Simmons beaten to HMV role by Freshfields on Permira bid

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has scooped the lead instruction over Simmons & Simmons to advise HMV on a potential bid by Permira.

The struggling entertainment retailer selected the magic circle firm for the role after private equity house Permira made a preliminary bid approach.

Freshfields has acted for HMV in the past, but it is understood that this is the first major M&A deal the magic circle firm has handled for the retailer.

A spokesperson for HMV told The Lawyer that Freshfields was chosen on this occasion to allow Simmons to focus on HMV’s bid for Ottakar’s, which is currently before the Competition Commission. “We felt that because both cases were so important it was better to diversify,” said the spokesperson. “Freshfields has done some work for us in the past and we maintain a good relationship with the firm, but Simmons remains our core legal adviser.”

Following a delayed investigation, the Office of Fair Trading referred HMV’s pending acquisition of Ottakar’s to the Competition Commission in December.

It is understood that Clifford Chance is acting for Permira, which made the initial bid approach last week.

HMV, whose chief executive Alan Giles announced that he will leave at the end of the year, issued a profit warning in January.

Freshfields and Simmons declined to comment. (First reported on www.thelawyer. com, 1 February.)