Somerfield turns to Dickson Minto after Baugur offer

Private equity boutique Dickson Minto is advising one of its biggest corporate clients Somerfield on an approach from Icelandic conglomerate Baugur.

Name partners Alistair Dickson and Bruce Minto, best known for their private equity expertise, are leading on the deal on behalf of the Somerfield board. The retailer is a longstanding client of the Anglo-Scottish firm.

It is thought that Baugur, which made an indicative offer of £1.03bn, will formally instruct Allen & Overy (A&O).

The Icelanders are also being advised by Merril Lynch. According to press reports, the investment bank was given the official mandate when Somerfield said it was investigating the offer.

Cost-conscious Baugur has historically used niche Stoke-on-Trent firm Heatons on its deals, including the acquisition of clothes retailer Oasis in November 2003.

The firm was introduced to Baugur by the Birmingham office of KPMG Corporate Finance in March of that year, when Heatons advised the retailer on its £10m equity investment in LXB, a property company backed by HBOS and West Coast Capital.

However, Baugur has also previously used A&O, instructing the firm on its failed attempt to buy Arcadia.

The bid for Somerfield is subject to a number of preconditions, including a board recommendation and an agreement with the trustees of the retailer’s pension scheme about its £79m deficit.