Slaughters lands key Alliance-Boots mandate

Slaughter and May has pipped Allen & Overy to represent Alliance-Boots in its first major corporate transaction since last year’s £8.1bn merger between Alliance Unichem and Boots: its £9.7bn approach from US private equity house Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

The two firms squared up in the original merger, with Slaughters representing Boots and A&O representing Alliance Unichem. Since then, both firms have been vying to land the role of Alliance-Boots’ go-to firm.

Alliance-Boots general counsel Marco Pagni has confirmed to The Lawyer that on this occasion, he had instructed Slaughters.

KKR, advised by Clifford Chance, is backing Alliance-Boots’ deputy chairman, Stefano Pessina, in his attempt to take private the high-street giant. Pessina is being advised by Macfarlanes and French boutique Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier.

KKR is also one of the private equity houses in the consortium represented by Clifford Chance that is currently mulling an offer for Britain’s third-largest supermarket and Linklaters client J Sainsbury.

Alliance-Boots’ shares soared by 14 per cent to 930 pence once the company was forced by the Takeover Panel to reveal that it had received a friendly approach from KKR.

Its banking adviser is Goldman Sachs, although chairman Sir Nigel Rudd is reportedly looking to appoint another financial adviser because of Goldman Sach’s historic relationship with KKR.