Hillsdown adviser ousted in takeover

Hillsdown Holding's group legal adviser has been made redundant after six years following the company's takeover by US private equity group Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.

Martin Chambers, who is also company secretary at Hillsdown Holding, was informed of his redundancy on 1 September and has yet to find another post. Chambers is the sole lawyer at the company and it is expected that the US will take over legal responsibilities.

Chambers says he was expected to be made redundant, adding: “Now it is a private company they do not need all the staffing.”

The company's main legal advisers are Edge Ellison and Herbert Smith which acted for Hillsdown on the takeover by Hick Muse.

Commenting on both firms' future with the company, Chambers says: “I have no idea what is going to happen, though I suspect the operating company would want to continue using Edge Ellison for employment matters.”

He adds that neither of the firms have been signed up as part of a panel and are appointed in a “totally informal” way.

A spokesman at Herbert Smith says: “Obviously we are very sorry to see Martin leaving.”

But he added that the firm has a good relationship with the management at Hillsdown and says Chambers' redundancy will not affect that.

The company's purchase was one of the most hotly-contested takeover battles in recent times, as both Hicks Muse and UK rival Candover entered a major bidding war for Hillsdown.

In June, Hicks Muse emerged as the victor after trumping Candover's u530m bid with a u537m offer which was approved by the European Commission last month.

Although Chambers completed his articles at Clifford Turner (now Clifford Chance) before joining McKenna & Co (now Cameron McKenna), he has spent the majority of his career in-house.

Commenting on his future plans, Chambers says: “I would consider going back into private practice but I would like to end up in a large multinational company or a company that is going to float.”