Dickson Minto’s nervous wait for £1m success fee

The rumour mill tells us that Dickson Minto is about to move into the 22nd century by launching a super-modern website with individual partner profiles, but there are some ways in which the Anglo-Scottish firm is being even more zeitgeisty than its rivals.

The Slaughter and May of the north, known for its flexible billing, struck a bumper success-dependent deal with its client AG Barr that means it will receive just over £1m in extra fees if the company’s merger with drinks rival Britvic goes ahead. This would come on top of the base fee of £700,000, a small proportion of which is going to another firm.

The man of the moment is corporate partner Colin MacNeill, who agreed the conditional arrangement with Irn-Bru maker AG Barr, a longstanding client. MacNeill could be everyone’s favourite (or most envied?) colleague at Dickson Minto towers if the merger gets the go-ahead.

This isn’t certain yet: AG Barr and Britvic announced this morning that the OFT had told them of a delay to its clearance announcement, previously scheduled for this Thursday. It means the original planned date of 30 January for the merger to complete will be revised, with no new date confirmed yet.

As we detail in today’s feature, conditional fees, previously associated more with litigation than M&A, are becoming more common on corporate deals as firms increasingly see the benefit in sharing the risk with clients. The M&A fees report also details the billing arrangements of competitive bidding processes and reveals the latest on the spiralling legal fees for the Glencore-Xstrata merger, which have hit an estimated £38.9m.

Meanwhile, Dickson Minto will be nervously awaiting an OFT announcement before it’s time for Irn-Brus all round.


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