Royal Mail has finished its first panel review since the company’s £3.3bn IPO in 2013, retaining DAC Beachcroft and CMS Cameron McKenna but dropping Bond Dickinson on an expanded roster.
Bond Dickinson was the only previous panel adviser to lose out on a spot on Royal Mail’s first panel since its privatisation in 2013. Legacy Bond Pearce was appointed in 2010 together with legacy Beachcroft and CMS Cameron McKenna (25 November 2010).
The 15-strong panel includes international heavyweights Dentons, DLA Piper and Herbert Smith Freehills, national firms Addleshaw Goddard and Weightmans, and smaller outfits such as media specialists Bristows and Michael Simkins and corporate liability firm Strata Solicitors.
Some of the firms will provide general advice and others will focus on specialist areas.
The company has appointed Carson McDowell and Napier & Sons for advice in Northern Ireland, and Morton Fraser in Scotland.
Deputy general counsel Maaike de Bie and director of legal operations Sarah Barrett-Vane led the review for group general counsel Neil Harnby.
Harnby told The Lawyer: ”We’re really pleased to have our new law firms on board after an extensive tender exercise. This is an exciting and equally challenging time for the Royal Mail as a nascent public company and we certainly have a rich and varied diet of work to offer our advisers.”
De Bie said that the breadth and variety of work across the UK meant that Royal Mail “needed to appoint the right size and number of firms that could cater for all of its legal, corporate, regulatory and compliance work”.
Firms have been asked to work in partnership to meet Royal Mail’s business demands and to sponsor diversity initiatives within their own firms and in the Royal Mail.
Royal Mail’s legal team kicked off a tender process in 2013 to appoint corporate legal advisers for the flotation, choosing Slaughters to lead the corporate advice alongside five other firms, which worked on the employee share scheme work and the plc aspects of the IPO, competition law and regulatory advice, industrial relations aspects, property advice and US securities advice (12 September 2013).
Four years ago, then-general counsel Doug Evans was instrumental in cutting down the panel of then publicly-owned Royal Mail from eight to three advisers in 2010, which saw Bird & Bird, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, Olswang and Pinsent Masons left out in the cold.
The complete list of Royal Mail panel advisers:
Napier & Sons