Freshfields in £1m fight for Marks & Spencer fees

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

faces an uphill struggle to recover the £1m-plus fees it incurred advising Philip Green on his aborted bid for Marks & Spencer (M&S).

Although Freshfields was acting in good faith, it was removed from the deal by the High Court in June when a conflict of interest emerged over advice the firm gave M&S on its Per Una contract.

Sources at the firm have indicated to The Lawyer that Barry O’Brien, who led on the deal, intends to have a dialogue with Green about fees in the future. However, one member of the Green camp indicated that the fact that the firm was in a position to be injuncted was “a disappointment”. Green was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

It is understood that no formal decision was made on fee structures when Freshfields was instructed in May.

Freshfields put a 50-strong team on the deal for a month, including five partners, although this figure includes a number of support staff.

Freshfields will also have to pay up to an estimated £250,000 more to M&S adviser Slaughter and May to cover the costs of work Slaughters did in injuncting its M&A rival.

Freshfields declined to comment.