Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Herbert Smith has scored another multi-billion pound instruction from prize client Bank of Scotland, advising on its £28bn merger bid contract with UK mortgage giant Halifax.But this time the firm will be praying that the deal comes to fruition after advising it on two previous failed merger attempts – one for NatWest in 1999 and the other for Abbey National, a deal which crumbled in February after Lloyds TSB launched a counter bid. Partner Michael Walter is leading the deal from Herbert Smith, details of which were leaked to the press last Wednesday (25 April). The deal is evidence of continued consolidation in the financial services industry despite the slowdown in M&A.If the deal goes ahead Herbert Smith will be vying for top spot as principal corporate adviser to what would become the UK’s fifth largest bank, against Linklaters & Alliance, long-standing adviser to Halifax.The win will be all the more important to the firm as it is still recovering from losing the role of principal adviser to trophy client London Stock Exchange a few months ago to Freshfields.But Linklaters will also be competing fiercely for the job. It has already lost a large chunk of corporate work fromNatWest to Freshfields after the Royal Bank of Scotland deal was completed last year. This year the firm was also excluded from advising its long-standing client Lloyds TSB on its offer for Abbey due to a conflict. Although the deal has been mooted as a merger of equals, Halifax is the larger of the two banks putting Linklaters in pole position. Choosing legal advisers is just one obstacle, however, as the banks have yet to decide where the headquarters will be based. Meanwhile, the deal will also mean the amalgamation of the two banks’ in-house legal teams numbering approximately 90 lawyers. The job of general counsel will be fought between Alastair Loudon from Bank of Scotland and Harry Baines, company secretary of Halifax. The new bank would have a market capitalisation of around £28bn and 1,259 branches. It would have around 61,384 staff and annual pre-tax profits of about £2.63bn.

This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.


  • Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
  • Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
  • Unique access to ALM's unrivalled, market-leading reporting in the US and Asia and cutting-edge research, including Legal Week's UK Top 50 and Global 100 rankings
  • The Legal Week Daily News Alert, Editor's Highlights, and Breaking News digital newsletters and more, plus a choice of over 70 ALM newsletters
  • Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles

Already have an account?

For enterprise-wide or corporate enquiries, please contact Paul Reeves on Preeves@alm.com or call on +44 (0) 203 875 0651


Legal Week Newsletters & Alerts

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your subscription, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters and alerts. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2019 American Lawyer Media International, LLC. All Rights Reserved.