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Adviser review: Drinks giant Diageo assesses UK roster

Global drinks brand Diageo has confirmed it will review its UK legal panel as its current roster was due to expire this month.

The current panel, formed of Slaughter and May, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons, was launched in March 2014 and is to run to the end of June. Firms that have previously been reported to be on the FTSE 100 company’s main panel include CMS Cameron McKenna and legacy SJ Berwin.

The company does also retain some specialist approved suppliers for work such as intellectual property, and some commercial and contentious work.

A Diageo spokesperson said: ‘We will be reviewing our legal panel in the coming months and this process is expected to complete towards the end of the year. This is a closed process.’

Diageo’s in-house legal team is led by GC Powerlist 2016 member Siobhan Moriarty who joined the company in 2013. Moriarty oversees a 140-strong legal team, having previously worked for Clifford Chance before joining the drinks business.

The firm, which is the world’s biggest distiller whose brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Guinness, has previously worked extensively with Slaughter and May.

Slaughters and May corporate partner Simon Nicholls advised Diageo on selling shares to Heineken in 2015, netting the drinks giant £515m, and also acted on a £2.4bn transaction for a majority stake in Indian brewer United Spirits Limited in 2012.

In other recent panel news, Network Rail has extended its panel until 2019, while Transport for London has also maintained its existing suppliers until 2018. Meanwhile, Barclays is to announce its panel line-up on 1 July, after extending its value account system to more firms, and putting a ban on corporate hospitality during the review.