Herbert Smith acts in £20bn bid for bank

Herbert Smith is cashing in on one of the UK's largest ever takeovers as the Bank of Scotland launches its audacious £20bn hostile bid for National Westminster Bank.

Michael Walter, corporate partner at Herbert Smith, is working with senior partner Edward Walker-Arnott on the deal. They are supported by a seven-strong team including competition partner Elizabeth McKnight, tax partner David Martin and banking partner Dina Albagli.

The Bank of Scotland's £20.85bn offer, which was announced on Friday (24 September), throws into doubt NatWest's £10.7bn proposed acquisition of Legal & General Group, which is being advised by Slaughter and May.

Lucy Wilde, corporate partner at Slaughters, refuses to comment on the deal – and what it would mean for the firm if it fell through.

The Bank of Scotland is urging NatWest shareholders to reject the Legal & General takeover and go for the Bank of Scotland bid instead.

A NatWest spokesman states it is too early to say which law firm it will use to fight off the hostile bid. Its main corporate adviser Linklaters is acting for NatWest on the Legal & General deal and is the likely contender.