Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons have all won key mandates on Pearson’s new legal panel, as the company’s general counsel (GC) Bjarne Tellmann praised the robust state of the UK legal market.
Pinsent Masons was also appointed to the publisher’s IT and commercial panel, alongside Kemp Little and Fieldfisher.
The review was led by Tellmann, with deputy GC for litigation and regulatory affairs Michael McQueeney and other key members of the legal team participating in all meetings with law firms.
Speaking to Legal Business, Tellmann said that the level of quality the team encountered from all of the participants was ‘incredible’.
‘The final panelists were selected based on a broad range of metrics designed to ensure that the winners would be best suited to foster a close and collaborative partnership with our team. I should add that it was not just the winners who were impressive. The depth and bench strength we saw confirmed to me that the state of the UK legal market is very robust indeed.’
Freshfields acted for Pearson in two major disposals this year. It acted alongside HSF on July’s sale of the Financial Times group to Japan’s Nikkei for £844m, and on the sale of Pearson’s stake in The Economist group in August for £469m to Exor and back to the group itself.
Freshfields corporate partners Oliver Lazenby and Simon Marchant led Pearson on the sale of its 50% interest in the group, which comprises the weekly magazine plus other titles and the Economist Intelligence Unit, to existing shareholder Exor which is taking 27.8% with 22.2% repurchased by the group.
The Magic Circle firm has built a strong relationship with the FTSE 100 company, with duo Marchant and Lazenby having also advised the publisher on the combination between Penguin and Random House, as well as its disposal of Mergermarket Group.