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Freshfields, Slaughters and Maclays act as Standard Life absorbs rival for £3.8bn

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Slaughter and May and Maclay Murray & Spens have won roles on Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management’s £3.8bn merger.

The companies confirmed the terms of the all-share deal which will create the UK’s largest asset manager with £660bn in assets under management.

Co-head of financial institutions Claire Wills (pictured) and London head Julian Long led the Freshfields team advising Aberdeen Asset Management. Long term adviser Maclays’ head of financial services Guy Norfolk also advised the investment management group.

Standard Life’s team on the transaction was led by group general counsel Rushad Abadan supported by its head of general counsel’s office Sara De Busk and legal counsel Benjamin Brust. The firm also turned to a Slaughters team led by corporate finance partner Jonathan Marks and head of M&A Roland Turnill.

The Magic Circle firm has previously advised on Standard Life’s return of around £1.75bn to shareholders in 2015, its disposal of its Canadian business to The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company for a reported £4bn and its acquisition of Ignis Asset Management for £390m.

Corporate partners Marks, Craig Cleaver and tax partner Gareth Miles are regular advisers to Standard Life.

Last year Standard Life confirmed it had added two firms to its real estate panel following the Ignis acquisition, with Maples Teesdale and Shepherd & Wedderburn joining CMS Cameron McKenna, Herbert Smith Freehills and Addleshaw Goddard.

This is not the first time Slaughters has advised Standard Life with Freshfields and Maclays on the other side. Barclays turned to a Freshfields team including Wills in 2009 for its £226m acquisition of Standard Life’s banking arm. Maclays advised Barclays on Scottish law matters. Slaughters Cleaver was among the team advising Standard Life.

In January it emerged Wills advised Tesco on its £3.7bn merger with Booker Group, the UK’s biggest food wholesaler, alongside corporate partner Stephen Hewes and antitrust partners Alastair Chapman and Deirdre Trapp.

Read more: ‘The M&A Report’