Allen & Overy (A&O) and Baker & McKenzie have won lead mandates on the bidding war for Stephenson Harwood client Lavendon.

UK-based machine and equipment operator Lavendon sought advice from Stephenson Harwood corporate head Andrew Edge amid two takeover offers from Belgian materials company TVH and French group Loxam.

A&O partner Richard Hough advised Loxam, with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton working with the company’s financial advisers. Partner Pierre-Marie Boury has been working on matters in London, with partner Valérie Lemaitre advising from Paris.

TVH has meanwhile turned to a team from Bakers led by partner Helen Bradley.

The company, which made an offer for Lavendon several days before Loxam, has already incurred legal costs of up to £1.25m.

It is understood to have made an offer of £348m, although this has not yet been accepted by the Lavendon board.

This is not the first time TVH has made a bid for Lavendon, which supplies powered access machines to support the filming and worldwide televising of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, among other things. It has depots across the Middle East and Europe.

Background to the deal 

Lavendon was formerly an Ashurst client but the relationship has since moved over to Stephenson Harwood following the move of former Ashurst partner Edge in 2010.

This is the first major M&A transaction on which Stephenson Harwood has acted for Lavendon, with the company having turned to Eversheds’ Birmingham office on a number of smaller deals in the past. Prior to the change of relationship, Ashurst worked on multiple acquisitions for the company, as well as a management buyout and an IPO prior to 2010.

Bakers is a longstanding adviser to TVH, advising earlier this year on its acquisition of France Hayon Group.