Kendall Freeman wins Victoria Seguros work

A recommendation from the magic circle has awarded Kendall Freeman a new client in the guise of Germany’s Ergo Group subsidiary Victoria Seguros.

Kendall Freeman, which was formed in March out of the insurance and litigation groups from the now defunct DJ Freeman, won the client after Allen & Overy (A&O) put its name forward.

A&O is acting for CGU International Insurance, part of UK giant Aviva, on the sale of its Portuguese general insurance operation to Victoria Seguros.

Despite the fact that the transaction involved no UK policyholders, the Financial Services and Markets Act requires that it be authorised in the English High Court because CGU’s parent company Aviva is based in the UK.

As a result, A&O’s lead partner on the disposal, insurance specialist Philip Jarvis, recommended lawyers from his former firm DJ Freeman as a UK adviser for Victoria Seguros.

Commenting on the deal, Ambereen Salamat, an insurance partner at Kendall Freeman, said: “We were instructed quite late in the day, but before the court process started. A&O felt it would be a conflict of interest if they advised.”

A&O’s record on conflicts appears to be improving after the firm came under fire for acting in a dual capacity on the Cordiant deal, the Safeway auction and the TXU administration, all of which were exclusively revealed by The Lawyer.

However, recently A&O acted for both British Biotech and its target Vernalis, after gaining client consent, while Lovells was brought in to act should another suitor emerge.

CGU was also advised by Portuguese firm law Goncalves Pereira Castelo Branco & Associados.

Victoria Seguros was advised on local law by regular counsel Jose Antonio Pint Ribeiro of Portugese firm JA Pinto Ribeiro & Associados.