SJ Berwin for Baugur administration” />SJ Berwin has won a choice instruction from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) administrators Tony Lomas and Zelf Hussain, who have been asked to take control of Icelandic investment group Baugur.
The firm has been advising the group’s bank Landsbanki, which yesterday asked PwC to run Baugur. The investment group reportedly has £1bn worth of debt with the bank and very little equity.
SJ Berwin London restructuring partner Mike Woollard, corporate partner David Parkes (pictured) and finance partner Jen Yee Chan are acting for Landsbanki and are also understood to be advising Lomas and Hussain.
Baugur, which owns stakes in High Street brands including House of Fraser, Hamleys and Iceland, has turned to longstanding adviser Allen & Overy.
The Icelandic group is trying to stave off administration by filing for protection from its creditors in Reykjavik, and has instructed A&O partner Andrew Bamber.
A&O used to be one of Landsbanki’s main UK advisers, but pulled out of the relationship when it was nationalised in October last year (20 October).
Squire Sanders & Dempsey stepped in to represent the bank when the UK Government froze its British assets, with finance partner Andrew Knight and London managing partner Andrew Visintin leading.
A&O has been Baugur’s UK counsel for a number of years and represented the group when it bought House of Fraser in 2006 (5 June 2006).
Manchester firm Heatons has also been instructed in recent years, acting on Baugur’s acquisition of a stake in retail group Mosaic, which owns brands including Karen Millen, Principles, Oasis, Warehouse, Coast, in 2006 (6 November 2006).