Freshfields and Clifford Chance set to share £17m in legal fees for Tesco-Booker merger

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance (CC) will collect the lion’s share of more than £17m in legal fees for their advice on the merger of Tesco and wholesale food producer Booker Group.

Freshfields took the lead role for longstanding client Tesco on the £3.7bn acquisition of Booker, which was advised by CC.

Documents released yesterday (5 February) revealed that total legal fees and expenses for the deal – which was announced in January 2017 – have been estimated at £17.3m.

This total includes £11.5m paid by Tesco, with Freshfields in line to claim most of that figure. Booker’s legal fees are significantly smaller, with CC set to take the bulk of an estimated £5.8m.

The CC team was led by corporate partner David Pudge and competition partner Greg Olsen, alongside corporate partner Lee Coney.

The Freshfields team was 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, primarily handling corporate and commercial matters. Last year, the firm advised 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.