Kirkland & Ellis has lured trophy client property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz away from longstanding adviser Linklaters following the hire of partners Graham White and Raymond McKeeve.

McKeeve and White advised investment vehicle R20, which acts as adviser to Robert Tchenguiz and the Tchenguiz Family Trust, on its £180m joint acquisition of Menzies Hotel Group from Nikko Principal Investments.

It is the first deal that the pair has successfully completed for Tchenguiz since joining Kirkland, having acted on several unsuccessful deals, including the £550m auction of the Alska portfolio of pubs by Punch Taverns.

McKeeve and White joined the US firm in March from Linklaters. While at Linklaters, they most notably advised a consortium comprising Tchenguiz, Apax and Barclays Capital on the take-private of Somerfield Stores in 2005.

They were assisted on the R20 deal by another of Kirkland’s recent hires, former Allen & Overy acquisition finance partner Stephen Gillespie.