A nice stocking filler
Another Slaughters win: Morgan Stanley, which is advising Euronext on its battle for the London Stock Exchange (LSE), recommended its client to use Slaughters as its lead legal adviser on the deal, displacing Cleary in the process.
The surprise has been how Cleary has managed to keep a tight rein on Euronext’s UK work until now, given the scale of its London corporate offering. The US firm acted as lead adviser for the stock exchange on its winning 2001 bid for the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe), then advised by Clifford Chance.
Euronext, and rival Germany’s Deutsche Börse, which lost out on Liffe, will fight for LSE (advised by Freshfields) and the chance to become Europe’s dominant exchange.
The battle will be highly political and bitter, and the Euronext board no doubt felt it needed more firepower. As a consolation, Euronext has let Cleary keep some minor bits of the UK corporate work and the competition law filing.
Morgan Stanley has historically been associated with Freshfields and Linklaters, but Slaughters worked closely with it on three major deals last year, all pretty good adverts for its charms: the Canary Wharf acquisition; the Abbey National-Banco Santander merger, where Slaughters and the bank advised Abbey; and Marks & Spencer, where they teamed up to defend the retailer against Philip Green’s bid.
While the Liffe bid was dominated by US firms in London (Cleary aside, Deutsche Börse was advised by Shearman back in 2001), the City’s native firms will take centre stage on the LSE bid. Deutsche Börse has also used Norton Rose, but last year turned to Ashurst heavyweight Chris Ashworth, giving a first-time instruction to the top 10 firm. It seems everyone’s getting another bite of the cherry.
Bar Council goes all Clementi
Shock, horror: the Bar Council is falling in line with Clementi. The council’s general management committee (GMC) will vote later this month on whether to overhaul its complaints handling system. Key proposed changes include separating those involved in its complaints investigation arm from its adjudication side, and allowing the council the right to appeal its disciplinary tribunal’s decisions.
At least on disciplinary matters, therefore, the council, which commissioned the working party that drew up the proposals, seems in tune with Clementi. However, considering Clementi’s reforms will supersede the council’s, then even if the GMC passes the proposals, it is unlikely that they will be in place for long. But good on you, chaps.
The big grapple
As Clifford Chance’s Pete Cornell jets off to New York, Grapevine can reveal that it’s not the first time he was asked to stay in the US. The word is that two years ago Cornell was due to spend the summer in New York, but family responsibilities got in the way. This time, Cornell’s communication skills are going to be at a premium as the firm’s management tries to get the Americans inside their huge global tent.
While Cornell wags his finger at the naughty Yanks, it seems that the Germans have come top of the class. Having managed out nearly 50 partners in the last few years and closed Berlin, the Pünder lot are now flavour of the month in Upper Bank Street – which may give you some idea of what the Americans ought to expect.