Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison has taken the lead role acting for Kraft Heinz on its now-withdrawn bid for Unilever, with Linklaters lining up on the opposite side.

News broke on Friday (17 February) that Kraft was lining up for a takeover of Unilever; however, in a joint statement issued yesterday the two companies said that Kraft Heinz had “amicably agreed” to withdraw its £115bn takeover bid.

Morgan Stanley, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Centreview Partners acted for Unilever on the banking side, with Lazard working for Kraft Heinz.

Slaughter and May has had a longstanding historic relationship with Unilever, however Linklaters won the top spot on Unilever’s global legal panel following the company’s first ever panel review in 2015.

Linklaters strengthened its relationship with the FTSE 100 company following the appointment of ex-Linklaters solicitor Tonia Lovell as Unilever chief legal officer in July 2010.

In 2011 Linklaters took the lead role on Unilever’s €390m (£343m) acquisition of a majority share in beauty company Concern Kalina, while in 2013 it acted on Unilever’s $5.4bn (£4.5bn) move to increase its stake in Hindustan Unilever.

Linklaters declined to comment. Paul Weiss has been contacted for comment.

In-house interview: Ritva Sotamaa, Unilever