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Three more years: Tesco extends real estate mandate with BLP

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has re-signed a deal with Tesco, giving it a three year mandate as the supermarket giant’s lead property adviser.

The supermarket’s property adviser mandate was last extended in 2014 when Tesco dropped Ashurst from its panel. The move was viewed as an endorsement of BLP’s key practice area and an early success for its low cost Manchester base.

Tesco uses Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for corporate and commercial work and the Magic Circle firm recently advised the supermarket as it signed a Deferred Prosecution Agreement and agreed to pay the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) £129m in fines relating to a 2014 profit misstatement, avoiding prosecution after a two-year investigation. The agreement is subject to court approval.

The GC Powerlist 2016 also lists Allen & Overy, Hill Dickinson and Squire Patton Boggs among Tesco’s regular advisers.

While BLP has moved away from other non-core practice areas such as intellectual property, the real estate practice, led by Chris de Pury, has seen recent success, picking up high-profile mandates such as advising CC Land on its offer for the Leadenhall building, also known as the Cheesegrater.

The firm also benefited from the demise of King & Wood Mallesons’ European practice by targeting clients instead of partners. It bagged a sole adviser mandate from former legacy SJ Berwin client The Crown Estate as it appointed BLP lead adviser on its central London property portfolio, which is currently delivering a £1.5bn investment and redevelopment programme in and around Regent Street.

Other recent sole adviser mandates include Merlin Entertainments’ decision to appoint DLA Piper as its primary supplier for global construction as well as UK commercial, property and HR work.

General counsel Matt Jowett, who took over from Merlin’s longstanding group legal director and company secretary Colin Armstrong agreed a primary supply retainer arrangement with DLA at the start of 2017, but will continue to work with other firms in the UK on non-retainer work or work where DLA is conflicted.