Monday, March 25, 2013

Ethical Walls (Information Barriers) and "Commercial/Business" Conflicts

A reader sent word of an interesting story of the use of ethical walls/information barriers in a non-ethical, business/commercial conflicts scenario:

"Ithaca-Valiant legal fees near £1.5m as Herbies, Pinsents erect Chinese walls" --
  • "CMS Cameron McKenna and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) are the chief recipients of nearly £1.5m in fees from a £203m energy takeover that saw two law firms put up Chinese walls to prevent potential conflicts."
  • "Pinsent Masons advised Ithaca on banking arrangements, putting forward Edinburgh partner Iain Macaulay. He worked on the other side of a Chinese wall from Glasgow corporate partner Rosalie Chadwick, who led the firm’s due diligence role for Valiant. Ithaca’s UK headquarters are in Aberdeen."
  • "The barrier was put up as an extra precaution to avoid what could have been perceived as a commercial conflict, but the fact that Pinsents was not Valiant’s main corporate adviser meant the risk of improper practice was low."
  • "Valiant’s main corporate adviser was HSF, which also put up a Chinese wall due to a dual role for the target and Ithaca’s lenders... HSF was able to take the double role after negotiating the Chinese wall with Valiant and the banks. It took most of the £860,000 fees paid by Valiant, with some going to Bennett Jones, the Canadian counsel to the company."

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