Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy has sealed its first deal for Sainsbury’s shareholder the Gatsby Charitable Foundation after advising on its disposal of £130m of shares in the company.

Milbank partner Tim Emmerson secured the mandate after a referral from Gatsby’s financial adviser Gleacher Shacklock.

Emmerson worked alongside Gleacher senior partner Edward Cumming-Bruce on the 2000 Orange IPO, when Emmerson was at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Cumming-Bruce was global head of equity capital markets at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.

Sainsbury’s chief corporate adviser is Linklaters.

Milbank advised Gatsby on its disposal of £130m worth of shares to investment bank UBS. The disposal was by way of an auction, and UBS, which already acts as corporate broker to Sainsbury’s the company, was advised in-house. It is understood that, within five minutes of securing the deal, UBS successfully distributed the shares among 15 institutional investors.

Gatsby instructed senior chancery silk Christopher McCall QC of Maitland Chambers on trusts issues. McCall previously advised the Wellcome Trust on the Glaxo merger.

Lord David Sainsbury established Gatsby in the 1960s. The foundation is now a public trust governed by the Charities Commission. It needed the cash for various causes to which it had made pledges, including a £40m donation to Cambridge University.

The disposal, which was watched closely by the market, represented 2.5 per cent of Sainsbury’s share capital.

The Sainsbury family still retains around 25 per cent of the company. Of this, a considerable proportion is held in a blind trust for government minister David Sainsbury.