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Acquisitive builder Taylor Woodrow has overlooked its historic plc adviser Norton Rose to appoint Slaughter and May on its agreed takeover of Wilson Connolly for £480m in cash and shares.
Norton Rose's relationship with Taylor Woodrow goes back more than 10 years, with corporate heavyweight Barbara Stephenson acting as the main contact. The firm advised the housebuilder on its March 2001 acquisition of Bryant Homes for £535m.
Taylor Woodrow's group general counsel Jeremy Sampson has been building up the Slaughter and May relationship. Partner Jeff Twentyman is advising on the takeover, while Wilson Connolly has appointed Herbert Smith for the first time.
Sampson said he has not ruled out Norton Rose for the future. "I felt it was healthy to have a choice of supplier - as we do across our business," he said.
Sampson is already working on integration planning. One possibility is that the Wilson Connolly property work will be outsourced to Taylor Woodrow property advisers Eversheds and CMS Cameron McKenna. Wilson Connolly has historically used Wragge & Co for corporate work and strategic land acquisition work and Eversheds for plot sales and some land acquisition.