Landwell set to become Change Capital favourite after fund work

Accountancy-tied firm Landwell has scored a major private equity coup with an instruction from E1bn (£666m) fund Change Capital

Landwell has set up the fund for Marks & Spencer (M&S) boss Luc Vandevelde and is in discussions that may see the firm bagging Change Capital's transactional work.

Change Capital is one of a new breed of sector-focused funds and will concentrate on Western European retail and consumer targets. The fund is likely to focus on acquisitions in the €30m-€50m (£20m-£33m) bracket.

Finance partner Laura Cox won the work following a referral from the personal tax group at accounting parent Pricewaterhouse-Coopers (PwC) – Vandevelde is a important client of the group. Cox worked in a multidisciplinary team alongside PwC's tax, investment management and regulatory partners.

Landwell will not get a chance to join the Safeway battle because Vandevelde has already indicated that the retailer is too large for the fund and any stake for Change Capital would cause a conflict with his role in M&S's management.

The client win is a major boost for Landwell, which, like all accountancy-tied firms, is struggling with the post-Enron regulatory environment.

Last week, high-profile litigation partner Simon Whitehead and his team left for Dorsey & Whitney after one of Whitehead's US clients indicated that they could no longer instruct an accountancy-tied firm under the new Sarbanes-Oxley regime.