BDB Pitmans is being sued for £2.6 million by a legal headhunter who claims he facilitated its recent merger.
Andrew Caulfield, who used to be a lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills and Clyde & Co, claims that "at the request of both Firms' management" he introduced the leadership teams of BDB and Pitmans to each other in November 2017. The firms merged a year later.
Simon Bushell, a partner at Signature Litigation who was a young associate at Herbert Smith when Caulfield was a trainee there, and who is now acting for him, said, "A professional head hunter who introduces two firms with a view to a merger is entitled to a significant fee upon a successful tie-up being concluded".
A source close to BDB Pitmans told RollOnFriday that nothing was ever agreed, and that while Caulfield did inform each firm that the other might be open to a merger, the information was given without the firms agreeing to pay for it.
Caulfield told RollOnFriday, "It is not correct that neither firm agreed to pay a commission (although they apparently do so now!)". He claimed that "at the outset, BDB agreed that fees would be negotiated at the appropriate time as talks progressed positively and it looked as if a deal may ensue; Pitmans confirmed that their policy was to pay commission to introducers and recruitment professionals on results being achieved".
"I brought both firms together and the merger would not have happened had I not done so."
Caulfield issued BDB Pitmans with a pro forma invoice for £2.6 million made out in the name of a dormant company and displaying an invalid VAT number, said a source. Caulfield told RollOnFriday, "The invoice is from this company for accounting reasons. Thank you for identifying that the VAT number on the invoice was incorrect. That was an administrative error and a new invoice has been issued with the correct VAT number".
He said he arrived at his eye-popping quantum of loss, calculated as 5% of the combined turnover of the business, after BDB Pitmans declined to discuss a formula for remuneration with him.
Caulfield is a modern renaissance man. His legal headhunting business, Caulfield Search, doubles as a sports management agency. Caulfield is described on its website as "an officially Registered ‘Football Agent Licensed by the FA’". Asked why he does not appear on the FA's list of approved intermediaries, he told RollOnFriday, "I was a licensed football agent from 2010", but "I did not re-register when the system changed a few years ago. I have not looked at the website for some time and agree that it needs updating in this respect".
He is also an author. In 2015 Caulfield released his amazingly-titled autobiography, 50! The Life, Loves & Psyche of a Male Mid-Life Crisis: Volume 1 - The Journey. In it, he wrote lots of things under a pseudonym including how he set about "fulfilling fantasies about sexual activities in the office" with a secretary "in meeting rooms, toilet cubicles, on the stairs, and over the desk after hours". In a tender moment he described how his lover got on well with his young children, "perhaps because mentally, she was closer to them" than him.
Caulfield said he plans to write two more autobiographies. His working titles are Volume 2 - A Working Life: Bullshit, Egos & Parties, and Volume 3 - Family, Love & Relationships. With £2.6 million in the bank he should be able to purchase a massive print run.