Firms sweat on outcome of Granada panel review

Lovells remains in the fold; DLA’s, Goodman Derrick’s and Olswang’s places less sure

Granada has started reviewing its legal advisers for corporate and media work, with firms having submitted their tenders two weeks ago.

Firms under scrutiny are Granada’s main mid-cap corporate and media advisers DLA, Goodman Derrick and Olswang. They are competing with Denton Wilde Sapte and Charles Russell, firms that do not currently work for Granada but which have been invited to tender. The company also uses Cheltenham firm Wiggin & Co, which would not confirm whether it had been invited to tender.

It is understood that Granada is not reviewing its big-ticket corporate work, which is done by Lovells. It has also chosen not to review its legal advisers for property and employment.

A spokesperson for Granada confirmed that the company was reviewing its legal advisers in corporate and media.
Several insiders close to the review process confirmed that Lovells’ relationship with Granada was not in question.

Charles Russell, Dentons, DLA and Olswang are competing with each other to advise on mid-cap corporate deals, film finance, broadcast content and regulatory and sports work. Goodman Derrick does defamation work for Granada, which the other three are all renowned for.

There is no indication from Granada of how many firms it will settle on. Insiders predict that Granada may want to use more than one of the firms for general corporate work so as to have advisers on hand who are cheaper than those at Lovells.

“Lovells are simply too expensive for most things, apart from the huge deals,” said one source. “Media and mid-sized firms with a corporate capability can do corporate work for £250 an hour, which could be nearly half of what Lovells charges.”

Firms first became aware that the media giant was going to review its legal advisers before Christmas, but they did not know what shape the review was going to take.

The Lawyer has been informed that Granada head of legal Kyla Mullens wrote to the company’s external legal advisers at the end of last year, asking them what they did for Granada and, crucially, how much they charged.