Travers Smith in management instruction on Hamleys’ MBO

Travers Smith Braithwaite saw off competition from two rival law firms to scoop the mandate on the public-to-private buyout of toy emporium Hamleys.

The management buyout, which values Hamleys at £47.2m, was backed by Iceland’s largest retailer Baugur and headed by the toy shop’s chief operating officer John Watkinson and finance director Ian Parker. Baugur was advised by Allen & Overy.

Chris Hale, head of corporate and private equity at Travers Smith, said the firm was asked to tender for a role advising the management in February.

Commenting on whether fees formed part of the criteria in winning the beauty parade, Hale said: “I don’t even think that price was mentioned.”

KPMG Corporate Finance was involved in the tender process as financial adviser to the bidder and received legal representation from DLA.

A team at Norton Rose, led by acquisition finance partner Tom Speechley, consolidated its standing as one of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s law firms of choice on mid-market deals by representing the bank on its £33.9m investment in the new company.

Icelandic bank Íslandsbanki provided a £10.3m injection of mezzanine for the deal, advised by Ashurst Morris Crisp.

Denton Wilde Sapte reprised its role as law firm to Hamleys, which received financial advice from Close Brothers Corporate Finance. It is not yet clear whether Dentons will continue to act for Hamleys now that the company has been taken private.