Slaughter and May has won a choice instruction from 3i over its impending rights issue.
Corporate partner Martin Hattrell is understood to be representing the private equity group as it considers an equity raising of between £500m and £700m.
Hattrell has been advising the group on how to deal with its £2bn debt mountain for several months.
Slaughters has emerged as key adviser for 3i on its listed activity. The firm acted on two flotations of two funds in 2007, with corporate partner Kathy Hughes and Hattrell advising on the £700m IPO of an infrastructure fund in March, as well as the flotation of 3i Quoted Private Equity in July that year.
3i traditionally picks advisers based on individuals rather than firm expertise. Chris Hales of Travers Smith is on the panel – he acted on 3i’s purchase of a majority stake in lingerie chain Agent Provocateur in November 2007.
Macfarlanes’ private equity partner Charles Meek is also on the 3i roster, having previously led on the acquisition of financial adviser Bestinvest in 2007.
Clifford Chance partner James Baird has a close relationship with the private equity group, with the firm also acting on fund formation matters.
3i’s general counsel is Kevin Dunn, a former managing director of General Electric who took over in November 2007 following the retirement of longstanding general counsel Tony Brierley. Dunn oversees a team of 14 solicitors at the group’s headquarters in Westminster.
After news of the rights issue plan was leaked to the Daily Telegraph, the group released a statement saying it was “considering a range of financing options including the potential issue of new equity”.
3i is expected to make an announcement after reporting its annual results later this month.