‘Farce’ as Linklaters’ Galileo satellite job goes to Lovells

Linklaters.jpg” alt=”‘Farce’ as Linklaters’ Galileo satellite job goes to Lovells” />Linklaters and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu missed out on key roles on the mammoth Galileo satellite project following a “farcical” EU-run procurement process, which saw the pair left high and dry at the eleventh hour.

It is understood that Linklaters was involved in negotiations with the Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU) in July, at which point the firm was informed that it would be hired.

The magic circle firm had already provided preliminary legal advice to the GJU. So confident was Linklaters that it had been retained, consortia bidding for roles did not consider appointing it, believing the firm already instructed.

Partners were on the train to Brussels when they were informed that the procurement process had been aborted. A second round was then launched, after which Lovells scooped the lead role for the Joint Undertaking, with Pricewaterhouse-Coopers winning the financial advisers’ job.

It is understood that the first procurement was bungled after the European Commission set a ludicrously low budget for legal and financial advisers. The new process was launched in August, with a €750,000 (£572,800) ‘guide’ budget for law firm advisers – three times the original figure cited.

A GJU spokesperson admitted: “It was a farce. It was a mistake. You cannot get highly qualified advisers on such a low budget.”

Meanwhile, Allen & Overy is out of the running, for the moment at least, after the consortium it was advising, Eutelsat, pulled out of the competition earlier this month. The firm is now gearing up for a lender’s role for one of the two remaining consortia. Linklaters is also understood to be seeking out lender’s roles.

The remaining consortia are the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)-led group iNavSat and Eurely, led by Alcatel.

The pair are being advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which advised EADS on the Skynet 5 satellite project, and Clifford Chance respectively.

Linklaters declined to comment.

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