Ashurst bypasses Eversheds to win Stanley Leisure joint venture work

Ashurst bypasses Eversheds to win Stanley Leisure joint venture work” />FTSE 250 gaming company Stanley Leisure has turned to Ashurst over Eversheds on its joint venture with Malaysian casino group Genting.

Stanley Leisure is the tenth listed company to give Ashurst a first-time instruction in the past six months.

The company has historically used Eversheds for the full range of its legal advisory work, but it is understood that the gaming company decided to give Ashurst a chance after a recommendation from Stanley’s new finance director Colin Child.

It is also understood that Eversheds continues to advise Stanley Leisure and received a new instruction from the company last week.
Genting was advised by long-standing law firm Clifford Chance. The Genting relationship partner is Adam Signy, but Signy is also advising on Melrose’s hostile takeover of Novar so corporate partner Raj Parkash led on the Stanley deal. Ashurst partner Bruce Hanton led for Stanley Leisure.

The joint venture will see Stanley Leisure and Genting develop a network of regional casinos following the introduction of new legislation, which will liberalise current rules on gaming.

The deal went ahead despite the fact that the Government, after a cabinet revolt, reduced the number of proposed regional casinos from more than 40 to just eight.

During the past six months, Ashurst has won a total of 10 new listed clients including Stanley. In another gaming sector deal, the firm advised Sportingbet, usually a Linklaters client, on its £169.1m acquisition of Paradise Poker earlier this month.

Ashurst is also advising Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) on a joint venture with pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca, which has also bought up 20 per cent of CAT’s shares. CAT is usually advised by Herbert Smith, but it is understood that the firm was conflicted. AstraZeneca was advised by Bird & Bird.

Other new clients include IT outsourcing company Aveva and data storage company InTechnology.