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Business & Economy

Womble Bond Dickinson advises RIBA on a major transaction

The Newcastle office of Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on an investment by LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

LDC is investing £31.8m for a significant minority shareholding in the RIBA’s commercial arm, RIBA Enterprises, which trades as NBS. Together the RIBA and LDC are supporting the business, led by the current CEO Richard Waterhouse and existing management team, in delivering its future product development and international growth plans.

NBS is a market-leading provider of technology, content and data services to professionals in the architectural, engineering and construction industries and last year recorded a turnover of £20.5 million.

WBD’s corporate team has been working with the RIBA (alongside KPMG) for a number of months to provide strategic advice. The WBD team worked with other advisers, the trustees and executive team at the RIBA and the management team at NBS to find a private equity partner which led to the investment by LDC.

The Corporate team at WBD was led by Partner Robert Phillips; who was assisted by Associate Stacey Hall; Solicitor Oliver Rickett; and Trainee Solicitor Sandy Duncanson. WBD’s team worked closely with the KPMG Corporate Finance team.

Robert Phillips, Partner in the Corporate team at Womble Bond Dickinson comments: “It has been a collaborative effort working with the executive team and the unique structure of the RIBA, including the 60 elected council members. The process of working with the management team has been exciting as we learnt about a new business – and the challenge in explaining the benefits and concepts to the Council of what the transaction might deliver for the RIBA and NBS.

“Being geographically located close to the Corporate Finance Team at KPMG in Newcastle has been a huge asset as has working alongside the NBS team also based in Newcastle. It’s great that WBD’s corporate team can identify and work with exciting and growing North East clients, like NBS, and attract capital from outside the region to develop opportunities for our business community.”

Alan Vallance, RIBA Chief Executive, said: “The RIBA is pleased to have agreed on an exciting new partnership with LDC and NBS, supported by expert advisors including the Corporate team at WBD. The deal provides welcome investment in NBS, enabling the business to develop its products and grow in the UK and overseas. The WBD team provided extensive legal and transaction advice.”