Go on lookout for new firms after BA sell-off

Go, the budget airline sold by British Airways (BA) to 3i, is in the market for legal advice.
None of the legal advisers involved in the sell-off have been kept on. “The company is still finalising details of its new status. It will have to decide what to do on this matter,” said Ashurst Morris Crisp private equity partner Charlie Geffen, who advised Go’s management team, led by Barbara Cassani.
3i was advised by Macfarlanes, with private equity partner Charles Meek leading the team. Slaughter and May corporate partner David Wittmann advised BA on the £100m disposal of the airline.
This is the first time Ashursts has acted for the Go management team. “When we heard of the deal we decided to approach Cassani for the work. We realised she needed independent advice so she would need independent lawyers.” Geffen is unsure whether the relationship will continue.
David Wittmann started advising BA on the disposal of Go last November. Slaughters tax partner Tony Beare also worked on the deal.
Wittmann provided BA with corporate advice on organising the bidding process for Go. He advised the company to sell the airline through an auction process. BA approached several private equity houses to bid in the auction, and according to Meek, 3i was given exclusivity by around March this year.
This is the first time Wittmann has led a team for BA, whose main relationship partner at Slaughters is Stephen Cooke, an expert in mergers and acquisitions. Slaughters has worked for BA since last June, beating BA’s old preferred firm Linklaters & Alliance to the work when it advised the company on a possible merger with Dutch Airline KLM (The Lawyer, 12 June 2000).
The other Slaughters partners in the general BA team are: Phillippe Chappatte, Cathy Hughes, Tom Kinnersley, David Bicknell, Nigel Swycher, Patrick Jennings and Steve Edge.