CMS Cameron McKenna has muscled in on what is an otherwise magic circledominated defence auction for Project Services, the nuclear decommissioning unit of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL).

Camerons is advising defence and support company VT Group, which at press time was one of two final bidders for Project Services. Corporate finance partner Jason Zemmel is leading the team.

BNFL has turned to longstanding client Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to steer it through the auction process. It is expected that Project Services will fetch almost £100m at auction, managed by NM Rothschild.

Competing against VT is Italy’s Finmeccanica. It is unknown which firm Finmeccanica has instructed, although historically it has ties with Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance, Chiomenti Studio Legale and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Camerons advised VT last year when it purchased RAC’s vehicle support division for £87m. VT also has strong ties to Linklaters, where general counsel Matthew Jowett practised before moving in-house.

A&O advised Finmeccanica on a major defence sector deal in 2003 that saw the Italian conglomerate set up a joint venture with BAE Systems.

At Freshfields, corporate partner Martin Nelson-Jones is leading the team for BNFL. The state-owned agency was restructured in 2006 at which time it sold Westinghouse, its power station construction subsidiary, to Skadden client Toshiba for £2.8bn. Freshfields also advised BNFL on that deal.

The relationship with the agency is managed at the firm by head of construction and engineering Sally Roe.