Exclusive: Amey mulls legal panel as £385m merger prompts in-house rejig

Amey is considering introducing a formal legal panel within a year following the infrastructure support group’s merger with rival Enterprise.

Wayne Robertson
Wayne Robertson

The Oxford-based company combined its in-house legal team with Enterprise’s six-strong operation following the deal, resulting in Amey head of legal Wayne Robertson taking the group legal director role in charge of the merged team.

Former Pinsent Masons and Walker Morris lawyer Mark Sanderson, formerly Enterprise’s group legal director, remains at the Lancashire business reporting to Robertson. Sanderson – whose job title has not been confirmed – will work with Robertson integrating the two legacy teams, which together comprise 16 to 17 staff covering legal and company secretarial matters.

The £385m takeover of Enterprise by Spain’s Ferrovial, Enterprise’s parent company, reached completion earlier this month, with Pinsents acting for Heathrow Airport owner Ferrovial and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advising private equity seller 3i.

The acquisition was effectively a combination of Amey with Enterprise, which together have a turnover of £2.3bn and 21,000 employees.

Robertson, who qualified at DJ Freeman and has worked in-house at BT, Accenture HR Services and BOC Group, said the growth of the in-house team could lead to a formalisation of the firm’s adviser roster within twelves months but insisted it was too early to predict exactly what the outcome would be.

He told The Lawyer: “Obviously the size of the team has doubled so we need to look into these kinds of relationships. We’ll definitely be looking at this. We haven’t had a formal panel – we may look at forming that going forward.”

No pitch documents have gone out to firms yet, with tender-related matters handled by a small procurement team within the legal department rather than the company’s separate procurement function.

Amey currently instructs firms including DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Wragge & Co. For projects and infrastructure work it uses Ashurst, which previously advised it on plc matters before its delisting on being taken over by Ferrovial in 2003.

Other firms it hires include CMS Cameron McKenna, Morgan Cole and Osborne Clarke, all for litigation.

Robertson joined Amey in 2006 and in 2009 replaced Carol Hui as legal chief following her exit to the British Airport Authority (now Heathrow Airport Holdings) (4 March 2011).

Heathrow recently completed its panel review, appointed firms including Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills and Pinsents (4 March 2013).

Ferrovial frequently uses Freshfields, including for its recent sale of a 5.7 per cent stake in Heathrow to China Investment Corporation (1 November 2012).