Freshfields scoops HMV over Simmons on Permira bid

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has scooped the lead instruction over Simmons & Simmons to advise HMV on a potential bid for the struggling entertainment retailer by Permira.

HMV selected the magic circle firm for the role after private equity house Permira made a preliminary bid approach.

Freshfields has acted for HMV in the past, but it is understood this is the first major M&A deal the magic circle firm has handled for the retailer.

A spokesperson for HMV told The Lawyer that Freshfields was chosen over Simmons on this occasion, to allow Simmons to focus on its bid for Ottakar’s, which is currently before the Competition Commission.

He said Simmons continued to act for HMV as its primary legal adviser.

“We felt that because both cases were so important, it was better to diversify,” he said. “Freshfields has done some work for us in the past and we maintain a good relationship with the firm but Simmons remains our core legal adviser.”

After a delayed investigation, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred HMV’s pending acquisition of Ottakar’s to the Competition Commission last month.

It is understood Clifford Chance is acting for Permira, which made the initial bid approach last week.

HMV, whose chief executive Alan Giles announced he will leave at the end of the year, issued a profit warning in January.

The Lawyer contacted Freshfields and Simmons, but both declined to comment.