Herbert Smith has got its first break into private equity with an instruction from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) on the Safeway battle
Anthony Macaulay, who led for Carnival on the hostile P&O Princess bid, is now advising the US giant. Herbert Smith is close to KKRs financial adviser Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), which swapped sides last week, abandoning former client Safeway to join the KKR team. The firm made it on to CSFBs global panel for the first time last year. KKRs main legal adviser Simpson Thacher & Bartlett could not handle a competitive UK public offer alone, and several top UK law firms are already involved on the deal. Slaughter and May and Linklaters are advising rival bidders; Clifford Chance is working for long-term client Safeway and Allen & Overy is advising Morrisons financial advisers ABN Amro. An instruction from KKR is a major boost for Herbert Smiths private equity push. KKR has confirmed its interest, but has yet to announce a formal bid.