Allied Domecq gifts Latham adviser role

Latham & Watkins has sidelined Clifford Chance, Pillsbury Winthrop and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom to win a place on Allied Domecq’s legal panel.

The New York-based firm has been appointed by the FTSE 100 beverages com-pany to advise on US law issues. Although Allied Domecq will retain all three firms, the company’s general counsel Len Quaranto said that Latham and longstanding UK corporate adviser Linklaters will get the lion’s share of the work.

Clifford Chance advised Allied Domecq on its New York Stock Exchange listing last summer, while Skadden acted for the company on its acquisition of the Malibu brand and the Mumm Cuvee Napa business from rival Diageo last year.

The decision to appoint Latham, which until now has never advised Allied Domecq, follows a recommendation from Linklaters, as well as stemming from a longstanding relationship between the company’s US general counsel Harold Gorman and Latham’s Chicago-based partner Ron Hanson.

Quaranto told The Lawyer that after the company floated in New York, it wanted to build a relationship with a US firm with a US securities law capability in London, while at the same time offering national coverage in the US, where a large portion of the company’s turnover and profits are generated.

Hanson said: “We have a significant presence in all the major US commercial centres. I think [Allied Domecq] found that attractive.” He also said that the firm is well equipped to handle matters relating to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which introduced new obligations with a listing in the US as well as overseas.

Latham London-based corporate partner Alex Cohen will manage the firm’s relationship in London.