Manchester firm Heatons has scored a major role on a £320m retail acquisition that cements the three-partner firm’s relationship with Icelandic retail group Baugur.
Mosaic, the owner of Oasis and Karen Millen, acquired Rubicon Retail, which owns the Pied-à-Terre and Warehouse brands among others.
Heatons managing partner Matt Fleetwood led for Mosaic. The firm struck up a relationship with Mosaic’s management after the Oasis Group acquired Karen Millen in 2004 for £120m and rebranded as Mosaic.
Corporate partner Mark Sanders at SJ Berwin led for Rubicon. The firm has a longstanding relationship with Rubicon’s management.
Allen & Overy (A&O) client Baugur holds significant stakes in both companies and floated Mosaic on the Iceland Stock Exchange in 2005. The merged entity has a combined turnover of £800m.
Baugur has instructed both A&O and Heatons in the past. The group maintains that it uses both firms for different files, with A&O as its preferred City firm.
Mosaic financed the acquisition with refinanced debt provided by Icelandic bank Kaupthing (also a shareholder in Rubicon), which was advised by Slaughters.
Baugur’s relationship partner at A&O Alan Paul said the group did not instruct outside counsel on the Rubicon deal. Baugur’s in-house lawyers, including former SJ Berwin associate Andrew Lobb and former A&O associate Stuart Hanbury, handled the group’s legal involvement.
“Baugur didn’t mastermind this deal,” Lobb told The Lawyer. “We obviously take a keen interest in the deal, but give the companies autonomy. It was the right deal for both businesses.”