London: Corporate and commercial
Olswang LLP’s highly regarded practice handles IT outsourcing, BPO and procurement transactions, among other matters, and its clients include BP, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone. Dominic Dryden led advice to Unilever on outsourcing its service desk, desk-side support and device management operations to Unisys. Dryden jointly heads the practice with Matthew Bennett.
Mark Joscelyne heads Olswang LLP’s ‘technically and commercially very strong and supportive team’, which includes Cliona Kirby, who is ‘very savvy on property and IP tax issues’, Stephen Hignett, whose wide-ranging tax expertise impresses, and the ‘solutions-oriented’ Graham Chase. TMT and retail are particular sector strengths.
Mark Joscelyne - Olswang LLP
EU and competition
Olswang LLP’s practice has a strong TMT sector focus and handles merger control work for Cineworld and CityFibre, among others. It advised Audible, BPI and Viacom on competition issues arising from IP licensing and distribution agreements. Team head Howard Cartlidge is ably supported by senior associate Dervla Broderick.
Flotations: small and mid-cap
At Olswang LLP, the highly regarded Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand is a key contact for cross-border capital markets deals, particularly related to Asia, while practice head Paul Blackmore regularly advises listed companies operating in the TMT and leisure sectors. Dexion Capital is a recent NOMAD client.
M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m
Olswang LLP’s ‘first-rate’ practice, which is particularly strong in TMT, real estate, retail and leisure, is led by Mark Bertram, who advised the Iliffe family on its £220m sale to Trinity Mirror of a stake in Local World Holdings. Anthony Waller, who is praised for ‘bending over backwards’ for clients, acted for Surreal Vision during its sale to Facebook. Robert Willis provides ‘polished, comprehensive and accessible advice’.
Olswang LLP’s client base includes investment fund managers such as CNH Capital Partners, professional services firms including Rawlinson & Hunter and AlixPartners, and individual partners. Catherine Taylor and Barry Stimpson jointly head the team.
Private equity: transactions
Olswang LLP’s Chris Mackie acted for Bowmark Capital in the MBO of insurance broker Aston Scott Group. Duncan McDonald is another key name in the team, which is also active in management-side matters. Fabrizio Carpanini, who was succeeded by Mackie as practice head, joined Dorsey & Whitney, as did Carsten Greve.
VAT and indirect tax
Olswang LLP is noted for its breadth of indirect tax expertise. Key contacts include Stephen Hignett, who has ‘incomparable knowledge and experience of gambling tax’; Cliona Kirby, who is ‘very savvy on property tax’; and the ‘solutions-oriented’ Graham Chase, who acts for clients including Kaupthing and Ronson Capital Partners.
Supported by a strong IP team as well as a significant commercial practice that assists with IP commercialisation matters, Olswang LLP is able to provide a cradle-to-grave service to investors and investees in the life sciences and tech sectors in particular.
London: Crime, fraud and licensing
The fraud and investigations department at Olswang LLP is headed by ‘canny operator’ Bernard O’Sullivan. The team has particular experience in Russian and CIS matters and receives a variety of instructions from Yukos Capital. Anna Caddick made partner in 2016.
Bernard O’Sullivan - Olswang LLP
Gaming and betting
Olswang LLP has an international, full-service gambling practice as well as expertise in the increasingly busy remote gaming sector. The firm advised Gamesys on its £425m sale of Jackpotjoy to Intertain Group. ‘Well-known guru’ David Zeffman heads the group, which includes the ‘impressive’ Stephen Hignett.
London: Dispute resolution
Olswang LLP recently defended Up Energy Group (UEGL) and Qin Jun against a claim involving a purchase agreement under which UEGL sold convertible notes. Bernard O’Sullivan heads the practice, which includes Jeremy Mash, Richard Bamforth, Steven Corney and Ian Felstead.
Richard Bamforth - Olswang LLP
Olswang LLP’s ‘fiercely intellectual’ team is noted for its ability to draw on ‘huge resources that can match any firm in the field, while retaining a personal touch’. Equally adept at handling defendant and claimant mandates, the firm represents clients including ITV, The Guardian and Tom Cruise. Geraldine Proudler (who has ‘immense experience and impeccable judgement’) successfully defended The Spamhaus Project in libel proceedings initiated by two US-based claimants. Other key figures include Dan Tench, who has ‘one of the best legal brains in this field’; and Ian Felstead, who is ‘a first-rate practitioner’. Ashley Hurst joined Osborne Clarke in 2016.
Dan Tench - Olswang LLP
Geraldine Proudler - Olswang LLP
Corporate restructuring and insolvency
At Olswang LLP, Alicia Videon is ‘at the top of her game’ and ‘excels at complex and distressed situations’, particularly within the real estate sector. The ‘practical and commercial’ Julian Turner is also recommended.
Derivatives and structured products
Olswang LLP specialises in deals with technology and real estate assets. Charles Kerrigan and Anne Chitan ‘understand the commercial risk areas of a deal and can be trusted to run a transaction’. Ruth Marken is noted for her ability to ‘appreciate commercial issues and technical legal points’. Clients include Investec.
London: Human resources
Employee share schemes
Employment: employers and senior executives
Olswang LLP ‘marries a keen eye for detail with a strategic and tactical approach’, enabling the firm to provide clients with ‘practical and commercial advice’ in a ‘highly responsive’ manner. Practice head Melanie Lane stands out for her expertise in outsourcings and reorganisations, and assisted Catalent with the proposed closure of its UK packaging facility site, affecting over 150 employees. The ‘bright, energetic and motivated’ Catherine Taylor is recommended for cross-border and High Court litigation.
At Olswang LLP, practice head Ron Burgess led advice to the shareholders of Retail Acquisitions on the pensions aspects of its purchase of BHS Group. Burgess, along with senior associate Andrew Campbell, also acted for CIT Group (UK) on the pensions issues relating to its move from a trust-based defined contribution scheme to a group pension arrangement. Other clients include Amey, KSS and River Island.
London: Public sector
Administrative and public law
Olswang LLP regularly handles judicial review cases in the media and gambling sectors, where the firm has an outstanding reputation. Head of public law Dan Tench ‘combines his experience in media with cutting-edge public law expertise’, and is advising UK Cinema Association on the legality of Digital Cinema Media’s policy not to show political or religious advertising content in cinemas. Tamsin Blow is ‘sharp and gets things done’.
London: Real estate
Olswang LLP’s team mainly focuses its work on data centres, shopping malls, student accommodation and residential deals. Stephen Slater acted for key client UBS Global Asset Management on the £113m acquisition of New Brook buildings in London. Active clients in the hotels and leisure sector include Prezzo and Hardrock International Hotels. Jonathan Lewis heads the practice, in which other key figures include Simon Kanter and Martyn Needham.
Olswang LLP provides ‘efficient service’ under the leadership of Francis Ho, who is commended for his ‘breadth of knowledge of JCT contracts’. The team has secured a number of new clients in the hotels and leisure sector and advised Great Eagle Hotels Group on the refurbishment of the Langham Hotel. Senior associate Ben Worthington handles disputes.
The ‘very likeable, very bright’ Andrew Besser leads the team at Olswang LLP; he ‘manages complex cross-border matters with ease’. The practice had a very strong year, advising Cain Hoy and Sager House (Almeida)’s joint venture vehicle on a £190m loan from Lloyds Bank to develop Islington Square.
Andrew Besser - Olswang LLP
Clients appreciate Olswang LLP’s ‘accessible’ and ‘pleasant’ team, which shows industry knowledge and high-level expertise, and gives ‘detailed but to the point’ advice. ‘Skilful negotiator’ Marcus Barclay heads the practice, which includes the experienced Simone Ketchell and the ‘very bright’ Antoni Hajdon. BP, UBS and Bloomberg are clients.
Marcus Barclay - Olswang LLP
London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)
Lawyers at Olswang LLP ‘pride themselves on delivering what the client wants’. Iain Stansfield leads the firm’s dedicated marketing services team, which pulls in the multi-disciplinary expertise of corporate head Mark Bertram, trade marks head Sarah Wright and ‘pragmatic’ IP head Joel Barry, who ‘can always be relied upon to come up with imaginative solutions’. The firm advised Sky on its worldwide protection and enforcement policy, and undertakes all of Microsoft’s European trade mark prosecution and opposition work. Other clients include Unilever, M&C Saatchi and Jeremy Clarkson.
Joel Barry - Olswang LLP
Olswang LLP is noted for its ‘strong advisory practice and extensive litigation experience’. Ashley Hurst advises a variety of clients on issues such as General Data Protection Regulation preparedness, the invalidation of Safe Harbor and breach mitigation. Dan Tench continues to represent Judith Vidal-Hall and others in a privacy case against Google. Other clients include Groupon, marketing consultant dunnhumby and Adbrain. Ross McKean moved to DLA Piper in May 2016.
Joel Vertes leads the franchising work at Olswang LLP, where he primarily represents international clients such as Hard Rock Hotels, Hakkasan, Viacom and Thomas Pink.
IT and telecoms
Olswang LLP has an ‘extremely strong’ capability in the IT and telecoms space led by the ‘knowledgeable and personable’ Purvi Parekh on the telecoms front and Clive Gringras for IT matters. Parekh provides advice to Vodafone on numerous matters, including its MVNO relationships, while Gringras has handled all of Microsoft’s European copyright levy litigation following the client’s acquisition of Nokia.
Olswang LLP remains prominent in both hard and soft IP matters. Highlights included defending Sandoz in a preliminary injunction application by Pfizer, and acting for Sky in the NowTV case before the Supreme Court. Joel Barry heads the 24-partner team, which includes Michael Burdon, Gareth Morgan, Robert Stephen and Sarah Wright.
Media and entertainment (including media finance)
Olswang LLP ‘provides excellent service backed up by great knowledge and insight’. The ‘very practical’ Victoria Gaskell (who is ‘a great asset on any deal’) acted alongside the ‘extremely clever’ John Enser for Viacom on the outsourcing of the Channel 5 advertising sales and sponsorship function to Sky Media. Paul Guite, who co-heads the media department with Gaskell, acted for DLG Acquisitions on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of New Pictures. Charles Kerrigan is the firm’s head of media finance and Selina Potter is its head of broadcasting. The BBC, Amazon and Jeremy Clarkson are also clients.
John Enser - Olswang LLP (Music; digital carriage)
Selina Potter - Olswang LLP (Broadcasting and digital carriage)
Victoria Gaskell - Olswang LLP (Broadcasting and digital carriage)
Charles Kerrigan - Olswang LLP
PATMA: Patent attorneys
Olswang LLP (London)
Robert Stephen and Justin Hill continue to head the drafting, prosecution and EPO opposition side of the IP practice at Olswang LLP, which ‘gives sophisticated advice’ on the strategic use of patents. Telecoms expert Kevin Cordina works alongside litigators such as IP practice head Joel Barry and Michael Burdon. Major clients include Sky and Microsoft.
PATMA: Trade mark attorneys
Olswang LLP (London)
Olswang LLP’s trade mark team has ‘strength in depth and gives robust legal advice’ to a client base that features giants such as Sky and Microsoft. Department head Sarah Wright recently acquired a new client in fashion company Lipsy. Also recommended are partner Joel Vertes, who has ‘strong knowledge of trademark law’, and Joel Barry, who serves as head of the IP department and is a partner on the litigation team.
Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
Olswang LLP’s life sciences department is led by Stephen Reese and Robert Stephen. The former advised Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics on the establishment of a joint venture with AstraZeneca, while the latter represented Kymab in an appeal against Regeneron’s patent at the European Patent Office. Gareth Morgan defended Focus Pharmaceuticals in litigation against Novartis.
Olswang LLP’s practice has its roots in the firm’s strength in media and broadcasting and the team continues to be recognised for media rights work. John Enser led on several matters for the International Cricket Council, including handling the digital rights tender for the client’s 2016-2019 events, including the Cricket World Cup and World Twenty20. Practice head David Zeffman is a key name for horseracing. David Roberts and senior associate Anna Soilleux are other names to note.
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