Herbies, SJ Berwin win main roles on Boparan’s Northern Foods punt

Herbert Smith and SJ Berwin have taken the top mandates on the £342m recommended offer by Boparan Holdings for Northern Foods, as a bidding war continues for the UK food group.

Ashurst and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy also had roles acting for the financial advisers and senior lenders respectively on a deal that leaves previous preferred bidder Greencore out in the cold.

Herbert Smith fielded a multijurisdictional team in advising longstanding client Northern Foods on the deal. Corporate partners Gareth Roberts and Gillian Fairfield led for the City firm ­alongside banking partner Ian Yeo and senior partner Jonathan Scott, who is the firm’s Northern Foods relationship partner and who advised on competition aspects.

Roberts said: “It’s been an interesting deal to be involved on, first with Greencore and now with the new bid. It’s encouraging to see that two deals have been able to be put together.”

SJ Berwin acted for Boparan, the investment company of chicken magnate Ranjit Singh Boparan. The team advising the new client was led from the corporate group by partner William Holder and included finance partner Ian Borman and pensions partner Wyn Derbyshire.

Ashurst acted for financial advisers Goldman Sachs and Rothschild on cash confirmation work for the cash offer. The team was led by corporate partner and former head of corporate Adrian Clark, along with finance partners Mark Vickers and Doo-Soon Choi.

Milbank advised Goldman Sachs as senior lender on the offer, with London-based corporate finance partner Suhrud Mehta leading for the US firm.

The Boparan bid came after the Takeover Panel extended a ’put up or shut up’ deadline for offers for the target company.

Greencore, whose all-share merger bid was tabled last November, issued a statement saying that it was considering its options.

Slaughter and May acted for Greencore on the ’merger by absorption’ offer, which would have marked the first time the European cross-border merger regime had been used on a UK deal.

Corporate partners Jonathan Marks and John Papanichola led on the deal for Slaughters.