Freshfields conflict hands Links £702m CAT deal

Linklaters has scooped the lead advisory role on British pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca’s £702m offer for Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was conflicted out of the deal.

Astra Zeneca instructed Linklaters instead of regular counsel Freshfields because the latter firm acted for Abbott Laboratories in its dispute, last year, with CAT over the royalties payble to CAT on the ground breaking rheumatoid arthritis drug HUMIRA.

Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw has landed the instruction to advise longstanding client CAT for the takeover even though it is a regular adviser to Astra Zeneca.

Mayer Brown established its relationship with CAT in 2003 after nudging aside former corporate adviser CMS Cameron McKenna to act for the company on its ultimately unsuccessful £110m bid for Oxford GlycoSciences (OGS). The deal collapsed after Celtic Pharma moved in.

Linklaters corporate partner Mark Stamp is leading the team advising Astra Zeneca alongside the company’s in-house lawyers Liam McIlveen and Shaun Grady, who managed the project.

London senior partner Paul Maher led the Mayer Brown team alongside dual-qualified securities partner Mark Uhrynuk. Senior assistant Kate Ball-Dodd also advised on the transaction.

All the firms involved in the deal were contacted by The Lawyer but declined to comment.