Firms signed up for Warburg deal

Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance are chief legal advisers on the £860 million deal negotiations that would end the independent existence of the leading British investment bank SG Warburg.

Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC), the leading Swiss Bank, confirms it has appointed Clifford Chance to advise. While Clifford Chance would not comment, it is understood to have fielded a 20-30 lawyer team lead by top corporate finance partners drawing heavily on banking and tax lawyers.

The SBC in-house team, led by head of legal affairs Neil Stocks, is also understood to be heavily involved.

The Clifford Chance team will be involved in due diligence and tax issues, usual fare for a bid of this size. Employment advice will also be important, particularly as investment banking is such a people-driven business.

Meanwhile Slaughters, Warburg's corporate legal adviser, is handling the bid talks. Senior partner Giles Henderson confirms that corporate partners Nigel Boardman, David Frank and William Underhill, who all have heavyweight M&A and corporate finance experience, are leading the team.

The deal could involve selling Warburg's investment banking unit to SBC. A distribution to shareholders of Warburg's 75 per cent stake in Mercury Asset Management, its fund management arm, may follow.