Slaughters helps Barratt break the FTSE100

Slaughter and May client Barratt emerged victorious in the £2.13bn battle for Wilson Bowden, which gifted lead roles to much of the magic circle.

The combination will create a £5bn, FTSE 100 company.

As first reported in The Lawyer (18 December), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted for longstanding client Wilson Bowden, fielding a team headed by corporate partners Gareth Stephenson and Stephen Hewes, and consultant James Davis. HSBC led financial advice.

Freshfields has a longstanding relationship with Wilson Bowden that dates back to the company’s 1987 flotation.

Barratt, which was advised by Kathryn Davis at Slaughters, offered 950 pence-per-share in cash for its rival, plus 1.06 Barratt shares for each Wilson Bowden share. On the financial side, UBS advised on Barratt’s offer, with UBS and Credit Suisse as co-brokers.

But Barratt was not the only bidder for Wilson Bowden. Wimpey was unsuccessful. It turned to a team led by Guy Norman at Clifford Chance after a recommendation from JP Morgan. It normally uses Slaughter and May, which was obviously conflicted.

Allen & Overy advised HBOS, which backed property mogul Tom Hunter, on another unsuccessful bid.

Ashurst scored a role advising David Wilson, who founded the business in 1961 and still owns two-thirds of a 33 per cent family holding in Wilson Bowden. Ashurst London corporate head Adrian Clark led the team, while financial advisers NM Rothschild & Sons reviewed the Wilson family’s holding.