DLA Piper wins lead role as Co-op closes in on acquisition of retail rival Nisa

DLA Piper has secured a role advising UK convenience chain and wholesaler Nisa on its potential sale to the Co-op Group.

The Co-op has entered exclusive talks to take over Nisa for a widely reported sum of £140m. The news comes after Sainsbury’s shelved a £130m bid earlier this month for Nisa, due to competition concerns.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had expressed concerns about a similar deal between Tesco and wholesaler Booker. It referred the Tesco deal for an in-depth investigation in July. The initial results of the investigation are not expected until October.

Co-op at the time of writing has not instructed a law firm but is currently doing all the due diligence for the deal in-house.

A spokesman for the Co-op said: “We can confirm that we’ve entered into a period of exclusivity with Nisa, which will provide the opportunity for us to carry out more detailed due diligence in the coming weeks.”

However, if the deal goes through, the company is likely to use long-term key adviser Allen & Overy (A&O) which typically deals with the supermarket giant’s large M&A work.

The Co-op is currently reviewing its corporate and commercial, property and litigation panels for the first time in seven years.

The review is being led by the group’s head of in-house legal operations, Helen Lowe, alongside head of legal for retail and digital Peter Horsfall, with the new panels expected to be in place by January 2018.

However, A&O’s position on the panel is not being reviewed.

Photo credit: Betty Longbottom