Heinz opens tender process for debut Europe legal panel

Food company gears up to appoint legal advisers to new roster

Heinz is set to appoint its first-ever European legal panel later this summer, with around a dozen firms invited to pitch.

The food giant’s European general counsel Janice More kicked off a tender process in March, with the company planning to use the review process to cut costs and tighten its links with firms.

To date, Heinz has instructed magic circle firm Clifford Chance on some major corporate transactions, such as the disposal of its European seafood business to Lehman Brothers in 2006, as well as its acquisition of HP Foods in 2005.

However, the company also has links with firms including Allen & Overy, DLA Piper and Wragge & Co, as well as Slaughter and May, which represented Heinz on antitrust matters connected with its HP Foods acquisition.

Although the panel will cover all aspects of legal work, it is thought that Heinz may appoint individual law firms for specific areas of work, such as data protection, litigation and intellectual property.

More said: “Heinz Europe is developing a European legal panel for the first time in order to drive further cost effectiveness, closer relationships and innovation in the services provided.”

She continued: “The existing range of quality firms that work with Heinz are being joined by others now on a closed list as part of the strategic evaluation process. This move is part of our European initiative to develop and improve relationships with suppliers through a supplier performance management programme.”

The inaugural European panel is likely to be in place by the end of the summer. Pittsburgh-based Heinz employs around 32,500 people worldwide and is behind brands including Heinz Ketchup, Weight Watchers and Amoy.