The Lawyer. “We obviously take a keen interest in the deal, but give the companies autonomy. It was the right deal for both businesses.”