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International ambitions: Penningtons Manches launches office in San Francisco

It’s been little over a year since the high profile takeover of Manches by Penningtons, and the combined firm now has its sights set on further expansion having today (10 December) announced the opening of an overseas office in San Francisco’s financial district.

The venture, led by corporate and technology partner James Klein and IP/IT partner Hamish Corner, will provide English law advice on corporate, IP, immigration, and employment matters for US businesses, in particular technology-focused companies, undertaking corporate activity in the UK and Europe.

The firm hopes to build upon its network of clients in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and said the ‘focus of the office will complement [its] key sector strengths in cloud-based IT services, data analytics/big data, internet/e-commerce, life sciences and renewable energy/clean tech.’

It added the move will ‘strengthen [its] position as a US/UK inward investment specialist as well as bolstering the existing cross-border M&A practice, as the firm continues to act for US investors and acquirers on transactions.’

Penningtons Manches chief executive David Raine said: ‘The launch of our San Francisco office is not only a clear statement of intent about our international aspirations but shows how much the team has achieved in a short period of time in terms of building relationships and winning West Coast clients. We are delighted to be able to help service the sector’s growing need for UK and EU advice as technology companies expand the scope of their operations outside the US.’

Klein added: ‘Since the formation of Penningtons Manches just over a year ago, the imperative to respond to a growing trend towards transatlantic investment by US enterprises has been strengthened by our enhanced capability not only in the technology sector as a whole but within the life sciences, clean tech, data privacy and outsourcing sub-sectors.

‘Last year the number of European buyouts with a US sponsor reached around €18 billion, double that of 2009 and we are now confident of both our West Coast relationships and our firm-wide ability to service clients in these sub-sectors.’

The ambitious move follows the highly publicised takeover by Penningtons of beleaguered Manches last October, which had previously been earmarked as a firm in need of a merger. In a deal brokered by PwC as administrators, a business transfer agreement saw 265 Manches employees, including 46 partners move over to Penningtons.

Others to make their mark on the West Coast includes Osborne Clarke which in March rolled out a strategy to provide European legal advice to digital businesses in the US from a base in San Francisco, a move which office head Steve Wilson said would help the firm engrain itself in the area’s budding digital business community.