City firms join forces for bank sell-off

Leading city firms Slaughter and May and Freshfields are advising on the £1 billion bid by Dresdner, Germany's second-biggest bank, for leading UK investment bank Kleinwort Benson.

An offer document will now be produced and passed to Kleinwort's shareholders, who will vote on the bid recommended by the UK bank's board.

The Slaughter and May team is advising Kleinworts. It is led by senior partner Giles Henderson, with corporate partners Tim Clark and Nigel Boardman, and a team of up to 10 assistants.

Slaughters has a long track record advising Kleinworts on corporate finance work, including the recent British Aerospace bid for VSEL.

Anthony Salz, Freshfields' corporate department head, and corporate partners David Graham and Edward Braham led a team of around 12 to 15 lawyers providing mergers and acquisitions advice for Dresdner.

The four-partner Frankfurt office was also involved in the deal. The firm worked alongside Dresdner's in-house team, led by general counsel Dr Franken.

Major issues include regulatory, tax and EU competition matters, competition law, takeover code, compliance, share schemes and employees' rights, and offer terms.

Logistical complexities arose from the global nature of both banks. Dresdner Bank Group has offices in more than 60 countries,

employing almost 45,000 people. Kleinworts employs 3,100 people in 25 offices in 21 countries.

Freshfields has acted for Dresdner since early 1991 and advised on Dresdner's own international public offering and that of airline Lufthansa, both in 1994.

Germany's number one bank Deutsche took over UK merchant bank Morgan Grenfell, while Charterhouse was acquired by German bank BHF and French bank CCF several years ago.