International firm Olswang has remained tight-lipped on the fees it received for its work in relation to the sale of retail giant BHS, claiming legal privilege and client confidentiality.
However magic circle firm Linklaters and international firm Nabarro have provided the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee with a breakdown of the fees they were paid for their involvement in the sale.
All three firms appeared before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and Work and Pensions Committee last month in relation to the joint inquiry into the collapse of BHS.
Linklaters, which advised Arcadia Group on the sale of BHS, revealed that it has been paid a total of £1.2m so far in relation to its work.
A letter to Frank Field MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, shows the firm was paid £627,000 from 12 February 2015, when it was first instructed, to 11 March 2015.
The rest of the fees were charged for work done after March 2015. These included advising Arcadia on the post-completion financing of BHS, the subsequent administration of BHS and the select committee inquiries.
Linklaters also provided details of the fees charged by Arcadia in relation to other corporate transactions since 2012. These included £900,000 for the sale of 25% of Arcadia’s stake in Topshop and £480,000 for the internal reorganisation of a number of Arcadia’s brands.
The firm said that it does not charge success or contingency fees.
Meanwhile Nabarro, which advised Taveta Investments, the owner of Arcadia, on the BHS pensions schemes, said it charged £933,000 from when it was first appointed to act for Taveta in 2009 to September 2015 when the firm ceased acting for the group.
The firm specified that it charged Taveta £42,000 for advice relating to the sale of the BHS Group. It said the fees were charged on a time-cost basis and that no contingency fees were applied.
However Olswang, which advised Retail Acquisitions Limited on its purchase of BHS, said the firm could not provide details of the fees it charged.
Paul Stevens, chief executive at Olswang, said: ‘While we wish to be as helpful as possible to the committees […] we are bound by professional obligations regarding legal professional privilege and client confidentiality, which have not been waived by our clients.’
In response to a question about what due diligence process it carries to establish the source of fees it is paid, the firm said that it was required to conduct customer due diligence checks and is subject to laws for matters such as anti-money laundering.
It said: ‘We do consider the source of funds for payment of our fees in order to ensure that we comply with the laws and professional obligations to which we are subject.’