Linklaters spearheads Dixons' foreign growth

Linklaters & Alliance and Norwegian firm Wikborg Rein & Company have landed work on Dixons' first foray into Europe.

Rupert Pearce, corporate partner at Linklaters, is leading a team of three lawyers advising Dixons on its £444m purchase of Norwegian retail group Elkjop.

Einar Greve, corporate finance partner at Wikborg Rein, provided advice on domestic concerns with the support of a team of 10, including corporate partner Sussanne Munch Thore.

Elkjop is being represented by Scandinavian practice Thommessen Krefting Greve Lund.

Pearce is optimistic the firm will continue to receive a large amount of work from Dixons.

He says: “I would like to think that Linklaters, with its pan-European capabilities, is ideally capable if Dixons expands further into Europe. It is one of the main reasons they came to us with this deal.”

He says that it is essential to work with a foreign practice in cross-border deals of this nature.

He says: “The main team was in Norway. Local counsel provides local and regulation advice and international counsel provides the elements that make sure the deal is consistent and sophisticated.”

Although Wikborg Rein has worked with Linklaters in the past, this is the first time the firm has acted for Dixons.

However, it was Dixons that invited the Norwegian top-four firm to advise on the deal. Dixons has been one of Linklaters' clients for over 15 years. The firm recently acted on the flotation of its internet service provider, Freeserve, which was the first major new media listing in the UK.

It is believed that earlier this year Elkjop was in talks with Dixons' UK rival Kingfisher.

But Dixons has indicated that the Elkjop deal will be the first of many European transactions. The group also owns PC World, which will be the first of the company's brands to open overseas.

The majority of Elkjop's 154 stores, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, are in Norway, where it has a 30 per cent market share.

Thommessen Krefting Greve Lund was unavailable for comment.