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Deal Watch: sporting metaphor alert as Dechert, HSF and DLA Piper score high-profile football roles

The balance sheets of most English clubs may be shakier than Villa’s back four, but when it comes to raising your deal-doers’ profile there’s still nothing like acting for major football teams.

Among the advisers getting off the bench (sorry) are Dechert, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Squire Sanders on the sale of Fulham Football Club while DLA Piper is working on the £260m regeneration of Liverpool’s Anfield ground.

Dechert represented Mohammad Al Fayed’s family trust in the sale of Fulham to Shahid Khan, chief executive of Flex-N-Gate Group and owner of US football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team was led by Douglas Getter, head of Dechert’s corporate practice in London. Khan was advised on the deal by a London-based Squire Sanders team led by corporate and sports law partner David Hull.

The US-qualified Getter co-ordinated with Dechert senior associate Andrew Harrow on the English law deal. Getter told Legal Business: ‘An owner of a US football team buying a UK football team may represent some cross-marketing opportunities, especially as the Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing one game a season in London for the next four years.’

A HSF team led by London partner Martin Dawbne advised Al Fayed on property issues. Al Fayed had owned the club for 16 years after purchasing it for a reported sum of £30m.

DLA Piper, meanwhile, is advising regular client Liverpool Football Club on plans for a £260m regeneration of the area surrounding the Premier League club’s Anfield stadium. The proposals include 550 new homes and the club is working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and housing provider Your Housing Group to draw up the development plans. The DLA team is being led by UK head of construction and engineering Jim Pinsent, with support from real estate partner Mark Beardwood and intellectual property (IP) partner Sarah Bell.

Aside from this week’s footballing exhilaration other firms to undertake major mandates include Davis Polk & Wardwell, Hogan Lovells and RPC.

Davis Polk has advised Dialog Semiconductor on its $310m acquisition of iWatt, a provider of digital power management integrated circuits. The combination will advance Dialog’s position in providing power management for tablets and smartphones.

Davis Polk’s team included corporate partner William Kelly and IP specialist Anthony Fenwick. RPC advised Dialog on the $125m financing facility from Barclays and HSBC that was used to fund the acquisition, alongside cash reserves. RPC also advised on UK competition and regulatory aspects of the deal. Its team was led by corporate partner Tim Anderson and also included partners Karen Hendy and Gwyneth Macaulay.

Hogan Lovells, meanwhile, secured a role on News Corp plans to relocate its UK operation to a single location in The Place on the Southbank of the Thames. The firm’s team was led by real estate partner Dion Panambalana with senior associates Simon Keen, Paul Tonkin and associate Edward Newport.

‘We acted for News Corp relocating them from Wapping to their current location in Thomas More Square and we are delighted to have been able to assist them again in this move to an iconic location where, for the first time, they can bring together all of their locally-based business and staff,’ said Panambalana, who has been a regular adviser on real estate work for News Corp in Europe.

Back of the net (again, sorry).

Football obsessives should click here for an in-depth piece on the 2010 battle to acquire Liverpool FC.