Herbies shrugs off conflict to advise on Rover purchase

Herbert Smith has landed Nanjing Automobile as a new client after advising the Chinese group on its successful acquisition of the stricken Birmingham-based car manufacturer MG Rover.

The City firm, which is also advising Phoenix Venture Holdings and the so-called ‘Phoenix Four’, the controlling directors of MG Rover, won the mandate to act for Nanjing following a recommendation from client Arup.

Arup, the engineering consultancy, advised Nanjing and may take stakes in the British arm of the company.

Commenting on Herbert Smith’s dual role a spokesperson for the firm said: “All the parties involved were aware of our dual role and decided there was no conflict.”

Nanjing beat rival bidder Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, which was advised by Baker & McKenzie, to bag MG Rover. The deal was signed last Friday (22 July) for an undisclosed sum. Although according to reports Nanjing paid around £50m for the assets.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (8 April 2005) Eversheds, led by partners Simon Waller and Louise Pheasant, is advising MG Rover.