Arm Holdings kicks off first panel review since £24bn Softbank takeover

Arm Holdings has begun a review of its legal panel, with DLA Piper, Mayer Brown and Bird & Bird among the firms under scrutiny.

The review comes after the UK technology company’s £24bn takeover by Japanese telecoms giant Softbank in July 2016.

The microchip maker put together its first formal panel in 2015, with firms appointed for two-year terms. That line-up comprised DLA Piper, Eversheds Sutherland, Mayer Brown, Bird & Bird, Fieldfisher, Mills & Reeve, Fenwick & West, Winston & Strawn, Wiley Rein and Shanghai’s Martin Hu & Partners.

DLA and Mayer Brown were appointed to advise on global corporate and M&A matters, with Fieldfisher brought in for data protection and technology work.

Since the establishment of the panel, ARM has turned to other firms to advise on specific issues. White & Case has been brought in to advise on US government matters, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has been handling US antitrust work.

The company also has a relationship with Chinese firm Zhong Lun, and uses US firm McGuireWoods for litigation work.

Ahead of the full review, at least one firm has already been reappointed – Eversheds Sutherland, which handles employment and HR issues for the company.

It is expected that the number of primary advisers on the panel will stay at around 10.

Arm general counsel Carolyn Herzog said: “We are reviewing potential expansion of firms in areas where we have some expanded needs, to ensure we cover potential conflicts – such as M&A and litigation – and where we have growth needs, such as data privacy.

“There are also some current niche needs, such as US government work, and possible future niche areas where we may consider going off-panel to cover such work.”

Although the review will focus on law firm rates and service offerings, it will also consider firms’ commitment to diversity.  Arm has also been assessing how much work each of the advisers have done for the company during the past two years, and establishing what value it has getting from the firms, and vice versa.

Herzog said: “We are are going through a list internally of which firms we want to participate. We have started having discussions with some firms, but we will be reaching out to a few others to participate in a proposal process as well.”

The review is being run by director of legal operations Struan Britland. The company’s legal team is led by Herzog, who joined in January 2017. She oversees an in-house legal team of around 70 lawyers and support staff based across the UK and the US.