Slaughters in no win, no fee deal

It has emerged that Slaughter and May is working on the Pizza Express bid on a no win, no fee basis.

The arrangement is part of a fee package negotiated with Hugh Osmond’s Sun Capital last year. Slaughters will get nothing if Gondola Express, the bidding vehicle of Capricorn Ventures and TDR Capital, fails to capture the pizza chain. Should the deal go through, the firm’s success fee is just £1m for what is a complicated deal. Last year the firm persuaded Osmond to return to its arms. Sources close to Sun Capital say Osmond then negotiated a whole series of fee arrangements for ongoing work. It is understood that the Pizza Express deal was negotiated as part of Slaughters’ ongoing relationship with Osmond.

Slaughters also worked on the high-profile Six Continents (6C) bid, which was also done on a success fee. On that bid, uplift was from £1m-£12m, giving a significant upside in the case of victory.

Osmond originally intended to bid for Pizza Express himself and instructed Slaughters on the deal. When he pulled out, TDR Capital took his place alongside Capricorn and inherited the fee structure in place.

Gondola is in the driving seat on Pizza Express and will win the chain unless rival bidder Luke Johnson comes back with a better offer by 2 June. Should Gondola lose out, Slaughters may recover a small proportion of its fees if Gondola gets a break fee.