Legal Business Blogs

Paying up: Linklaters and Eversheds advise as Sir Philip Green agrees £363m pensions deal

Sir Philip Green has paid £363m into the BHS pension pot following the collapse of the retailer last year, with Eversheds Sutherland and Linklaters advising.

The payment comes as part of a bid to satisfy the UK Pensions Regulator (TPR), which was planning legal proceedings to secure a payment from Green (pictured). TPR used its own team of in-house lawyers.

Eversheds pensions partner Emma King led a team acting on the payment for the BHS trustees, while pensions partner Mark Latimour also advised. The payment comes as part of an attempt to plug the £571m shortfall left in BHS’s pension fund and follows a major parliamentary investigation into the failure of the high street chain.

Linklaters advised Green, having been the tycoon’s primary legal adviser in recent years. The Magic Circle firm acted on the disposal of BHS by Green’s Arcadia Group in 2015 for £1 to Retail Acquisitions and businessman Dominic Chappell, who were advised by Olswang.

Disputes partner Andrew Hughes has been advising on the settlement, while corporate partner Owen Clay has previously been one of main legal advisers to Arcadia Group, which is run owned by Green.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF), the government pensions lifeboat, was advsied by Stephenson Harwood partners Libby Elliott and Mark Catchpole.

TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb said: ‘The agreement we have reached with Sir Philip Green represents a strong outcome for the members of the BHS pension schemes. It takes account of the interests of both pensioners and the PPF, and brings a welcome level of certainty to present and future pensioners.’

The regulator called time on its enforcement action against Green, while actions continue against Chappell and Retail Acquisitions. Chappell was recently represented by Matthew Parfitt of Erskine Chambers during high court proceedings into the solvency of Retail Acquisitions.

Last summer, Green and many of the legal advisers on the deal appeared before a joint parliamentary committee after BHS entered administration. MPs led by Labour MP Frank Field called on firms to disclose their legal fees, revealing Linklaters had billed Arcadia £1.2m as of February 2016.

Eversheds declined to comment. Linklaters had not replied for comment at press time.