• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Trio of firms toast place on Diageo external counsel line-up


Slaughter and May, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons have won places as “general preferred suppliers” on Diageo’s consolidated UK legal panel, following a four-month review.

The appointments – which cover all advisory services in the UK outside of Northern Ireland – come into effect tomorrow (1 April) and last until 30 June 2016.

As preferred advisers, the three firms will carry out a broad range of corporate and commercial services, while a number of specialist approved suppliers will cover areas including intellectual property, contentious work and certain commercial areas.

Diageo would not reveal how many firms had been appointed to the specialist panel or comment further on the review, which was led by general counsel Siobhan Moriarty and the company’s regional counsel for Western Europe, James Higgins.

Moriarty formally stepped into the top legal role last July, taking over from long-serving general counsel Tim Proctor. She was previously European GC at the drinks giant.

Firms were first invited to pitch for places on the panel in December, with successful firms being told of the outcome in recent weeks.

Speaking to Legal Week, Moriarty said no other jurisdictions in which the company uses legal advisers were reviewed.

For non-UK matters, the company works with firms including CMS Cameron McKenna in Europe and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Asia. Diageo also works closely with London-based Sullivan & Cromwell partner Richard Morrissey, who acts as the company’s principal adviser on US corporate matters.

In 2012 a Slaughters team headed by corporate partner Simon Nicholls advised the company on its £2.4bn acquisition of a majority stake in United Spirits Limited, the leading spirits company in India.

With a market capitalisation of £46bn, Diageo is the world’s largest producer of spirits and counts Smirnoff, Jose Cuervo and Guinness among its brands.

The London-headquartered company sells products in over 180 countries, 80 of which it has offices in.