FTSE 100 water company Severn Trent is set to move away from its sole advisor mandate with Eversheds, Legal Business has learned. The business, which is currently undergoing a panel review, will chose between two and five firms for its new roster, to be finalised by mid-February.
The water supplier is currently taking proposals from firms for a total of five different lots: debt recovery, employment, general quality regulation, property and combined competition/commercial economic regulation. But, it is understood that the company will give its debt recovery mandate to a seperate firm because they don’t have the volume of work to give to a larger sole advisor.
Severn Trent, which has a 12-member in-house team led by group company secretary and general counsel (GC) Bronagh Kennedy, has been in a Tyco-style sole advisor role with Eversheds since April 2010. However, this expires at the end of March and Severn Trent decided to carry out a tender process to look at whether it would be better served by a panel.
Although the company deals primarily with Eversheds, it does farm out some treasury and substantive M&A work to Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and in May 2013, the water company turned to HSF to reject a preliminary takeover offer by a Canadian, Kuwaiti and UK consortium, reportedly valued at £5bn. This current tender concerns only the work carried out by Eversheds, keeping the arrangement with HSF in place.
Eversheds has typically been successful in obtaining single-supplier mandates and managed to extend its sole adviser role with Tyco in September 2014 for a further three years. The deal saw Tyco EMEA GC David Symonds ask the firm to look at cutting all legal analysis to one-page documents.