BLP loses Monsoon expansion work to FFW

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has pipped Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) to advise fashion chain Monsoon on a review of its franchise agreement, as the retailer looks to expand its international exposure by opening stores in a further nine countries.

In a coup for FFW, partner Mark Abell has been instructed to conduct the review. This instruction will be the first that the firm has received from Monsoon.

Abell managed to swing the instruction away from Monsoon’s traditional corporate adviser BLP, which has a longstanding relationship with the retailer, including advising it on its initial listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1998 and its transfer to AIM in 2003.

Company secretary and general counsel for Monsoon Rosalynde Harrison explained that FFW had won the instruction following a recommendation from Monsoon’s international director Mark Vandenberghe, who joined the retailer from Arcadia last June. Arcadia has a longstanding relationship with FFW.

Harrison said: “We’ll be reviewing our franchising agreement over the coming months to deal with the expanding international business. Any proposals for updates will be put to the board for approval. Fees will depend on the extent of the board’s perception for the need of any updates.”

Abell confirmed that he was advising Monsoon.

The review comes as Monsoon pursues plans to expand its franchise internationally, including the acquisition of seven stores in Moscow. The retailer also intends to launch in nine new countries over the next 12 months.

BLP did not return calls for comment.