07:30, July 18 140 0

2017-07-18 07:30:07
Nestlé puts advisers under the spotlight in panel review

Nestlé is carrying out a review of its legal advisers, with roles held by Linklaters and CMS Cameron McKenna under the spotlight.

The food giant last undertook an assessment of its law firms in 2011, and before that in 2009. It had been scheduled for a 2007 review but was put on hold after a number of transactions.

The review covers Nestlé’s European law firms, including UK and Ireland, although tenders are also understood to have been sent to US firms in a push to make the panel more global.

US firms currently used by Nestlé overseas include Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Mayer Brown and White & Case.

The line-up on Nestlé’s panel has changed in the past decade, after former adviser Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was cut loose from the panel after a conflict with Nestlé’s rival Mars.

The move enabled firms such as Norton Rose Fulbright to take more of a lead on M&A matters, although that relationship now firmly belongs to Linklaters. The magic circle firm advised Nestlé on a €3bn joint venture last year with UK ice cream company R&R.

Other key advisers to Nestlé include CMS, which has been acting for the company in its long running dispute with Mars over the trademark of the KitKat bar. The most recent case was a loss for Nestlé after High Court judges felt its reliance on “distinctiveness through use” fell short.

The review is being run by European general counsel Trevor Brown, who is based in Switzerland.