Legal Business

Slaughter and May chooses Hong Kong once more for rare partner hire

Slaughter and May chooses Hong Kong once more for rare partner hire

Traditionally phobic to partner hires, Slaughter and May has recruited in Hong Kong again almost a year after its previous move in the jurisdiction, this time recruiting Jing Chen as partner from the Listing Division of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).

Chen re-joins the firm having been a trainee solicitor at Slaughters in 2006, before spending eight years as an associate advising on M&A and capital markets following qualification.

Chen had initially been seconded to the HKEX but the move became permanent in 2017. While there, he acted on a range of initiatives, including the introduction of the new listing regimes for pre-revenue biotech companies and companies with weighted voting rights.

Peter Brien, senior partner of the Hong Kong office, commented: ‘We are really pleased to welcome Jing Chen back to the firm as a partner. He is a first-class practitioner and his time at the Listing Division will serve him well as he draws on his regulatory and market knowledge for the direct benefit of our clients in Asia’

In April of last year, the firm hired investigations and litigation lawyer Wynne Mok to its Hong Kong office from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. Mok became the third lateral in the firm’s history, having previously broke the duck four years prior with another Hong Kong appointment in John Moore. The second hire came from Herbert Smith Freehills in the City, with pensions partner Daniel Schaffer joining the firm. Chen meanwhile will take up his position in April.

Slaughters also announced one partner promotion in the City today (20 March), with finance associate Harry Bacon being made up from May, having been at the firm as a trainee since 2009.

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Dealwatch: Freshfields joins Slaughters in fight for UK plastics plc as Apax returns to Links Paris team

Dealwatch: Freshfields joins Slaughters in fight for UK plastics plc as Apax returns to Links Paris team

It has been a busy few days for the Magic Circle, as US company Berry Global trumped an offer by Apollo to secure UK plastics group RPC for £3.34bn while Apax sold its business schools to Cinven for €800m.

Corporate head Andy Ryde and partner Paul Mudie have been leading the Slaughter and May team advising the London-listed company as its board approved last Friday (8 March) the offer from the American packaging group.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Piers Prichard Jones and Alison Smith acted for Berry. The New York-listed manufacturer trounced a previous £3.3bn bid by Apollo, leaving the private equity house definitively out of the game.

‘The first offer from Apollo was expressed as a final offer and there were no caveats,’ Ryde told Legal Business. ‘And if you make a final offer with no reservation on a UK public takeover you are not allowed to bid again.’

A Sullivan & Cromwell team led by Ben Perry acted as lead adviser to Apollo on the UK takeover elements of the deal when its bid was initially recommended by RPC’s board on 23 January, with Paull Weiss London-based M&A partner David Lakhdhir providing additional advice to that firm’s core client in the US.

‘It’s very interesting that Berry made their competing offer on Friday, the week before the meaningful vote in Parliament on Brexit,’ added Ryde. ‘It suggests that Berry are fairly relaxed about Brexit. It is a positive sign for the UK that they were prepared to do that.’

The possibility of further bids is not ruled out but considered very unlikely. Berry’s offer will need the backing of 75% of shareholders in a meeting to be called shortly. Closing is expected in the third quarter of the year.

Freshfields saw its French team busy too, as Paris corporate partner Alan Mason led the team advising Cinven in its €800m acquisition of private higher education group Inseec, announced on Monday (11 March).

Linklaters advised seller Apax, led by Paris corporate partner Fabrice de La Morandière.

The Silk Street firm previously advised the UK private equity house when it acquired Inseec from Career Education in December 2013 for €200m.

The group has since grown to a collection of schools in Europe, the USA and China enrolling more than 25,000 students.

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Magic Circle leads tech foray as Slaughters unveils tech incubator and Linklaters and A&O back Nivaura in $20m funding round

Magic Circle leads tech foray as Slaughters unveils tech incubator and Linklaters and A&O back Nivaura in $20m funding round

Slaughter and May has announced today (27 February) its much-anticipated legal tech incubator, Slaughter and May Collaborate, with the firm primed to select about six legal tech companies for its first cohort.

Magic Circle counterparts Allen & Overy (A&O) and Linklaters, meanwhile, have both featured in fintech company Nivaura’s $20m funding round as the City elite bustle to achieve a technological advantage.

Collaborate is the first tech incubator at Slaughters with an exclusively legal focus, following the firm’s fintech effort, Fast Forward. The incubator will use a cohort model that will expose participants to clients and lawyers within the firm.

Collaborate will also feature an advisory panel of the firm’s top blue-chip clients, with GlaxoSmithKline, John Lewis Partnership, Santander, Standard Chartered and Vodafone all providing feedback on their technological needs. The programme will not include permanent office space or look to take equity in applicants.

Slaughters’ head of innovation Jane Stewart (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘We spoke to a lot of tech companies who had participated in existing incubators to get an idea of what they wanted out of it, we really wanted to find out what was practically useful. One surprising thing that came out of that was companies don’t consider office space something of high importance.’

Part of the offering from Slaughters will include two mentors assigned to each Collaborate member, one coming from the innovation team and another a practicing lawyer relevant to the company’s business. Applications are open until 27 March, with the firm hoping to get the programme underway in April.

Collaborate is mostly aimed at early and mid-stage ventures rather than established businesses, but applications are open to all stages of maturity.

Steward added: ‘Already we have had a very established company express interest.’

Elsewhere, Linklaters and A&O both featured in a funding round for leading fintech prospect Nivaura, a longstanding participant in A&O’s Fuse tech incubator. The funding round raised $20m for the start-up, and was led by the London Stock Exchange Group.

For Linklaters, the investment marks a first for the firm, having never before taken equity in a technology start-up. A&O, meanwhile, has a longer relationship with Nivaura, with the firm investing approximately £100,000 in the company prior to Nivaura entering A&O’s tech incubator Fuse. The latest funding round has seen the firm increase its equity in the company, but the stake remains a small percentage of Nivaura’s overall shareholding.

‘They have a unique proposition,’ A&O debt capital markets partner Philip Smith told Legal Business. ‘They have granulised the various steps involved in a capital markets transaction, from the inception to the finalisation. There are other companies we are working with and we have considerable interest in investing with the model we have developed alongside Nivaura.’

Founded three years ago, Nivaura focuses on the deployment of digital investment banking platforms for banks. Compared to the fledging legal tech scene, fintech remains a more mature and sophisticated market, with Nivaura now set to rapidly expand its leadership, business development and technical teams to focus on large-scale projects throughout 2019.

‘The investment gives us an opportunity to help Nivaura,’ Linklaters capital markets partner Richard Levy told Legal Business. ‘It also gives us the opportunity to be at the centre of innovation. We look at start-ups in different ways and would consider future investments as part of a wider collaboration with a company.’

The funding round also saw US law firm Orrick, Santander InnoVentures and Transamerica Ventures invest, and is the latest influx of capital into the space after Slaughters stepped up earlier this month to help AI company Luminance secure a further $10m of funding, giving the company a valuation of $100m.

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: Big cheeses land £975m Dairy Crest deal as Slaughters acts on £1.3bn Provident hostile takeover

Deal watch: Big cheeses land £975m Dairy Crest deal as Slaughters acts on £1.3bn Provident hostile takeover

The UK buyout market had an uncharacteristically frenetic week with City M&A counsel taking the lead on a £1.3bn unsolicited bid for doorstep lender Provident Financial and the £975m recommended offer for UK cheese and spreads stalwart Dairy Crest Group on the same day.

The hostile bid for sub-prime lender Provident was launched at 7am this morning (22 February) by Non-Standard Finance (NSF), with Slaughter and May corporate head Andy Ryde and fellow partner Paul Mudie leading the charge.

NSF was set up in 2015 by former Provident chairman John van Kuffeler, who had previously enlisted Slaughters while at Provident and carried on the relationship at NSF, including on its IPO.

In a rare case of a hostile takeover not leaking beforehand, the target company called up to enlist Clifford Chance on Friday morning when the bid went public. Corporate partners Lee Coney and Mark Poulton are leading the team advising Provident, with the latter having previously advised the client on its strategic review and £331m rights issue.

Shareholders who collectively own more than 50% of the company, including Woodford Investment Management, Invesco and Marathon Asset Management, are understood to be in favour of the offer, given disgruntlement with chief executive Malcolm Le May following a series of profit warnings.

The bid turned hostile after Provident last year rebuffed an approach from NSF. Given heavy regulation of subprime lenders, mainstream banks are unlikely to put in a rival offer for Provident, although the company could be a private equity play.

NSF is planning to demerge its home credit business, Loans at Home, to satisfy the competition authority.

Also benefiting from a long-standing relationship was Eversheds Sutherland  partner Aleen Gulvanessian, who led a team advising Dairy Crest on its £975m sale to Canadian dairy company Saputo.

Dairy Crest is the manufacturer of products including Cathedral City cheddar, Country Life butter – a favourite of former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon – and Clover spread.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, led by energy and natural resources head Laurie McFadden and corporate partner Stephen Hewes, advised the buyer. An Ashurst team led by partner Karen Davies advised Lazard as buy-side financial adviser.

The Canadian counterpart is using the acquisition, its first foray into Europe, as a foundation for growth in the UK.

Eversheds Sutherland has advised longstanding client Dairy Crest on a string of deals, including its €430m sale of French cheese spread company St Hubert to Montagu Private equity in 2012, the £80m sale of its dairies business to Müller in 2015 and a recent £70m fundraising.

Gulvanessian told Legal Business that the quality of the buyer was an important consideration in the sale process. ‘It is an excellent brand and business. The directors were keen to ensure that not only was the offer good for shareholders but also for all other stakeholders – the farmers, other suppliers, customers and of course employees.’

Elsewhere, Travers Smith leveraged its long-standing relationship with Ancala Partners to advise its joint venture – Leep Utilities – on the acquisition of SSE Water Limited from SSE plc.

Leep Utilities is a joint-venture of Ancala, the mid-market infrastructure investment manager, and the real estate and infrastructure investor the Peel Group. Long-time relationship partner Spencer Summerfield advised the buyer.

SSE Water is the largest new appointments and variations (NAV) company operating in the UK water sector, owning water networks that supply around 20,000 customers across 28 sites in southern England and Wales.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: Healthy pickings for Travers and DLA on Unilever’s £150m graze buyout as firms navigate Interserve rescue saga

Deal watch: Healthy pickings for Travers and DLA on Unilever’s £150m graze buyout as firms navigate Interserve rescue saga

Travers Smith and DLA Piper have sated their appetites on The Carlyle Group’s £150m disposal of graze while a raft of advisers sat tight as a further twist in the Interserve saga unfolded.

Unilever last Tuesday (5 February) sealed the deal to acquire ubiquitous healthy snack brand graze, having fended of competition from rival bidders Pepsi and Kellogg in an auction launched in the latter part of last year by Harris Williams.

The buyer, which also owns Marmite, mustard maker Colman’s and Wall’s ice-cream, was reputed to have paid exactly half the £300m asking price for the snack company.

Private equity house Carlyle, which sold graze via its Carlyle European Technology Partners fund, turned to longstanding relationship firm Travers and a team led by partners Ian Shawyer (pictured) and George Weavil. While not an obvious asset to be owned by a tech fund, Shawyer notes that graze, having started life in 2008 as a direct to consumer snack box delivery service, has a tech-based flavour in that it is based on data strategy and uses tech to mine customer preferences of its products.

The company has evolved to stocking the shelves of more than 30,000 UK retailers as well as US shops including Target, Walgreens and 7-Eleven.

Carlyle last year started sounding out the market for a successor fund – Carlyle European Technology Partners IV – with a view to raising €1.3bn to invest in companies with significant growth potential.

While Latham & Watkins is the firm most associated with Carlyle Group for international work, Travers has carved a niche advising the group on European deals.

Bob Bishop, DLA’s global co-chair of corporate, led the team advising Unilever, while Phil Hails-Smith, corporate and commercial partner at Joelson, advised graze’s management.

Meanwhile, the rescue of beleaguered UK construction plc Interserve has encountered a snag. Coinciding last Wednesday (6 February) with Interserve’s agreement in principle of a deleveraging plan that could save it from a Carillion-style collapse, hedge fund investor Coltrane Master Fund sought to leverage its 17% stake to requisition a general meeting that could see most of its directors ousted.

The latest example of shareholder activists making their presence felt on this side of the Atlantic, Coltrane has called for Interserve’s entire board, apart from chief executive Debbie White, to stand down and that David Frauman and Stuart Ross be appointed as directors.

The rescue mission has kept firms including Ashurst, Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld busy for several months. If approved by shareholders, it would involve £480m of new shares issued to lenders in a debt for equity deal aimed at reducing debt from £600m to £275m.

Advising Interserve are an Ashurst corporate team led by Tom Mercer and a Slaughters team led by restructuring partner Ian Johnson. A&O is advising the lenders with a team led by Trevor Borthwick, while Akin Gump, led by Barry Russell, is advising the noteholders.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer restructuring partner Adam Gallagher is advising the pension trustees of Interserve.

While there are clear parallels with fellow UK construction company Carillion, which fell into liquidation in January 2018, advisers are quick to note that the underlying business of Interserve does not suffer from such severe liquidity shortfalls and has not been subject to the same mismanagement.

‘A similar rescue plan was being considered for Carillion but didn’t work because that business was in far worse shape. This is what it looks like if it is possible to save the company’, said one partner of the Interserve restructuring.

Howard Kennedy and Browne Jacobson also last week won mandates acting on HMV’s rescue buyout by Canadian record company Sunrise Records & Entertainment Limited.

The move follows the music retailer’s demise into administration at the end of last year when Addleshaw Goddard partners Fraser Ritson and Alison Goldthorp were drafted in to advise the administrator KPMG.

The transaction will see Sunrise Records acquire 100 HMV stores across the UK while 27 stores were not included in the deal and have now shut down.

Howard Kennedy is advising KPMG, with a team led by corporate partner Jonathan Polin while Browne Jacobson corporate finance partner Roger Birchall is advising Sunrise Records.

High street cake purveyor Patisserie Valerie last month called in KPMG after it was unable to shake off significant fraud plaguing the business, with Gateley advising the administrator.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Luminance valuation hits $100m as Slaughters stumps up in $10m investment round

Luminance valuation hits $100m as Slaughters stumps up in $10m investment round

UK legal tech leader and Slaughter and May ally Luminance has received further backing from existing investors, propelling the start-up to a $100m valuation.

The AI company boosted its war chest by $10m following further backing from existing investors Talis Capital, Mike Lynch-backed technology investor Invoke Capital and City bluebloods Slaughters.

‘We’ll be spending on people and more people,’ Luminance chief executive Emily Foges (pictured) told Legal Business. ‘When we first landed we acted in one very specific domain – working on due diligence for law firms – but now we act on four different domains and we need people out there selling the product and explaining how it works.’

The initial backing from high-profile billionaire Lynch, who also co-found tech giant Autonomy, as well as early support from Slaughters saw Luminance rise to prominence through a wave of client wins. Currently the company counts more than 120 customers in 39 countries, including 15 of the Global 100 and three of the Big Four accountancy firms. Lynch was recently charged with fraud in the US over the multi-billion pound sale of Autonomy.

Luminance will hope the new funding round will see the company achieve greater penetration at the top end of UK law. Currently, only Slaughters and Eversheds Sutherland have publicly announced their use of the AI company, with firms across Asia and Europe being more frequent adopters.

The latest backing for Luminance also continues a battle among the leading legal tech providers to secure clients at the premium end of UK legal. Contract analysis counterpart Kira has achieved meaningful traction with the City elite and landed $50m in funding last year, bolstering the value of the company to approximately $200m.

‘There is a lot of noise, as there always is,’ Foges said. ‘When we first came onto the scene there were a lot of niche players doing very bespoke work and law firms invested a lot into that, but now they’re coming back to us. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have on the legal profession.’

For more on Luminance and the legal tech battle for the City elite, read here.

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal watch: City and US firms defy tough M&A market with deal duo as Gateley takes the cake on Patisserie Valerie collapse

Deal watch: City and US firms defy tough M&A market with deal duo as Gateley takes the cake on Patisserie Valerie collapse

Slaughter and May, Sullivan & Cromwell, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and Ashurst have defied a challenging market to take key roles on a pair of UK mergers as listed Gateley leads on the collapse of Patisserie Valerie.

Last week saw the £3.3bn takeover of UK listed plastics manufacturer RPC Group by funds managed by Apollo Management IX, as well as Primary Health Properties’ £393m acquisition of MedicX Fund Limited in an otherwise sedate UK M&A market.

Slaughter and May took the company-side mandate to advise RPC on a recommended offer for all shares by Apollo. Each RPC shareholder will be entitled to 782 pence in cash for each RPC share, valuing the deal at roughly £3.3bn. The shares have been issued by Rome UK Bidco, a vehicle created by the buyer of RPC, which designs and engineers plastic products, including for the plastic packaging markets.

The deal was led by Slaughters head of corporate Andy Ryde with a team including corporate partner and future rising star candidate Paul Mudie.

A Sullivan & Cromwell team led by Ben Perry acted as lead adviser to Apollo on the UK takeover elements of the deal with Paull Weiss London-based M&A partner David Lakhdhir providing additional advice to that firm’s core client in the US.

The sale process has been relatively protracted, becoming public last September and being subject to numerous takeover panel extensions. Bain Capital was also pegged as a potential acquirer of the business but later pulled out of the process. The transaction also includes a significant debt financing piece.

Ryde told Legal Business: ‘RPC’s plastic packaging business has grown rapidly in recent years through acquisition and it was felt that a private equity owner would allow it to continue this acquisitive strategy.’

He added: ‘It is a sign of market confidence that a takeover of this size of a FTSE 250 company can be done in a challenging market. The deal first became public last September and required five takeover panel extensions to finalise the due diligence process. RPC is a decentralised business with seven divisions operating across 33 countries so the deal took time to cross the line – but it got there in the end.’

The deal is slated to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, Ashurst has landed a role advising MedicX Fund, the healthcare infrastructure fund owned by Octopus, on its takeover by Primary Health Properties Plc (PHP).

The deal is being done via a Guernsey law scheme of arrangement and sees the share capital of MedicX issued in exchange for new shares in PHP, a deal which is valued at roughly £393m.

MedicX, a specialist primary care infrastructure investor in healthcare properties in the UK and Ireland, was advised by a team led by Ashurst corporate partner Tom Mercer and including corporate partner Tara Waters.

CMS advised PHP on the deal, with a team spearheaded by partners Glyn Taylor and Jack Shepherd.

MedicX is a closed-end investment company with UK REIT status, listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its investment portfolio includes 166 properties with a value of around £806.7m.

FTSE 250 company PHP is also a listed UK REIT which leases properties to GPs, the NHS and other healthcare providers. It has a market capitalisation of £875m and investments of £1.5bn.

Elsewhere, woes continue to plague the UK high street as Patisserie Valerie succumbed to the dark cloud of ‘significant fraud’ overshadowing the fancy cake chain as it brought in KPMG to administer its collapse earlier this week.

Parent company Patisserie Holdings plc announced the move on Tuesday (22 January), saying that as a direct result of the significant fraud it had been unable to renew its bank facilities.

Last October, a £40m black hole was discovered in the company’s accounts overseen by former finance director Chris Marsh who was then arrested on suspicion of fraud, bailed and then resigned from the company.

Patisserie Valerie’s chairman Luke Johnson has taken out a loan in order to pay out January wages.

Listed law firm Gateley has been unforthcoming about its reported role advising KPMG on the administration. The firm has declined to comment on whether Birmingham-based partner James Madill is advising, as one restructuring source suggests.

On Wednesday (23 January), KPMG announced the closure of loss-making stores, including 27 Patisserie Valerie stores and 19 Druckers stores. A further 25 Patisserie Valerie concessions in Debenhams (the UK department store which has itself been on restructuring counsel’s watch list for several months), Next and motorway service areas have also closed, along with the company’s bakery in Spitalfields. The closures have resulted in 920 redundancies.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Slaughters lifts associate salaries alongside performance-related bonuses

Slaughters lifts associate salaries alongside performance-related bonuses

Slaughter and May has increased its salary rates for newly qualified (NQ) associates by £3,000, with junior associates also seeing an increase alongside performance-related end-of-year bonuses.

All associates from NQ to 18 months post-qualification (PQE) will enjoy salary increases, with NQs seeing their pay increase to £83,000 from £80,000. Pay for associates 6 months after qualification will see their pay go up £2,000 to £86,000, while associates one year and 18 months post-qualification will see their pay go up by £1,000 to £89,000 and £93,750 respectively.

Associates achieving a ‘good or exceptional level of performance’ will also receive a bonus this year ranging from 8.25% to 14.5%, depending on PQE level. The bonus figures broadly match the figures from last year, when the firm announced bonuses ranging between 9% and 16% of salary.

The firm says the increases reflect market rates. Trainees, business services, PSLs, secretaries and paralegals will receive a bonus of 3%, which is the same as last year.

Meanwhile, Magic Circle counterparts Allen & Overy increased its NQ rates over the summer by 2.5% to £83,000, which was later matched by Linklaters. Clifford Chance, however, increased pay for NQs more than 4% to £91,000.

The City elite will hope increases to associate pay will slow the attrition of young lawyers to US counterparts, with many US firms offering pay well in excess of £100,000 for entry-level lawyers.

thomas.alan@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Legal tech focus: Slaughters’ tech ally Luminance makes impact but battle for City elite wages

Legal tech focus: Slaughters’ tech ally Luminance makes impact but battle for City elite wages

Luminance has shot to prominence unlike any other UK legal tech start-up. But Hamish McNicol finds there is still plenty to do to break into the top of the profession

‘We’re changing things to the extent Excel changed the way accounting is done,’ Luminance chief executive Emily Foges proclaims. ‘You can’t imagine doing anything financial without it.’

Legal Business

Deal watch: Bakers and Slaughters drink in £3.1bn Horlicks acquisition as AJ Bell IPO yields dividends for Pinsents and Addleshaws

Deal watch: Bakers and Slaughters drink in £3.1bn Horlicks acquisition as AJ Bell IPO yields dividends for Pinsents and Addleshaws

As the market hunkers down for the festive season, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) £3.1bn sale to Unilever of Horlicks has warmed the cockles of City teams from Baker McKenzie and Slaughter and May, while Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard have won key mandates on what is likely the year’s last big London listing.

The GSK deal sees it sell its malted drink brand Horlicks and other consumer healthcare nutrition brands to Unilever and includes the merger of listed GSK Consumer Healthcare India with Hindustan Unilever. GSK will also sell its 82% stake in GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh in the deal, which is slated to complete by the end of next year.

Bakers stepped up for long-standing client Unilever on the deal, with a London team led by corporate partner David Scott alongside partners Steve Holmes, Sue McLean and Michelle Blunt, who advised on the IP and tech aspects of the deal, as well as tax partner Alistair Craig.

Indian firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas advised Unilever on Indian law, while Slaughter and May, with a team including partners David Johnson, Simon Nicholls and Christian Boney, acted for GSK.

Last year, Bakers advised Unilever on its acquisition of the personal care and homecare brands of Quala, the Latin American consumer goods company, as well as it joint venture with Europe & Asia Commercial Company in Myanmar.

Scott told Legal Business: ‘It was a pleasure to partner again with our great client, Unilever, and our friends at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, on this terrific acquisition, including an iconic brand such as Horlicks.’

Meanwhile, Slaughters earlier this year advised repeat client GSK on its $13bn acquisition of Novartis’ 36.5% stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture.

In other news, Pinsents secured a notable win to advise Manchester-headquartered AJ Bell, one of the largest UK investment platform providers, on a proposed listing on the London Stock Exchange which could raise up to £675m.

The price range for the offer has been set at £1.54 to £1.66 per ordinary share, implying a market capitalisation on admission of between £626m and £675m.

Pinsents corporate partner Julian Stanier led the team advising the company, which is also offering customers the opportunity to apply for shares via the AJ Bell website.

Stanier told Legal Business the IPO is slated to be the last big London listing of 2018 after what has been a choppy year for the capital markets.

‘It’s the same with all companies looking to list. If there is a growth story and strong management team, investors will back it, and we are confident that will be the case with AJ Bell.’

Stanier points to the customer offer alongside the institutional offer as being a point of interest.

He added: ‘The quasi-retail element is not the most common, although it has appeared before, such as in Ocado’s 2010 IPO. What’s interesting is that the whole customer offer can be done completely through AJ Bell’s website.’

Shares are due to be admitted on 12 December.

Addleshaws, meanwhile is advising Numis as sponsor, financial adviser, sole bookrunner and broker to AJ Bell on the float, led by partners Giles Distin in London and Richard Lee in Manchester.

The firm pointed to other notable listings it has worked on in the last two years, including the IPOs of Mind Gym, Sumo Digital, The City Pub Company and Ramsdens.

Distin commented: ‘Whilst UK IPO activity has generally been more muted this year, partly due to volatile market conditions and fears around Brexit, several sizeable and successful businesses have managed to complete a flotation. Like Numis, which has remained very active in the IPO market this year, we’re pleased to have been busy throughout 2018 advising on IPOs and other equity capital markets work.’

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk