Freshfields lands first private equity job at Morgan Grenfell

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has scooped its first piece of work for Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Private Equity after usual firm Allen & Overy (A&O) was conflicted out.

`Freshfields won the work when the private equity house bought Whitbread’s 3,000 pub estate earlier this year for £1.625bn. It has since advised on the disposal of 439 pubs to Enterprise Inns for £262.5m and is working on a securitisation of the estate.`It is understood A&O could not do the work because it had been working with Deutsche Bank advising Whitbread on a possible securitisation.`Chris Hanna, senior associate director at Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, said: “We normally use A&O but A&O had been conflicted, so we ended up with Freshfields mainly on the basis of their securitisation practice. Principally, there are three firms as far as securitisation is concerned, and when A&O were conflicted out we went for what we thought would be the next best thing.”`Freshfields corporate partner Patrick Gaynor has been leading the deal, with David Winfield running the banking side. Partner John Fordham advised on property, corporate partner Lois Moore dealt with key supply contracts and corporate partner Jeffery Roberts ran the Enterprise deal. CMS Cameron McKenna partner Sean Watson advised Enterprise.`Hanna said: “We have been thoroughly impressed with Freshfields and we see them having a good role going forward.”`In the past the group has also used Dickson Minto and Ashurst Morris Crisp, and the Paris office of Ashursts has done regular work for them.`At A&O, corporate partner Susan Howard is the relationship partner for the client. She said: “We are their regular firm, but we did have a conflict problem that we couldn’t resolve, although we subsequently acted for Lehman on the financing of the Whitbread deal anyway.”