and sidelines CC and Ashursts on Candover

Linklaters‘ London office has completed its first deal for private equity giant Candover, traditionally a client sewn up by an Ashurst Morris Crisp and Clifford Chance duopoly.

The firm acted for Candover on the acquisition of a majority stake in part of the Anglo-Dutch private bank Insinger de Beaufort (see Deals page 10). It is understood that neither Ashursts nor Clifford Chance were conflicted out.

The deal was led by partner Graham White, who moved to Linklaters two years ago from SJ Berwin, where he acted for Candover on its £210m buyout of First Leisure’s bar chain.

The magic circle firm has acted for Candover for some time, but the relationship has been limited to its European network. Paris partner David Aknin has worked for Candover for more than two years and got its entrance into the massive Wendel Legrand buyout courtesy of this relationship.

Until this year, the firm has had little visible success in extending the relationship to its London private equity practice. However, it is understood that since joining Linklaters, White has worked on other deals for Candover that did not complete.

It is not expected that Linklaters will completely displace either Clifford Chance or Ashursts, but sources at the firm say it expects to receive more work from Candover. A Linklaters source claimed that the firm did not low-ball on fees for the deal.

Since joining from SJ Berwin, White has had considerable success in building a private equity practice for Linklaters. His breakthrough deal came last autumn when he completed the acquisition of Kwik-Fit for CVC.