Herbert Smith has galvanised its alliance with Gleiss Lutz after persuading Johnson Matthey to use the German firm for its £260m acquisition of ICI's catalyst business Synetix. The deal, which is part of ICI's drive to reduce its £2.3bn debt mountain, required both German and Indian legal expertise as the transaction also included the disposal of the company's Indian catalyst business. Simon Farrant, head of legal at Johnson Matthey, said it was the first time the company had used Gleiss Lutz but that it already had a longstanding relationship with Herbert Smith. Commenting on his decision not to use the company's other preferred firm Taylor Wessing, where Farrant previously practised, bearing in mind the obvious strong German links, he said: "Given the size of the deal it's something that we would ask Herbert Smith to advise on." The Chambers of Zia Mody in India provided local advice to Johnson Matthey. Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw reprised its role as one of the main advisers to ICI, which also includes Allen & Overy and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Paul Mayer, head of corporate and senior partner designate at Mayer Brown, was assisted on the deal by Joachim Modlich, a partner at the firm's Cologne office and Fiona Adams, who advised on the disposal of ICI's Indian operation. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, was first announced in January.