Freshfields, CC and Macfarlanes among advisers on Tesco's £3.7bn Booker purchase


Clifford Chance (CC) and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have taken the lead roles on Tesco’s £3.7bn acquisition of food wholesale operator Booker Group.

The purchase of Booker, which owns retail brands including Londis, Budgens and Makro, will create “the UK’s leading food business”, according to Tesco, “with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital”.

CC advised Booker on the deal, with a team led by corporate partner Lee Coney and competition partner Greg Olsen, alongside corporate partner David Pudge.

Tesco, meanwhile, turned to longstanding adviser Freshfields, which fielded a team led by Claire Wills, the head of the firm’s retail sector group in London. The firm’s team also included corporate partner Stephen Hewes and competition partners Alistair Chapman and Deirdre Trapp.

Macfarlanes also took a role on the deal, advising Greenhill, Tesco’s financial adviser, with company and corporate partner Graham Gibb in the lead role.

Freshfields is one of Tesco’s key legal advisers, alongside Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP). The magic circle firm focuses on corporate/commercial matters, while BLP handles real estate work.

Last year, Freshfields also advised Tesco on the sale of its coffee chain Harris + Hoole to Caffe Nero, while in 2015 it acted on the £4.2bn sale of its Korean business, Homeplus. The firm was also called upon in 2014 to review accounting failings that led to the supermarket chain overstating its profit forecasts for the first half of the year by an estimated £250m.

Tesco has in the past used Ashurst and Clyde & Co for real estate work; however, a streamlining of its key legal advisers in 2014 saw BLP established as the company’s go-to real estate adviser.