Somerfield uses Kirkland for £1.57bn takeover by Co-op

Kirkland & Ellis has muscled in on the Co-op’s £1.57bn takeover of Somerfield, winning a mandate from former Linklaters client Somerfield.

Somerfield uses Kirkland for £1.57bn takeover by Co-opKirkland & Ellis has muscled in on the Co-op’s £1.57bn takeover of Somerfield by winning a mandate from former ­Linklaters client Somerfield.

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.