Linklaters in multiple M&S roles

Linklaters has emerged as a multiple adviser on Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) bid battle with Philip Green, as the retail entrepreneur last week returned his gaze to the company’s pension fund trust.

The magic circle firm has served as long-time counsel to the M&S pension fund and the trustees are currently being advised by Linklaters partner Tim Cox.

Linklaters is also representing Citibank and Morgan Stanley, which are acting as financial advisers to M&S.

Until last week the firm’s head of corporate David Cheyne was also involved, representing the retail group’s chief executive Stuart Rose on a Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigation into his purchase of M&S shares shortly before Green announced his bid for the company.

Last week the FSA ceased its inquiries into Rose’s share acquisition.
At the same time, Green reiterated his call for M&S to confirm the size of its pension deficit as well as requesting access to information from the trustees of the fund. The fund, which M&S states is entirely independent of the company, is still deliberating whether to grant Green’s request.

Cheyne said: “All roles have been disclosed to everyone – they’ve all consented. We’re always careful to ensure that there are no conflicts in any situation.”