City firms take £4.5m in legal fees on Steinhoff's Poundland purchase

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have picked up the lion’s share of £4.5m in legal fees generated by South African retailer Steinhoff’s acquisition of discount retailer Poundland.

The deal, which was announced on 13 July, valued the entire issued share capital of Poundland at approximately £610m.

Linklaters acted for Steinhoff, with a team led by senior partner elect Charlie Jacobs, who has a well established relationship with the South African conglomerate. The firm stands to be the main beneficiary of the £2.72m in legal fees incurred by Steinhoff on the deal.

Travers Smith also played a role for Steinhoff, acting for the banks in connection with the cash confirmation aspect of the transaction, and stands to take a smaller share of Steinhoff’s legal fees. Finance partner Andrew Gregson led the Travers team, supported by corporate partners Philip Cheveley and Andrew Gillen.

Meanwhile, Freshfields acted for Poundland, with a team led by corporate partner Oliver Lazenby. The firm is set to be the main beneficiary of the £1.75m in legal fees that Poundland has spent on the deal.

The deal follows an acquisition campaign by Steinhoff, which agreed last week to buy US mattress company Mattress Firm Holding for $2.4bn (£1.8bn) after unsuccessful bids for French electrical retailer Darty and Argos owner Home Retail Group. Linklaters led for Steinhoff on the Mattress Firm deal, while Travers took the lead on the Home Retail Group offer, as Linklaters was conflicted as it was already advising Home Retail in connection with the approach from rival bidder Sainsbury’s.

Travers also led on the approach to Darty, with Linklaters playing a role as international counsel.

Freshfields had a previous relationship with Poundland, having acted on its £55m acquisition of fellow discount chain 99p Stores in 2015. Freshfields partner Lazenby also played the lead role on that deal.