Macfarlanes wins work on £2bn Rover sell-off

Macfarlanes has won a contract to advise on the £2bn sale of Rover Cars to venture capitalists Alchemy.

The deal, which comes just a month after it was appointed Alchemy's principal legal adviser, covers the acquisition of the former British car manufacturer and Longbridge plant from German car giant BMW.

Charles Martin, Macfarlanes commercial partner, is leading the team. He will be working with corporate partners Sean Lavin and Jeremy Courtnay-Stamp, as well as employment partner Hugh Arthur.

Senior partner Robert Sutton is unable to confirm the size of the final team, but says it “will be a very substantial one”.

He says: “It clearly is a major and exciting transaction to be involved in. Alchemy is a very good client and an important one. We are looking forward to working with them on a long-term basis.”

Macfarlanes and Nabarro Nathanson were the only two firms shortlisted after a beauty parade of nine firms, one of which was believed to be Clifford Chance, was held earlier this year.

Alchemy is a long-term client of Nabarros. The firm recently acted for the group on the £114.5m management buyout of Sanderson (The Lawyer, 13 December 1999).

Nabarros has been retained as secondary advisor to Alchemy. Corporate partner Rhidian Jones says the firm is still working for the company on other transactions.

But he adds it is possible the firm could pick up work on the deal: “We are its preferred second supplier. [Our involvement] could arise obviously if Macfarlanes has too much to do or is conflicted out.”

Norton Rose is acting for BMW on both the Alchemy deal and in its talks with Ford over the possible £2bn sale of Land Rover.

Corporate partner Robin Brooks is advising BMW with one senior assistant.

A spokeswoman confirms it is acting for the company but declines to comment further.

Munich tax and finance boutique Poellath & Partners is also on Alchemy's panel although it was not used for the UK deal.