Separated at birth

Last week The Lawyer revealed how a bunch of no-hopers were transformed into winners thanks to the skills of a cunning Svengali. Debenhams was taken from its retail doldrums a few years ago to its £1.7bn IPO heights this year, and it’s all thanks to one man (apart, that is, from all the others who worked on the deal). Yes, Pop Idol’s Simon Cowell, moonlighting as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Brian Gray, was the right man in the right place at the right time. Using a combination of tough love (on the retailer’s leveraged buyout three years ago Cowell’s firm, Freshfields, persuaded Debenhams to pay inducement fees) and rhythmic nous (“They hit the market with perfect timing,” Cowell told The Lawyer last week), the man with the high kecks got the deal done.