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Herbert Smith Freehills, EY take lead on British American Tobacco acquisition

Herbert Smith Freehills and EY Law in Poland have won roles advising as British American Tobacco (BAT) signed a conditional agreement to acquire 100% of Europe’s largest eCigarette retailing network, CHIC Group in a bid to enter the e-cigarette market.

EY Law in Poland is understood to be leading for CHIC, which has 800 points of sale in Poland, and owns the brands VOLISH, P1, Provog, Cottien, LiQueen and Aromativ. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

BAT has been a longstanding client of HSF, with corporate partner Gillian Fairfield leading for BAT on this deal and for BAT when it paid US$4.7 billion to retain its stake in Reynolds American after it took over Lorillard and its brand sales to Philip Morris International.

HSF is also acting for BAT on its ongoing plain packaging case against the UK government alongside Hogan Lovells which is advising on intellectual property issues.

BAT managing director of Next Generation Products Kingsley Wheaton said: ‘Acquiring the CHIC Group is strategically significant and makes commercial sense. It provides BAT with scale and market reach through Europe’s largest eCigarette retailing network, as well as important manufacturing and R&D capabilities. It further demonstrates our commitment to the NGP category.’