Simmons bags entry to Safeway battle

Firm profits from A&O conflict to win Philip Green instruction

Simmons & Simmons has scooped the last coveted place in the battle for Safeway, after being appointed to advise retail entrepreneur Philip Green.
Green's likely first choice would have been Allen & Overy, but the magic circle firm is already advising Morrisons' financial advisers ABN Amro.
Simmons won the work through a recommendation from Lord Grabiner QC, chairman of Arcadia, the Icelandic group that Green acquired last year, and head of One Essex Court Chambers.
It is known that Lord Grabiner has worked closely with Simmons’ highly-rated head of competition Peter Freeman in the past.
The win is a coup for Simmons after Slaughter and May was appointed to act for Asda/Wal-Mart on the bid for Safeway. Simmons had advised Wal-Mart on its takeover of Asda in 1999.
However, Asda opted for its long-term law firm Slaughters to represent it on this latest bid. The team at Simmons is being led by head of corporate finance Stuart Evans with Mark Curtis.