Weil bills £15m on MF Global administration

Legal fees incurred by the administrators of the UK arm of global broker MF Global have breached the £18m mark, with US firm Weil Gotshal & Manges taking the bulk by billing over £15m.

A special administrators’ report published last week by partners Michael Pink, Richard Fleming and Richard Heis at KPMG details the fees related to the case incurred by Weil, Norton Rose and barristers at 3-4 South Square between 1 May and 30 October this year.

Weil billed £5.8m during the period, which in addition to the £9.3m stated in an earlier report for 31 October 2011 to 30 April 2012 gives total billings for the firm of £15.1m.

Norton Rose billed a total of £2.09m, according to the filings, including £1.07m between October 2011 and April 2012 and £1.02m between May and October 2012.

The UK firm advised the KPMG partners on regulatory issues, with London partner Jonathan Herbst leading the team.

Meanwhile, £1.2m was billed for time spent by counsel advising on the case, with at least the bulk of this going to a team at South Square, where barristers including Martin Pascoe QC and Daniel Bayfield advised the administrators. The figure includes £548,000 between October 2011 and April 2012 and £667,000 between May and October 2012.

The filings state that the legal fees have been billed but not fully paid.

Overall billings for advice from solicitors and barristers came to £18.4m, broken up as £10.9m in the first six months and £7.49m between May and October this year.

MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US and administration in the UK in October last year, with a Weil team headed by City restructuring partner Adam Plainer appointed to advise the UK administrators and MF Global UK (1 November 2011).

Separately, the FSA was advised on the case by Ashurst, which fielded a team led by litigation partner Ed Sparrow, with Glen Davis QC of South Square representing the regulator in court in proceedings in October during which MF Global UK became the first company to file for administration under new Special Administration Rules.

Slaughter and May and US firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed also advised MF Global’s liquidation trustee after the City firm’s involvement was approved by an order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on 9 February this year.

The Slaughters team included restructuring partners George Seligman and Sarah Paterson, disputes partner Elizabeth Barrett and financial regulation partner Jan Putnis.

The news follows confirmation of Weil’s fees of $383m for its role advising Lehman Brothers on its 2008 collapse, with Linklaters also bringing in a significant amount for its advice to the bank’s UK administrators (6 March 2012).

Lehman’s UK legal fees in the first year following the administration filing came to $112m, with a large proportion of this going to Linklaters (20 October 2009).