Ashurst and Pinsents stick neck out for Tesco’s £49m Giraffe buy

Ashurst and Pinsent Masons have won key roles advising on a buyout that sees supermarket giant Tesco acquire restaurant chain Giraffe for £48.6m.

Ashurst corporate partner Mark Sperotto took the lead for Tesco, which has bought a 100 per cent stake in Giraffe, with group general counsel Adrian Morris confirming that the firm is a longstanding adviser to the supermarket.

A team from Pinsents, which advised Risk Capital Partners on an original investment into Giraffe in 2004, advised the shareholders of the family-friendly restaurant group, led by private equity partner Tom Leman.

Shareholders of Giraffe include the couple who founded the business, Russel and Juliette Joffe, as well as private equity houses Risk Capital Partners, a longstanding Pinsents client, and 3i.

Giraffe was founded in Hampstead in 1998 and currently consists of 48 sites nationwide, including franchised sites at UK airports as well as one in Dubai.

Background to this deal:

Ashurst is a longstanding adviser to Tesco, with recent mandates for the firm including successfully defending Tesco in a High Court planning challenge brought by rival retailer the Co-operative last year.

The majority shareholders at Giraffe appointed their regular lawyers at Pinsents for the Tesco deal. The firm has a longstanding relationship with Risk Capital Partners, with partner Leman advising on a number of leisure investments and sales for the private equity house including Giraffe, Strada and Patisserie Valerie.

Other firms known to have acted for Giraffe include West End practice Wallace, which mostly carries out real estate work for the business, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has a longstanding relationship with the client. The magic circle firm secured a partial victory for Tesco in a long-running OFT dairy price-fixing case in December last year (21 December 2012).