Norton Rose joins M&S war in shock disposal

Norton Rose has emerged as the latest law firm to benefit from the City’s battle du jour, acting for HSBC on today’s (12 July) surprise offer for Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) financial services arm.

M&S new chief executive Stuart Rose announced the sale of its financial services business earlier today as a package of measures designed to fend off a takeover by retail entrepreneur Philip Green.

HSBC’s decision to turn to Norton Rose is a boost for the firm which has seen its links with the bank weaken in Asia, where it was the preferred legal adviser.

Just two months ago HSBC gave a mandate to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer when it bought a stake in China’s fifth largest lender Bank of Communications.

A Slaughters team led by corporate partner William Underhill acted on the financial services arm disposal for M&S.

An eleven-partner team from Norton Rose led by corporate finance partner Margaret Coltman advised HSBC around the clock from Friday (8 July) lunchtime until this morning to complete the deal in time for the long awaited M&S shareholder meeting where Rose unveiled his future plans for an independent M&S.

M&S is in an offer period under the Takeover Code until 6 August and must get shareholder approval for the HSBC deal or any other disposal it makes.