Stellar month for Womble Bond Dickinson    

July 18, 2018

The Newcastle-based law firm’s corporate team is celebrating the end of a fantastic month after closing their fifth multi-million pound North East corporate transaction in June

Confirming its position as one of the region’s busiest and most dynamic corporate teams, throughout June Womble Bond Dickinson’s Newcastle corporate team advised on deals worth over £125m, including:

  • RIBA on the £31m investment by LDC in its Newcastle-based commercial arm, NBS.
  • Longstanding, Darlington-headquartered, offshore wind client Tekmar on its £65m IPO.
  • Newcastle tech-company IOTech Systems Limited on its $2.5m investment by computer giant, Dell.
  • Alnwick-based Arcinova on its £5m growth capital investment from BGF.
  • Vertu on its £21.8m acquisition of The Hughes Group – boosting Vertu’s growing Mercedes–Benz presence, as well as further JEEP, Peugeot, Škoda and Smart dealerships.

This stand-out display in June caps off an impressive 12-month period for the team, led by corporate partner Ben Butler, bringing the total value of deals to in excess of £1bn.

Ben comments: “It’s been a fantastic start to the year for all of us here in the Newcastle corporate team. June, in particular, has been great, with the entire team working extremely hard to deliver these transactions, but we have been doing exceptional work across the region during the last 12 months, with some fantastic North East based clients. These deals highlight our ongoing commitment to the region and cement our position as the market-leading corporate team.

“I am also pleased that our diverse team have all played a key role in our recent success. Partner Robert Phillips led on the NBS deal and the Tekmar float, ably assisted by young and emerging dealmakers Stacey Hall and Oliver Rickett, with Oliver also assisting me on the Vertu acquisition which completed on 30 June. Managing associate Anna McGill worked with me on the Arcinova transaction, while also leading on the investment into the ‘internet of things’ company IoTech.”

The team have also recently completed a £149m fundraising for Atom Bank, the latest of a series of funding rounds (each of which has been led by Ben, supported by Associate Catherine Willis, along with Anna and Oliver) which has seen Atom Bank, the UK’s first bank designed for digital, become one of the fastest growing UK start-ups, having raised over £350m since inception less than 4 years ago. The Atom fundraising followed the conclusion of the sale of flagship Cumbrian business CN Group Limited to Newsquest Media Group by corporate Partner Jamie Pass and lawyer Oliver Rickett, and the disposal by

Newcastle-headquartered Grainger plc of its interest in a residential investment joint venture for £67m. The Grainger transaction was led by Iain Pritty, legal director in the Newcastle corporate team (who also set up the JV relationship in 2013), assisted by David Ridley – the newest member of the team after he joined from Scottish firm Stronachs in September 2017. Earlier in the year, Ben, Oliver and Catherine also advised on the $464m IPO of Teesside-headquartered Venator Materials plc, in addition to Ben and Stacey Hall advising on the £11m sale of Newcastle-based Vocare Limited.

Ben added: “These local transactions exemplify our growing sector specialisms here in Newcastle – technology and manufacturing – which fit well with the local economy, together with Iain and David’s growing real estate practice. It is our access to this sector expertise which further exemplifies why we are the pre-eminent corporate team in the region.

“It is great that we have been able to do so many high-profile deals right across the North East, with transactions across Northumberland and Cumbria, Tyne and Wear and, increasingly, Teesside, where our presence has been bolstered by Managing Associate Will Bonas, who is building relationships with new and existing clients on Teesside.”

WBD has a large dedicated corporate team that represents clients on a full-range of transactions, regulatory issues and governance. It is the only corporate team in the region to be rated as a Band 1 practice by leading legal directory Chambers and Partners. The firm’s corporate lawyers have extensive experience in advising clients on various transactions including public and private mergers & acquisitions, private equity, IPOs, venture capital, corporate structures, investment funds and partnerships across a number of key sectors. Newcastle is the firm’s largest UK office.

Timeline –

August 2017: £30m disposal of the entire issued share capital after a multi-jurisdictional hive down of assets from Molins plc to MPRD Limited
August 2017: $454m IPO of Venator Materials plc on New York Stock Exchange
August 2017: Advised minority shareholder James Bowers in his exit from Witherslack Group (Holdings) Limited
August 2017: Advised the shareholders of Chemoxy International Limited on their disposal to Novacap Limited
September 2017: Advised Sterling Pharma Solutions Limited on a subscription for issue of shares to management
September 2017: Acted for Fat Buddha (Newcastle) Limited in its acquisition of the Newcastle-based restaurant and bar The Fat Buddha
October 2017: Advised AVX Limited on its £118.8m acquisition of TT Electronics Technology Limited
November 2017: Acted for CN Group Limited, on the sale of the business and assets of its subsidiaries – Bay Radio Limited and Lakeland Radio Limited, and the transfer of the radio licenses to Global Radio Limited
March 2018: Sale of entire issued share capital of CN Group Limited included its residual publishing business by way of an offer under the takeover code was Newsquest Media Group Limited
March 2018: Advised Augean plc on the £3.8m sale of the entire issued share capital of Augean Integrated Services Limited
March  2018: Advised North of England (NEPIA) on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Knighthood Corporate Assurance Services Limited to Hawkwood Investment Holdings Limited
May 2018: Advised Atlantic Metropolitan (UK) Limited on the disposal of its joint venture interest in Walworth Investment Properties Limited
June 2018: Advised RIBA on the £31m investment by LDC, in its Newcastle based commercial arm, NBS
June 2018: £65m IPO of Tekmar on AIM
June 2018: Advised IOTech Systems on $2.5m investment by computer giant, Dell
June 2018: Advised Arcinova on its £5m growth capital investment from BGF
June 2018: Acted for Vertu Motors plc acquisition of the Hughes Group motor dealerships in Beaconsfield for £21.8m

Womble Bond Dickinson

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