Pinsent Masons and Slaughter and May have helped Asda in a major acquisition that could see it become the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain.
Asda will acquire 193 Netto stores from the Danish chain Dansk Supermarked for £778m, which will see the Wal-Mart subsidary’s total number of UK stores overtake that of J Sainsbury, while also lending it an inner-city presence.
Slaughters partners Kathy Hughes and Nigel Boardman advised longstanding client Asda on corporate matters, but the surprise move came in Pinsents winning all the property work, in addition to commercial contracts, employment and pensions matters.
The firm’s real estate partner Tom Johnson led on the transaction. Although Pinsents has advised on property matters in the past – it handled real estate when Asda sold Gazeley in 2008 – it is not a formal adviser in that area.
Head of IP Catrin Turner is the firm’s relationship partner, having brought Asda over from her former firm McGrigors.
The Netto deal comes as Asda undertakes a major review of its property advisers. The chain has sent out tenders to around 10 firms with a view to appointing a retail development panel by the summer. Current advisers in that area are Eversheds, Beachcroft, Dundas & Wilson and Ward Hadaway (The Lawyer, 24 May).
Last year Asda undertook a review of its corporate and commercial panel, slashing the roster from 14 to just three firms, with Pinsents successfully appointed.
Netto was advised by corporate partner Ian Gilbert and property partner Andrew Moodie at Walker Morris.