Four firms wrap up takeover deal in one day

Lawyers from Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Goodman Derrick and Slaughter and May acted on one of the fastest transactions they had ever encountered when Carlton Television made a sudden £85m bid for Westcountry Television – and secured the company in a single day.

Slaughter and May partner Stephen Cooke said he was instructed by some of Westcountry's shareholders at 9am on Friday 22 November. The transaction was completed the same day.

The Westcountry board, advised by Goodman Derrick, and some of its shareholders, advised by Herbert Smith, were close to completing a deal to sell out to Sir Clive Hollick's United News & Media, the owner of Meridian and Anglia Television, when an offer from Carlton arrived on 21 November.

Cooke said: “When someone puts £85m on the table and is prepared to sign very quickly, it's very easy to accept. It was satisfying to work so swiftly with common sense views taken by lawyers and clients.”

Clifford Chance partner Michael Francies acted for Carlton and Goodman Derrick's media partner Patrick Swaffer, and corporate partner Philip Langford acted for the Westcountry board.

Stephen Barnard, Bradley Phillips and Hilary Wiseman of Herbert Smith represented the institutional and corporate shareholders of Westcountry Television.

Goodman's Langford said: “It was very unusual to have a new offer come in so late and to be concluded so quickly.”