Linklaters loses out to Simmons in Asda deal

Linklaters & Alliance has lost out to Simmons & Simmons in representing US retailer Wal-Mart on its audacious bid for Asda.

Both Simmons and Linklaters were considered by Wal-Mart. But after pitching against each other at a meeting on 7 June, Simmons was appointed while Linklaters was retained to advise investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co – which made the u6.7bn offer to Asda on behalf of Wal-Mart.

Simmons was appointed to advise the US retail giant just seven days before the deal was announced.

Stuart Evans, head of corporate finance at Simmons, led the 25-strong team, which included head of EC and competition Charles Banks and corporate partner Damon Le Maitre-George.

Simmons had previously worked with Wasserstein Perella & Co over a month ago, when Evans says Wal-Mart was first reported to be interested in moving into the UK.

Wal-Mart's move dwarfs Kingfisher's bid to buy Asda. Kingfisher was expected to take over Asda after making a u5.8bn all paper bid for the supermarket chain, which was approved by Kingfisher shareholders at the beginning of June.

Freshfields is advising Kingfisher on its now unlikely takeover attempt.

Edward Braham, corporate partner at Freshfields, who is leading a 10-strong team on the deal, remains philosophical about the collapse of the merger, saying “that's life”.

But Braham adds the firm is still advising Kingfisher, which has chosen not to withdraw its offer.

Slaughter and May is the main adviser for Asda.

The Slaughter and May team consists of commercial partners Nigel Boardman and Nilufer von Bismarck, assisted by Kathy Hughes.

Von Bismarck says the initial team was small because of confidentiality issues but it will now expand.