Linklaters and Freshfields act as Steinhoff looks for bargain on Poundland

Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are advising as South African conglomerate Steinhoff gears up to acquire discount retailer Poundland.

Steinhoff’s interest in Poundland comes after unsuccessful bids earlier this summer for Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos, which is being sold to Sainsburys, and electrical retailer Darty, which is being acquired by French chain Groupe Fnac.

Steinhoff has already acquired 22.78% of Poundland’s shares and has confirmed that it is considering making a cash offer to acquire the rest of the business.

Poundland announced its 2015-16 results today (16 June), which showed that its pre-tax profit had fallen from £36.15m last year to £5.9m in the year to 27 March 2016.

The fall was driven by a number of one-off costs, including Poundland’s acquisition of fellow discount chain, 99p Stores.

It is understood that Linklaters’ team on the deal is being led by senior partner elect Charlie Jacobs, who has been a longstanding adviser to Steinhoff.

Jacobs advised on Steinhoff’s listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange in December 2015 and also played a role in its attempted acquisition of Darty.

Freshfields’ team is being led by corporate partner Oliver Lazenby, who previously advised on the aforementioned 99p Stores deal.

Steinhoff was advised by Travers Smith on its attempts to acquire the Home Retail Group in part because Linklaters, acting for Home Retail, was conflicted out of the deal.

Travers also took the lead on Steinhoff’s bid for Darty, with a team led by corporate partners Andrew Gillen and Philip Cheveley. Linklaters acted as international counsel on that occasion.