When Inchcape Australia acquired the distribution business of Peugeot/Citroen from Sime Darby, they turned to CIE Legal and their deep automotive sector experience to achieve the best commercial result.
“What I loved about Peter and the CIE Legal team was that there was no grand-standing. Because they know what they’re doing, they are pragmatic and just focus on the result… Peter is someone I fundamentally trust and he and the team were responsive, available and easy to get on with”
Deep understanding of automotive
“With this kind of business-critical transaction, I knew I needed to go with people I trust and Peter, CIE’s Managing Partner, falls into that category” says Tony Grasso, General Counsel, Legal & Compliance, Subaru Australia. “To get the best deal for Inchcape, I needed a team that understands the Australian automotive industry and how distribution channels work. The great thing is that Peter has this in spades: I didn’t need to give him the low-down – we could just get straight to work”.
Pragmatic and commercial
With an experienced player as vendor and a major national law firm on the other side, this industry knowledge was put to use from the start. So, rather than constantly turning documents draft after draft, we all sat in a room together and sorted-out main deal-breakers with the other side straight away. Issues that seemed complex at the start, such as the valuation principles and how we cut up the liabilities, just got sorted out. This meant we could move forward quickly and with clarity”.
Top tier advice more cost effectively
Both Grasso and George attribute much of CIE Legal’s success in automotive deals to this combination of top-tier automotive experience and smaller-firm pragmatism. Says Grasso, “What’s great is that I know that Peter spent much of his career at a major national firm, so he has had exposure to a wide variety of challenging work. But with CIE Legal, I get the benefit of this experience at a lower price and with the ‘get-on-with-it’ approach that you find from a smaller firm”.
This industry knowledge came into play when looking at fees, too. “We were confident that we understood what each stage of the transaction involved” says Peter George “and so we backed ourselves to provide Inchcape with fixed fees for each stage. It worked really well for both of us and it was great to have the fee discussion up-front so we could then focus our energies solely on the work.”
It’s this mutually beneficial, long-term relationship that lies at the heart of the Inchcape/CIE Legal success story. “I have excellent working rapport with CIE Legal” says Tony Grasso.
If legal skills are the fuel for completing a deal, then industry knowledge, pragmatism, budget certainty and rapport are the keys to driving towards a successful result.