Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance were also handed mandates on a deal that will create one of the UK’s largest supermarket groups, accounting for about 8 per cent of the market.
Kirkland & Ellis is representing Somerfield alongside A&O, while the Co-op called on Addleshaw Goddard and Clifford Chance.
Somerfield has an historic relationship with Linklaters through Raymond McKeeve, who left the magic circle firm to join Kirkland & Ellis in 2006, taking with him private equity client Robert Tchenguiz, who owns a stake in Somerfield.
Shortly after McKeeve’s departure, Somerfield company secretary Emily Martin denied claims that the supermarket would necessarily follow McKeeve to Kirkland and pledged to retain Linklaters as key corporate adviser (The Lawyer, 23 October 2006).
McKeeve has since left the law, but fellow Linklaters hire Graham White has secured a place for Kirkland & Ellis on the Co-op deal.
White is advising the Somerfield management and private equity owners Apax, Barclays Capital and R20, the Robert Tchenguiz vehicle. Linklaters retains a place on the transaction, representing the lending banks.
Co-op general counsel Philip Hardman has called on panel firm Addleshaw Goddard and Manchester-based corporate partners Jim Tully, Paul Devitt and Richard Thomas alongside London banking partner Phillip Slater. The Co-op also received competition advice from Clifford Chance partner Alex Nourry.
Clifford Chance has a longstanding relationship with the Co-op, with Nourry advising the supermarket on its £9.5bn merger with Rochdale-based grocer United Co-operatives in 2007, despite the firm being removed from its panel the previous year.
A&O antitrust partner Mark Friend is providing competition advice for Somerfield.