Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents win Diageo adviser spots

Drinks giant Diageo has named Addleshaw Goddard, Pinsent Masons and Slaughter and May its formal ‘preferred suppliers’ in the UK following a four-month review.

The three firms have won places on the FTSE 100 company’s consolidated panel, its first review since new general counsel Siobhan Moriarty took the reins in mid 2013.

Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents will take charge of a broad spread of work and will operate alongside a list of ‘specialist approved suppliers’. The agreement kicks in on 1 April 2014 and will run until 30 June 2016.

The three firms have been prolific in UK work for Diageo. Slaughers has acted on numerous high-profile deals for the company over the past few years including Diageo’s 53.4 per cent acquisition in India’s United Spirits for £1.28bn in 2012 (9 November 2012). 

London-based corporate partners Simon Nicholls, Robin Ogle and Padraig Cronin led on that deal but the firm has offered up a broad spread of partners over the years.

Earlier in the year the firm proferred corporate partner Tim Pharoah and tax partners Steve Edge and Sara Luder for Diageo’s potential acquisition of the tequila brand Jose Cuervo.  Slaughters took a lead role on the deal alongside Cravath Swaine & Moore and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Addleshaws and Pinsents also have a strong history with the brand, though much of Addleshaw’s work for the company has been in Africa. London-based corporate partner Andrew Rosling advised the company on the…merger of Guinness Ghana and Ghana Breweries in 2003. He has also worked on various interlinked joint ventures with Heineken and Namibia Breweries in Southern Africa.

Meanwhile Pinsents has retained a link with Diageo since beating Addleshaws and Slaughters in 2003 in a beauty parade for the company’s $1bn IT outsourcing mandate (15 September 2003).

Diageo’s last panel review was in 2009 when CMS Cameron McKenna won a preferred frim spot for commercial work across continental Europe. The firm was appointed as Diageo launched an informal review into how it could cut legal spend globally without creating a formal panel.

Corporate partner and head of consumer products group Louise Wallace manages that relationship.

It comes following an internal reshuffle. The company replaced its outgoing general counsel Tim Proctor with former European general counsel Siobhan Moriarty in June 2013 following Proctor’s retirement.