Theo Paphitis hires Reed Smith as BLP and CMS win roles on Robert Dyas buy

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), CMS Cameron McKenna and Reed Smith snatched roles on the acquisition of hardware chain Robert Dyas by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis.

The legal line-up, which largely mirrored the roster of firms advising on the company’s management buyout (MBO) in 2009, saw Reed Smith partner David Boutcher win a mandate advising Paphitis and his wholly-owned vehicle Gladys Emmanuel.

Relationship partner Boutcher was joined on the instruction by fellow City corporate partner Michael Young and banking partner Phillip Slater, as well as senior banking associate Nicholas Williams and real estate partner Jon Pike.

The deal, worth roughly £10m, represents an exit by Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish Bank (AIB), which took control of the chain in 2009 through a £30m debt-for-equity swap following the MBO earlier in the year. It is understood that a large amount of the banks’ debt has been written off as part of the transaction, while press reports suggest Paphitis will take on Robert Dyas’s pension liabilities.

CMS banking partner Alex Patience, senior corporate associate Dipesh Santilale and banking associate Sarah Spendlove advised the syndicate of Lloyds, AIB and Blackstone’s leveraged loan business, GSO.

BLP restructuring chief Ben Larkin and banking and capital markets associate director Stewart Anderson advised the Robert Dyas management, with Larkin taking the same role in the 2009 MBO.

Paphitis’s previous advisers have included Mishcon de Reya, which guided him and a consortium of investors and banks through the launch of a legal services packages last year, and Davenport Lyons corporate partner Alon Domb.

Domb won a role on the high-profile figure’s acquisition of Red Letter Days in 2005 jointly with Peter Jones, also a judge on the BBC investor panel television show Dragons’ Den (8 August 2005).

Lloyds, meaniwhile, is one of CMS’s oldest banking clients, with City banking partner Will Meredith acting as the company’s relationship partner at the firm, one of the bank’s panel members. The latest instruction follows Patience and CMS restructuring partner Peter Wiltshire’s role on the MBO agreed in April 2009.