Philip Green is set to appoint a new law firm within the next few hours to potentially replace Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Freshfields is currently waiting to appeal an injunction brought against the firm yesterday by Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) law firm Slaughter and May with a hearing set for 2.00pm this afternoon (3 June).
However Green, who confirmed his £9bn bid for the retailer this morning, is seeking an alternative law firm. Merrill Lynch, financial adviser with Goldman Sachs to Green, is understood to scouting out a new law firm at the moment.
Which firm the billionaire businessman will choose though is not clear as a number of the City’s leading corporate advisers have already been retained. At present, Lovells is thought to be a frontrunner along with Ashurst.
Lovells has worked with Green in the past when the billionaire businessman, with the backing of Lovells client the Barclay Brothers, bought out retail group Sears in 1999. Ashurst could also be in frame though as yet it is not known if the firm has already been retained elsewhere.
Linklaters is believed to be acting for M&S advisers Citibank and Morgan Stanley. Herbert Smith would be probably be conflicted since it advised George Davies, former Asda fashion guru, on his contract when he joined M&S.
Allen & Overy, although it has acted for Green in the past, is currently advising M&S on debt finance issues.
Simmons & Simmons could have been another potential although it was recently appointed as main legal adviser to fashion chain New Look.
Freshfields declined to comment.