Freshfields’ battle with Lovells for the role of chief ITV adviser has produced no end of intrigue, misinformation and acrimony. Not unlike the recent history of ITV then.
In case you’ve missed the background, ITV is one of Lovells’ flagship clients. The firm was rather miffed when Freshfields was instructed to advise on ITV’s acquisition of Friendsreunited and its delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.
The two firms clashed in an unseemly spat when it came to the league tables of FTSE100 advisers. Both firms claimed to be ITV’s primary outside counsel with a sensitive Lovells source complaining: “Freshfields is making snooty remarks… I would have thought it was below their dignity.”
ITV then instructed both Freshfields and Lovells on a hostile bid by a private equity consortium with Lovells taking the lead. ITV has plumped for the same teamsheet for its current takeover tussle, resulting in the most unlikely couple since John Major and Edwina Currie.