Slaughter and May has stepped in to represent Anglo American on its £1.2bn bid for Tarmac after Linklaters & Alliance - Anglo American's usual legal adviser - was conflicted out.
Linklaters is unable to represent Anglo American as it is acting for longtime client Tarmac.
Nigel Boardman, corporate partner at Slaughters, says the firm is pleased to pick up the work but accepts that Tarmac will continue to be represented by Linklaters in all other work.
He says: "I do not expect us to be retained by Anglo American. These situations do happen and it is always very upsetting when you have got a long-standing relationship but cannot act for them."
Laura Carstensen and Shaun Goodman, both corporate partners at Slaughters, are working alongside Boardman. Boardman confirms that the team will increase in size as the deal progresses.
Richard Godden, corporate partner at Linklaters, is leading a 10-strong team including antitrust partner Tony Morris and corporate partner Owen Clay.
Godden says: "Obviously in these situations it is right we stand aside for other parties and represent the client that is the target."
The firm also acted for Tarmac on the recent demerger of its construction arm Carillion. (The Lawyer 2 August)
Linklaters has been retained by Carillion although Masons, which was a longtime adviser to both Carillion and Tarmac will now only act for Carillion.
Slaughters and Linklaters are also working on building material group RMC's £900m bid for cement producer Rugby Group.
The Linklaters team, which is advising RMC, is led by corporate partner Shane Griffen. Corporate partner Paul Olney is heading the Slaughters team acting for the Rugby Group.
Slaughters' team of seven includes employment partner Jonathan Fenn and competition partner Malcolm Nicholson.
Godden says that the two deals happening concurrently is typical of the construction business at the moment. "This is an industry that is consolidating and restructuring and there is a lot of work out there," he says.