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Supermarket sweep: Freshfields and Clifford Chance line up on Tesco takeover of Booker

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance are advising on Tesco’s £3.7bn merger with Booker Group, the UK’s biggest food wholesaler.

Announced this morning (27 January), the UK’s biggest supermarket agreed to a share and cash merger with Booker group to ‘create the UK’s leading food business’.

It will gain Booker’s cash and carry network with 200 branches as well as convenience store chain brands Premier, Londis and Budgens, which together have nearly 5,000 sites.

Tesco turned to its usual magic circle adviser Freshfields on the deal with a team led by global financial institutions co-head and Tesco relationship partner Claire Wills and corporate partner Stephen Hewes. Antitrust partners Alastair Chapman and Deirdre Trapp also advised.

Clifford Chance advised Booker with a team led by corporate partner Lee Coney and antitrust partner Greg Olsen. Corporate partner David Pudge‎ also acted on the deal.

Macfarlanes advised Tesco’s financial adviser Greenhill with corporate partner Graham Gibb leading the team.

Other key deals Freshfields has acted on for Tesco include the supermarket’s sale of its South Korean unit Homeplus for £4.2bn. Asia corporate partner Simon Weller led a team out of Hong Kong alongside Wills and corporate partner Alison Smith advising out of London.

Freshfields also advised Tesco on the formal criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in 2014. It followed accounting irregularities that overstated the company’s estimated profits by £263m.

The firm also advised Tesco on the long-running Office of Fair Trading case concerning price-fixing certain dairy products in the market in 2012.

Read more in: ‘The M&A Report’