Trading body to rule on Heinz bid for HP

Heinz will find out this week if its decision to sideline its lead legal adviser Clifford Chance has paid off, with the Competition Commission set to release its judgment on the company’s takeover of HP Foods Group.

Slaughter and May was appointed as its leading legal team last October after the acquisition of HP Foods was referred to the Competition Commission.

The decision was understood to have come as a shock to Clifford Chance, which advised Heinz on its purchase of HP Foods.

Slaughters competition head Malcolm Nicholson led the team for Heinz along with fellow competition partner Bertrand Louveaux.

Heinz director of corporate affairs Michael Mullen insisted that Slaughters was brought in to “add to resources”.

The commission is expected to hand down its findings regarding the completed acquisition this week. The Office of Fair Trading has asked the commission to investigate whether customers will be affected by the reduction of competition regarding the supply of tomato ketchup and brown sauce, as well as other food products.

Clifford Chance and Slaughters declined to comment.