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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

BIODIESEL PRODUCER D1 OILS PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON MAJOR REFINERY PURCHASE

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Global biodiesel producer, D1 Oils Plc, has been advised by lawyers at Pinsent Masons as it pursues its strategic growth plans with the acquisition of a major refinery site in the North West of England.

The 47-acre site at Bromborough on Merseyside, which will be acquired from a subsidiary of Lubrizol Corporation (US) for ?3 million, will be converted to a biodiesel production and distribution plant. It is expected to have an initial refinery capacity of 100,000 tonnes when it goes into biodiesel production in 2007, achieving a production capacity of 420,000 tonnes by the end of 2008. Completion of the transaction is expected by year-end.

AIM-quoted D1 Oils is to invest up to ?8 million in the project during 2007 and in the initial phase of site development some 45 new jobs will be created. The site offers distribution access to large urban markets in the North and Midlands, as well as seaborne delivery to potential UK west coast refinery customers and to Ireland.

D1 Oils Chief Executive Elliott Mannis said: 'Refining is a major part of D1's strategy alongside agronomy and trading, and this transaction has the potential to make us the UK's largest biodiesel refiner within two years.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising D1 Oils was led by Corporate Partner, Robert Moir, with specialist legal advice from Neil Whitaker and Jonathan Moore on property, Helen Keele on environmental and Lisa Patmore on employment. Pinsent Masons has acted for D1 Oils since October 2004 when the company was admitted to AIM.

Commenting on the transaction, Robert Moir said: 'We are delighted to have acted for D1 Oils on this significant strategic acquisition, in what is an exciting period in the development of biofuels as a viable alternative fuel in the UK and abroad.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES GLOBAL AGROCHEMICAL COMPANY, UNITED PHOSPHOROUS LIMITED, ON ?43 MILLION ACQUI

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

United Phosphorous Limited (UPL), India's largest agrochemical company, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the acquisition of the IP and production rights of crop protection products from Bayer Cropscience AG for a total consideration of ?43.50 million, including the rights to the leading herbicide Asulox and two insecticide products.

The acquisition is part of UPL's strategy of widening its product portfolio offering to its customers. Earlier this year Pinsent Masons acted for UPL, which ranks globally in the top five of agrochemical companies, on the ?100 acquisition of Advanta, a leading seed and seed technologies supplier, from Dutch company, Advanta Netherlands Holdings NV.

The London-led Pinsent Masons team advising on the latest acquisition worked with the firm's German relationship partner Luther, which provided German law advice and negotiation support in Germany. The Pinsent Masons team was led by Client Relationship Partner Martyn Hann, assisted by Vivien Gray and Claire Smith, with Carston Senze and Michael Rath of Luther.

Bayer Cropscience was advised of by an in-house team.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), which is listed in India, is the largest Indian agrochemical company and among the top five generic companies globally in this industry. It is engaged in research, manufacture and distribution of agrochemicals and specialty chemicals across the globe.

Through acquisitions, strategic alliances and network of over 36 subsidiaries, UPL has built a marketing network across the globe and its international revenues account for over 70% of its total revenues. It exports to over 100 countries, with primary markets in Europe and North America.

UPL has over 2400 employees and has 10 operating plants (8 in India and 1 in UK and Argentina) all of them are ISO compliant to the highest standards of Quality, Safety, Environment and Occupational Health.

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SOUTH EASTERN EDUCATION AND LIBRARY BOARD ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?38M BANGOR AND COMBER SCHOOL

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised the South Eastern Education and Library Board on the ?38m Bangor and Comber Schools scheme. The project is the first schools PFI to close in Northern Ireland for the past five years and is the first legacy school to close.

The financing has a gearing of 90:10 with NIBC providing the debt. Tenor is 30 years. Subordinated debt was provided as follows; 40% by Barclays Private Equity, 40% by the facilities management provider Hochtief PPP Solutions (UK) which also provided the equity, and 20% by the project contractor McLoughlin & Harvey. Construction is set to begin immediately.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board is the local authority for education in the district council areas of Ards, Castlereagh, Down, Lisburn and North Down in Northern Ireland. The Bangor and Comber project involves the development of a new 1,420 pupil school for Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College and the new build of Comber High School for 400 pupils on its existing site.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Hazel Nickless (Senior Associate) assisted by Oliver Mangiapane (Solicitor) in the Projects Group.

Commenting on the project Patrick Twist, Head of Projects at Pinsent Masons, said, 'This represents an important milestone for PFI in Northern Ireland and we look forward to working with the South Eastern Education and Library Board on future projects.'

Anne Hanratty, Head of the Northern Ireland PPP Education Service and Project Manager, commented, 'I am absolutely delighted that the Project had completed and looked forward to seeing the first children stepping through their new school gates.'

McGrigors acted for Hochtief and Dundas and Wilson advised the funder. PWC acted as financial advisers to the authority.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. It was named 'Best Legal Adviser' at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 and 'Global Construction Law Firm of the Year' at the Who's Who Legal Awards 2006.

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Heywood Williams Group Plc advised by Pinsent Masons on Strategic Acquisitions

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading specialist distributor of building products, Heywood Williams Group PLC, is being advised by UK law firm Pinsent Masons on a ?48 million strategic acquisition which will act as a springboard to its next phase of growth in the UK and internationally.

Heywood Williams is acquiring Carlisle Brass Limited and Dawnforest Limited, together the Carlisle Brass Group comprising a UK-based privately-owned designer and specialist distributor of high quality architectural hardware and a China-based manufacturing facility located in Hangzhou.

The acquisition of Carlisle Brass Group represents part of the next phase of growth for Heywood Williams and will achieve a step-change in the size, balance and earnings potential of the Group. The new product ranges offered by Carlisle Brass complement Heywood Williams' external door and window hardware range and provide scope for cross-selling of products. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting to be held towards the end of September.

Heywood Williams has two existing divisions - LaSalle Bristol, a market leading specialist distributor to the North American manufactured housing, recreational vehicle and modular housing markets, and The Hardware Division, a specialist distributor of hardware and door panels to the UK and certain other European window, door and conservatory markets.

Richard Whiting, Finance Director of Heywood Williams, commented: 'At this important stage in the development of our Group it has been vital to have legal advisers who know us and our business well. The team at Pinsent Masons has worked with us for some years and their understanding has been invaluable in achieving a successful outcome for this complex deal with its mix of UK and international aspects.'

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Heywood Williams on the acquisition, putting in place new debt facilities and the class one circular has been led by Manchester Corporate Partner, Helen Ridge and includes Howard Gill, Farook Khan and Eleanor Tinnelly (corporate), Mark Yates and Joanne Robinson (banking); Pam Young (property).

The vendor, Robin Graham, is being advised by Dickinson Dees (Simon Watts).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Relocation of Reed Smith Midlands Office

September 2006. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm, Reed Smith is pleased to announce that the firm?s office in the Midlands, previously based in Coventry, is relocating to new premises close to Birmingham. The new premises, secured by the firm, span around 20,000 square feet, will be located at Trigen House in Blythe Valley, where multinational companies such as Oracle and Arup are also based.

The new office, which will initially comprise 50 people, including 9 partners and 25 fee-earners, is well-known for the high quality legal advice that it provides to major national and international establishments, such as Sara Lee Corporation, Siemens, Boots and 3M. The office?s lawyers have been consistently recognised in the legal directories for their expertise in the litigation, corporate, real estate and employment fields. Over the last two years, the office has made a number of high-profile strategic recruits, Paul Llewellyn to lead the UK product liability practice, Ranjit Dhindsa to bolster the UK employment capability and, most recently, Stephen Barker to add further clout to the UK litigation offering

The move indicates Reed Smith?s strong investment in and commitment to the practices in the office, as integrated, complementary parts of Reed Smith?s combined offering (with Richards Butler) to major national and international clients in its key areas. These areas include product liability, the Firm?s UK product liability practice being centred in the new office. The Birmingham location will also open new opportunities to build relationships with a number of European operations and large US companies that have presences in the Birmingham region, which is particularly relevant given the recent openings in 2005 of the firm?s Munich and Paris operations.

The move comes in a dynamic period for Reed Smith, as the firm continues to put its strategy into practice, building its presence in major markets, whilst maintaining and developing strong client relationships. On 1 January 2007 the firm will embark upon its transformational merger with international law firm, Richards Butler. The deal sees the emergence of an international corporate and litigation powerhouse, propelling the firm in the UK to that of a leader in the UK upper mid-market, with more than 350 lawyers in the UK. Overall, the combined offering will sit within the top 20 international law firms, with more than 1,300 lawyers operating out of three continents and global revenues in the region of $750 million.

Chris Hill, Birmingham Managing Partner commented:

?This investment in new office space illustrates Reed Smith?s strategic goal to become a leading major market global relationship law firm. Our goal is to provide our international clients with a seamless service which gives them access to the same level of knowledge and expertise in the Birmingham office as they would get in London or any other office in the USA or Europe.?

Tim Foster, UK Managing Partner added:

?Our Birmingham presence will continue to be a key component of Reed Smith?s overall operations in the UK, and the new premises will help us to attract high quality talent to continue developing the international offering and mindset that our clients expect.?

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Stephen Barker Joins Reed Smith?s Birmingham Office

September 2006. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm Reed Smith, is delighted to announce that Stephen Barker will join the firm on Monday 11th September 2006 as a Partner in the European Litigation group, based in the Firm?s Birmingham office.

Stephen, a well established and highly regarded UK litigator, joins from the Birmingham office of Eversheds LLP, where he headed up the commercial litigation practice for the last four years of his seventeen year tenure at the firm. His practice focuses on commercial and contract dispute resolution and product liability. He has represented parties in a wide range of disputes, from design and manufacturing contract disputes to sale and purchase agreement litigation. Stephen has a particular expertise in advising clients in the automotive sector. Since the General Product Safety Regulations came into effect in October last year, he has advised both component and vehicle manufacturers on pan-European product recalls. Stephen has also represented a number of high profile racing drivers in Formula 1 and WRC Motorsport. The work he undertakes has a significant international flavour and he regularly advises clients based in the United States.

Stephen has been consistently recognised in the annual UK directories as a leader in his field, and is frequently invited to speak at conferences. Stephen is a CEDR accredited mediator and was one of the first solicitors to be awarded higher rights of audience in all civil appellate courts. He has on many occasions appeared successfully as advocate for his clients on emergency injunction applications in the High Court and on hearings in the Court of Appeal.

Chris Hill, Midlands Managing Partner, Reed Smith commented:

?Stephen?s appointment supports the Firm?s strategic focus in building UK litigation and product liability expertise, to mirror our leading US practice. His client base has natural synergy with the US client base and the strengthened litigation offering that Reed Smith Richards Butler will bring to the market when the merger goes live on 1st January 2007.?

Stephen Barker added:

?I am looking forward to working with the team at Reed Smith. The merger with Richards Butler will very much enhance the capabilities on offer to clients, and that, coupled with the existing international platform at Reed Smith, is a particularly attractive proposition for the future growth of my practice.?

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Richards Butler Advises ITV on ÂŁ70 Million Sale of TV3

September 2006. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm, Richards Butler is pleased to announce its role in advising ITV plc on the sale of TV3 Television Network ('TV3') to private equity firm, Doughty Hanson. ITV holds its interest in TV3 as a 45% stake in CanWest Granada Media Holdings Limited ('CGMH') which is the Irish holding company of Ireland's TV3.

The sale is representative of ITV's successful disposal programme of non-core assets which is now approaching ÂŁ500 million since the merger creating ITV plc in 2004. ITV is continuing to focus on its core UK broadcasting operation and growing its revenues outside ITV1 advertising through developing its UK and international production and distribution businesses and its consumer operations.

Philip Taylor, Partner and Head of the Corporate Practice at Richards Butler commented:

"We are pleased to have advised an important client on this significant transaction. The existence of ITV's pre-emption rights created some interesting deal dynamics. Our instructions on this highlight the firm?s highly-rated expertise in the media sector, which will be further enhanced with the addition of Reed Smith?s prominent US media practice, when the merger takes effect on the 1st January 2007."

The team from Richards Butler advising ITV plc was led by Partner Philip Taylor.

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UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM REAPPOINTS PINSENT MASONS AS LEGAL ADVISER

September 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Following a competitive tender process, Pinsent Masons has been reappointed to Durham University's panel of legal advisers to provide a full range of legal services. The firm has advised the University since 1989, the new contract is for a four year period until August 2010.

Durham University has a long tradition of excellence in research and teaching, was placed tenth in the 2005 Times League Table and is among the top universities in the World and Europe in the Times' ranking. It has a strategic plan to consolidate its position in the UK, Europe and globally, whilst continuing to have a strong regional impact.

The Pinsent Masons team for the re-tendering of the contract was led by Chris Mordue (Employment Partner) and also included Nicola Hart (National Head of Pinsent Masons' Universities Group), Louise Fullwood (Outsourcing Senior Associate) and Andrew Pedley (Property Associate).

Alison Holmes, Director of Procurement at Durham University, said: 'The University is delighted to have re-appointed Pinsent Masons to our Legal Panel, following a detailed competitive tendering exercise. This will allow the excellent working relationship established during the current contract period to be further developed to the benefit of both parties.'

Chris Mordue, Pinsent Masons Client Partner for Durham University, commented: 'Durham University is a long-standing and highly valued client of the firm and we are delighted to be able to continue and build on that existing relationship. This is another success for our Universities Group and demonstrates our ability to not just win new clients, but sustain long-term relationships with those we already advise.'

This reappointment is the latest in a string of successes for the National Universities Group, which in the last twelve months has been appointed as sole legal advisers to University of London and the London School of Economics and Political Science, to the University of Manchester's legal panel and reappointed to the University of Wolverhampton's legal panel.

The other firm on the panel is Dickinson Dees which was also re-appointed.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07931 756 855

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

THE COMEDY UNIT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SALE TO RDF MEDIA GROUP

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Television production company, The Comedy Unit Limited, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its sale to AIM listed production company RDF Media Group PLC for a price of up to ?11 million.

The Comedy Unit is Scotland's premier production company involved in the production of sitcoms, sketch shows, comedy quiz shows, entertainment programmes, children's comedy programmes and short films. Its successes include Still Game, The Karen Dunbar Show, Chewin' The Fat, Only an Excuse? and Rab C. Nesbitt. New shows in the production pipeline include a children's sketch show pilot for Channel 4 called Freshly Squeezed, and a new six-part reality comedy show called Comedy Gold for BBC 1 Scotland.

The company has won numerous awards for its programmes, has mounted sell-out live tours and has released most of its shows on DVD and Video. It also makes radio programmes for Radio 4, Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 5 Live.

RDF Media Group is one of Britain's leading independent television production companies and the winner of Broadcast magazine's 'Best Production Company of the Year' in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Its key shows include Wife Swap, Location Location Location and Late Night Poker for Channel 4 and Ladette to Lady for ITV1.

April Chamberlain, managing director and joint founder of The Comedy Unit said 'We are delighted to be linking up with RDF Media Group. They have demonstrated their commitment to the production of innovative and high quality media entertainment over the years, and their success mirrors that of The Comedy Unit, by attracting and retaining relationships with key writing, performing and producing talent to ensure that it continually refreshes its output and ideas.'

The Glasgow-based Pinsent Masons team advising The Comedy Unit has been led by corporate partner Derek Stroud and media lawyer Yvonne Dunn. Specialist advice was provided by Jon Robinson (tax), Robyn McIlroy (employment), Pippa Read (pensions) and Richard Keddilty (property).

Olswang (William Sharpe), acted for the purchaser RDF Media.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Derek Stroud, Partner

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: derek.stroud@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

DERMASALVE SCIENCES ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ACQUISITION OF HEALTHY AND ESSENTIAL LIMITED

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate finance specialists at Pinsent Masons have advised Dermasalve Sciences on its acquisition of Healthy and Essential Limited for up to 9 million ordinary shares.

Dermasalve Sciences produces lifestyle and healthcare products for dry and sensitive skin sufferers focussed on the UK?s ?440 million medicated skincare market. It was formed in July 2003 by Dr Mark Randle, the Chief Executive, Karl Watkin and Steven Katirai and was floated on AIM through a reverse takeover on 4 January 2006. Dermasalve Sciences is chaired by Dr. Clive Morton OBE, the Chairman of Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Finance Director, Philip Pattison, was Global Risk and Commercial Finance Leader for General Electric prior to joining Dermasalve Sciences.

Healthy and Essential Limited is a UK distributor for a range of omega-3 products, specifically fish and flax seed oils. This acquisition is in line with Dermasalve Sciences' strategy of expanding revenue channels from the skin healthcare market.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Senior Associate Hanh Jelf assisted by Sadhbh Kavanagh and Julian Brooksbank in the Corporate Finance Group, Emma Peacock (Employment) and Matthew Rowbotham (Tax).

The vendors were advised by Harrison Clark led by Arpinder Dhillon.

Dr Mark Randle, Chief Executive of Dermasalve Sciences, commented: ?We believe that in Healthy and Essential we have identified a company which complements Dermasalve Sciences? range of skincare products and will lead to a number of brand extensions. The acquisition will deliver an instant potential market for Dermasalve Sciences existing range of products and a fully established e-commerce platform.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Divjak Topic & Bahtijarevic advised on EUR 3,4 billion deal

August 2006. Press Releases by Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic (view listing).

Four lawyers banking and finance team of Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic advised a syndicate of banks (HSBC, UBS and JP Morgan) in the biggest banking deal in Croatia ever. The team of DT&B acted in connection with Croatian aspects of structure lending and securitization of facility amounts EUR 3.4 billion to the Icelandic pharmaceutical company Actavis. The team of Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic worked alongside Allen&Overy - international adviser of lenders.

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PINSENT MASONS ADVISES HSBC AND BARCLAYS ON ?52 MILLION FACILITIES FOR FURTHER INSPICIO ACQUISITIONS

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons has advised HSBC Leveraged Finance as Agent and Security Trustee and, together with Barclays Corporate Leveraged Finance, as Mandated Lead Arrangers and Original Lenders under ?52,000,000 loan facilities to global testing group Inspicio Plc and its subsidiaries.

Funding of ?22,000,000 in addition to the existing bank facilities of ?30,000,000 was provided to the Inspicio Group to enable it to acquire the food and pharmaceutical testing group Eclipse Scientific Group for approximately ?47,000,000. Eclipse Scientific Group was acquired by Inspicio from Clearbrook Capital Partners, the private equity firm set up by Robin Saunders. The remaining funding required was provided by the issue of new ordinary shares.

The Pinsent Masons team also recently advised HSBC on another Inspicio Group financing which enabled the Inspicio Group to acquire the Environmental Services Group of companies from Mowlem plc at the end of April for approximately ?16,000,000.

Commenting on the transaction, Stuart Mills, HSBC director, said, 'In a rapidly growing global testing market it is very rewarding to assist Inspicio to expand and harness the opportunities available through these acquisitions.'

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Martin Bishop, Tony Anderson, Liam Terry and John Coghlan (all in Banking), Emma Harvey (Corporate), and Tom Eastwood and Charlotte Underwood (Property).

Inspicio were advised by Jones Day led by Michael Nouril assisted by Patrick Stafford and Daniel Partori (Corporate) and Bryony Widdup (Banking).

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For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

Niche Hotels Advised by Pinsent Masons on ?6 million Hotel Sale

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Niche Hotels, specialists in contemporary, intimate, period hotels, have been advised by Pinsent Masons on the sale of A1 Hotels Limited, owners of a 26 bedroom hotel in South Kensington, for in excess of ?6 million to five star Concorde El Salam Hotels in Egypt.

The property was the first to be purchased by Niche Hotels in November 2002 for ?4.4million.

Niche Hotels is continuing to focus on acquisitions of period properties that can be developed into cool interior designed hotels in key city or up-and-coming locations and is close to announcing such an acquisition in London.

Niche is committed to developing the core brand and later this year will see the completion of a ?3million investment made to its Wyckhill House property in Gloucestershire to bring it in line with the remainder of its core portfolio in Gloucestershire, Newcastle and Cardiff.

Alan Corlett, Managing Director of Niche Hotels, said: ?The Niche Hotels portfolio has grown according to the business plan. The properties in our collection going forward have more bedrooms with iconic conference facilities?.

The Pinsent Masons team comprised Peter Wood, Catherine Hemsworth and Michael Kidd (corporate), Kerry Wardle (banking), Alison Walker (tax), Anne Bowden and Guy Rusling (property).

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

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DUNEDIN CAPITAL PARTNERS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SECONDARY BUY-OUT OF SPECIALIST IT BUSINESS

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK mid-market private equity house, Dunedin Capital Partners, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the ?30 million secondary buy-out of Capula Limited, the UK's leading independent provider of real-time IT solutions to the energy and utilities market. Dunedin has backed the management team led by Group CEO Roger Turner.

The buy-out, which sees Dunedin provide ?15.6 million for a 70 per cent equity stake in the business, alongside a debt facility of ?14.5 million provided by Barclays Leveraged Finance.

Capula provides real time automation systems to the nuclear, power generation and utilities markets, a specialised business which involves complex software programming and systems engineering. The company employs more than 180 staff at offices in Staffordshire, Gloucester and Cumbria. The IT systems it provides control much of the electricity distributed across the UK. It also provides IT services to the majority of the plants at the Sellafield nuclear site. In addition, it is the only UK company with a 100% track record of on time delivery of IT systems to the UK's coal fired power stations.

The London-based Pinsent Masons team advising Dunedin has been led by private equity partner Jonathan Reardon with Olivia Phalippou and Gareth Hughes (corporate). Specialist advice was provided by Rebecca Power (tax), Frances Mallender (banking) and Sarah Thomas and Michael Lyon (energy/utilities contract work).

CMS Cameron McKenna (Niall McAlister, Tom Page and Richard Campbell) acted for the vendor Sintem Limited, backed by Bridgepoint. HBJ Gateley Wareing (David Kirchin) acted for Barclays, the debt provider. Hammonds (Gregg Davison) acted for management.

Dunedin Directors John Hudson and Dougal Bennett led and completed the transaction. Hudson commented: ?We are delighted to be supporting Roger Turner and the management team in this secondary buyout. Capula is a clear market leader in its field and the accomplishments of the management team were a key factor in our decision to make this investment. The nuclear and utilities sectors are poised for considerable growth and we look forward to working with the Capula management team in developing the business.?

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

NIKKO PRINCIPAL INVESTMENTS ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON CLARITY ACQUISITION

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Nikko Principal Investments Limited (NPIL) has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of the rapidly growing debt collection agency, Clarity Credit Management Solutions Limited (Clarity).

NPIL, the European investment arm of Nikko Cordial Corporation of Japan, has bought 85% of the company with Clarity founders Garry Stran and Richard Griggs retaining a minority interest. Garry Stran will continue as the company's Chief Executive, with Richard Griggs assuming the new role of Director of Corporate Development.

Clarity was formed just over a year ago to provide high quality, cost effective solutions to all aspects of the credit management process. The company specialises in working with financial institutions to maximise the effectiveness of their collection, recovery and litigation strategies, to aid customer retention, minimise losses and provisions, and maximise profit. As part of its service, Clarity provides credit management consultancy as a value added facility.

The purchase of Clarity continues NPIL's investment in the financial services sector and follows its acquisition earlier this year of Cabot Financial, the UK?s leading purchaser of non-performing debt. NPIL?s David Jeffery and Simon Oakland, both of whom were involved in the Cabot transaction, will take up Board positions at Clarity.

The Pinsent Masons team advising NPIL has been led by Private Equity Partner, Roger Fink, working with a team including Hannah Brader, Lee Clifford and Jonathan Snade.

Garry Stran and Richard Griggs were advised by Eversheds, and the other Clarity shareholders were advised by Gordons.

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For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

NEW HIRES REFLECT DEMAND FOR PINSENT MASONS' LITIGATION GROUP

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has expanded its Dispute Resolution & Litigation Group with the appointment of four Senior Associates.

Tom Stocker, Sean Elson, Emma Flower and Chris Wheeler have all joined the team. Tom is dual qualified in English and Scots law with extensive experience acting for companies involved in high profile Health & Safety and Environmental prosecutions joins in Scotland; Sean joins Tom in our Corporate Defence and Regulatory team, heading up the Birmingham unit; Emma advises businesses on a wide range of commercial claims in Manchester and Chris, a Chartered Accountant, joins in London from BDO.

In addition Tom Pincus, an Australian qualified litigator, joins the firm's London office from Olswang as a solicitor.

Nigel Kissack, Head of Dispute Resolution & Litigation - the team that deals with commercial disputes at Pinsent Masons, said : 'Tom and Sean add significant strength to our national team of Corporate Defence lawyers representing clients at odds with 'red tape' from Health & Safety through advertising, environment, finance, food safety and trading standards to waste.

'Emma and Tom Pincus specialise in resolving commercial disputes and product liability issues and Chris joins as a senior member of our forensic team in London. We look forward to the added value they will all bring to our dispute resolution work.

'These high calibre individuals and the five more junior recruits joining the Group over the next month are giving welcome support to a very busy Group.'

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and some 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester and is home to over 300 dispute resolution specialists.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

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CASH INJECTION FOR OFFSHORE OIL PROJECT AS PINSENT MASONS ADVISES EQUATOR EXPLORATION ON LOAN

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate and Banking specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons have advised oil exploration company, Equator Exploration Limited (EEL), on a US$65 million loan which will help to fund the development of an offshore oil field in Nigeria.

AIM-listed EEL is already underway with the development of the offshore Bilabri oil field and is confident that, with the injection of additional cash resources provided by the loan, the operation should be in production by the third quarter of 2007.

Advised by Pinsent Masons, the company has signed a two-year loan agreement with certain of its shareholders, which is secured on its shares in its wholly owned subsidiary, Equator Exploration (OML 122) Limited. The loan is repayable within 24 months of first drawing and carries with it options for the lenders to take additional shareholdings in the company.

The Pinsent Masons team comprised London Partners Russell Booker (Corporate) and William Oliver and Martin Bishop (Banking & Finance).

The lenders were advised by Stuart Brinkworth and Andrew Hughes at McGrigors.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS ADVISES SECOND HIGH-TECH CHINESE COMPANY ON AIM FLOAT

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons' leading position as an AIM adviser, its combined UK and Asia Pacific corporate capability and its industry sector strength have resulted in it successfully bringing a second high-tech Chinese company to the alternative investment market of the London Stock Exchange this year.

An international team led by Corporate Partner and AIM specialist, Jon Harris and Senior Associate Sean Page, is advising fast-growing and highly profitable high-tech manufacturer of solar wafers, ReneSola Ltd and its Shanghai-based trading subsidiary, Zhejiang Yuhui Solar Energy Source Co., Ltd, on its admission to AIM.

ReneSola, whose principal operating business is the manufacture of solar wafers for integration into photovoltaic cells, the principal component of crystalline solar panels, is expected to have an initial market capitalisation of US$150 million, when it is admitted to AIM on 8 August.

The extensive Chinese interests of ReneSola mean that Pinsent Masons has drawn heavily on its international strengths with its experienced Shanghai corporate finance team working alongside corporate finance AIM specialists in London to achieve the flotation.

Anticipated net proceeds from a placing of approximately US$46 million, which will accompany the float, will be used primarily for equipment purchases and to expand ReneSola's R&D capabilities and its plant construction.

The Directors of ReneSola consider that admission to AIM is an important step in the development of the group that will raise its profile and provide flexibility in financing its future growth.

'Our knowledge of the technology and energy sectors, particularly alternative energy, combined with our extensive AIM experience played a significant part in our success in winning ReneSola as a client and smoothing the passage to flotation,' said Jon Harris. 'AIM is an increasingly attractive environment for Chinese companies that are looking to grow and make an impression internationally.'

In addition to Jon Harris and Sean Page, the Pinsent Masons team advising ReneSola comprises Manmohan Panesar and Jolene Chan, and in Shanghai, Consultant Amanda Yao and Rachel Xie.

The Nominated Adviser and Broker to the float is Westhouse Securities LLP, which is being advised by Steptoe & Johnson.

In March, Jon Harris led a team which acted for leading developer and provider of software and IT solutions to Chinese regional and national government agencies, Sinosoft Technology plc, on its US$ 55 million admission to AIM.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

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CORPORATE HEAVY-HITTER STEPHEN LEVY IS KEY PARTNER APPOINTMENT FOR

August 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

One of the leading heavyweight corporate lawyers in the North West, Stephen Levy, is joining Pinsent Masons' Manchester team in a move which underscores the top-level reinvigoration of the firm's regional corporate practice.

Stephen Levy, independently rated as 'technically excellent', will move from Hammonds, where he has lead the Corporate Finance team in Manchester, to head up Pinsent Masons' Corporate team in the region.

Stephen will be working with partners Helen Ridge and Howard Gill, who joined Pinsent Masons from Eversheds in Manchester earlier this year, and Anna Whetham. Helen and Howard have already generated a significant amount of work in the short time they have been with Pinsent Masons and the firm is recruiting further to service strong client demand for its corporate services in Manchester.

'Stephen Levy's move to Pinsent Masons speaks volumes about our commitment to becoming one of the North West's leading corporate players. He is a high calibre lawyer, respected by clients and peers alike, who has a deal-doing track record that many envy. Importantly, he is also a great team player and with Helen, Howard and Anna will build a formidable practice for Pinsent Masons in the region,' said Gareth Edwards, National Head of Corporate.

Helen Ridge added: 'This is the crowning moment for us as a new team. Stephen is an acknowledged heavy-hitter in the region, whose reputation for outstanding quality and client service goes before him. We are all looking forward to working together. Our combined experience and expertise gives the region's corporates, private equity houses, other investors and intermediaries a genuine new alternative.'

Stephen Levy is an M&A and private equity practitioner. He joined Hammonds in 1994 from the London office of Nabarro Nathanson, becoming a partner two years later. He has been a recognised client winner growing successful relationships with leading UK and international corporates and private equity houses. In recent times he has advised Montagu Private Equity on the ?145 million MBO of Survitec Group as well as advising on the ?230 million buy-out of Pets at Home, Affinity Healthcare's ?75 million disposal to private equity investors and management and the disposal of Altair Filter Technology for Gresham and management.

Carl Garvie, Head of Manchester office, said: 'Stephen's decision says everything about Pinsent Masons in Manchester. We're serious about Corporate, we're serious about further developing the excellent and broad service offering we already have in the North West and we're the ones to watch.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

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Pinsent Masons Names Head of Information Law Team

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons announced today that Rosemary Jay will head the firm?s Information Law practice, one of the largest and most experienced in the world. Its expertise includes privacy, confidentiality, data protection, human rights, freedom of information, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and general information law compliance for UK, European and global clients.

Rosemary Jay has been with Pinsent Masons since 1999 having headed the legal department of the Office of the Information Commissioner (then the Data Protection Registrar) for 12 years prior to joining the firm. She is the co-author of Data Protection Law & Practice published by Sweet & Maxwell, an editor of the White Book, and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Freedom of Information and the Examination Committee of the ISEB/BCS Data Protection Certificate Board. Rosemary regularly speaks and writes on data protection and access to information, both nationally and internationally. Rosemary has also recently been appointed as the legal representative for the Freedom of Information User Group, chaired by Baroness Ashton.

She has been a partner with the firm since 2003. Although based in Manchester, Rosemary services a national and international client base in her specialist area.

In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the information law team, further developing Pinsent Masons? information law offerings, its extensive training course portfolio and other services covering all aspects of UK, European and international information law.

Clive Seddon, partner and head of Pinsent Masons? Outsourcing, Technology and Commercial Group commented, ?Rosemary is the obvious choice for us to succeed Shelagh Gaskill as head of our highly regarded Information Law practice. Rosemary is a leading practitioner in this area. This appointment will ensure the continuation of our unparalleled services in the information law area as well as developing new and innovative ones for our UK and global client base.?

Pinsent Masons? Information Law practice is also one of the foremost information law trainers in the UK, providing a wide range of accredited training courses covering Data Protection, Freedom of Information, IT law and other regulatory areas. The firm has also developed an e-learning programme produced in association with Video Arts, combining lively, interactive teaching with subject expertise.

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DOUBLE HIRE FOR PINSENT MASONS' MANCHESTER ARM

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has boosted its Employment and Dispute Resolution & Litigation practices in Manchester with the appointment of Senior Associates Simon Horsfield and Emma Flower respectively.

Simon, formerly of Addleshaw Goddard, will be joining the firms highly regarded employment team. Simon has extensive experience of conducting employment tribunal proceedings and tribunal advocacy.

Emma, who joins the firm from the Manchester office of Eversheds, has a proven track-record of advising businesses on a wide range of commercial claims and complex technical disputes. She has particular expertise in product liability issues.

Carl Garvie, Head of Office for Pinsent Masons in Manchester, said :

'Both Simon and Emma's experience will play an important role in strengthening two of our key practice areas and we are confident both will contribute significantly to our aggressive growth strategy for Manchester.'

Ends

For media enquiries contact:

Debbie Green

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0161 250 0159

Mob : 07786 738931

E : deborah.green@pinsentmasons.com

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IP GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON QUEEN MARY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PARTNERSHIP

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Intellectual property commercialisation company, IP Group plc, has been advised by lawyers at Pinsent Masons on a 25-year partnership with Queen Mary, University of London, the latest in a series of such agreements to be made with some of the country's top universities.

Queen Mary is one of the leading colleges in the federal University of London and has a strong research base with over 80 per cent of research staff working in departments where research is of international or national excellence (RAE 2001). It has an annual turnover of ?175 million and research income exceeding

?40 million (2005).

Under the terms of the partnership, IP Group has agreed to work with Queen Mary to identify and facilitate the formation of spin-out companies and to invest an initial fund of up to ?5 million in such companies in return for equity stakes in them. Spin-out companies from Queen Mary will also have access to capital from the IP Venture Fund, IP Group's recently launched venture capital fund in partnership with the European Investment Fund. This additional capital will not dilute IP Group's equity stakes in spin-out companies.

IP Group will also receive 13.3% of the equity in spin-out companies from Queen Mary at the time that the company is established prior to investment. IP Group will also work on licensing opportunities across Queen Mary and will receive 10% of any income which Queen Mary receives from licensing during the lifetime of the partnership.

The Pinsent Masons team advising IP Group has been led by Corporate Partner, Russell Booker.

Queen Mary, University of London has been advised by Lawrence Graham

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PETERKA & PARTNERS, PRAGUE LAW FIRM, OPENS KYIV OFFICE

July 2006. Press Releases by PETERKA & PARTNERS v.o.s (view listing).

PETERKA & PARTNERS, a Prague-based law firm, opened an office in Kyiv on June 15, 2006.

The law firm?s Kyiv branch is its second international office. PETERKA & PARTNERS opened an office in Bratislava in 2001. At that time, it was the first Czech law firm to operate an office in the Slovak Republic.

The Kyiv office, which employs 10 lawyers, is headed by Monika Hoskova and Alexander Poels, LL.M.

?By taking this unique step in the Czech legal market, PETERKA & PARTNERS is responding to current economic trends and to the needs of both present and future clients whose business activities turn towards Eastern Europe,? Hoskova said.

?Coming to Kyiv is another step in our foreign expansion,? commented Ondrej Peterka, Managing Partner of the firm. ?With our team of 60 highly qualified lawyers and tax advisers, our law firm will rank amongst the most significant law firms in Central Europe.?

The firm?s Kyiv team will work in collaboration with its offices in Prague and Bratislava to provide complex legal services. The Kyiv branch specializes in mergers and acquisitions, real estate, corporate and general commercial law and labor law.

Hoskova was graduated from the Law Faculty of Charles University in Prague and admitted to the Czech Bar in 2005. She has worked with PETERKA & PARTNERS since 2000. She is fluent in Czech, English and French and has good knowledge of Slovak, Russian and Ukrainian. She specializes in commercial law, real estate, bankruptcy and labor law.

Poels has received Master of Laws degrees from the Faculty of Laws of Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium and from the University of Iceland?s Faculty of Law in Reykjavik. He has worked with PETERKA & PARTNERS in Bratislava almost two years prior to moving to Kyiv. He is fluent in English, French and Dutch and has good knowledge of Spanish, German, Russian and Ukrainian. He focuses mainly on EU and International commercial and company law.

The Kyiv office of PETERKA & PARTNERS contact details are as follows:

PETERKA & PARTNERS LLC

Bohdana Khmelnytskoho 17/52-A

(UA) 01030 Kyiv

tel.: +380 44 581 11 20

office@peterkapartners.com

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CHSH: US$ 1,054 billion transaction for OMV in Turkey

July 2006. Press Releases by CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati (view listing).

CHSH advised OMV, the leading oil and gas corporate group in Central Europe, on its acquisition of a 34% stake in Petrol Ofisi, Turkey's leading company in fuel marketing, from Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding.

The transaction value amounts to US$ 1.054 billion. Following the completion of the transaction OMV and Dogan will jointly control the company?s business activities, with both companies operating as equal partners.

OMV was advised by the CHSH M&A partners Clemens Hasenauer and Albert Birkner, White & Case M?savirlik Ltd Sti (Asil F Basgoz) and the Swiss law firm Homburger (Frank Gerhard). On the side of OMV (in-house) Oliver Dillenz and Hilmar Kroat-Reder were in charge of the transaction.

The deal is the biggest transaction involving an Austrian company this year.

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CHSH: Three IPOs totalling ? 1.5 billion in May 2006

July 2006. Press Releases by CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati (view listing).

CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati successfully completed three IPOs in May 2006.

The first half of 2006 saw four initial public offerings of Austrian issuers. In three of these, CHSH advised the banks as to Austrian law. After Telekom Austria's IPO in 2000 (largest) and Bank Austria's IPO in 2003 (third largest) - CHSH advised on both transactions - the IPO of ?sterreichische Post marks the fourth and the IPO of Zumtobel marks the fifth largest initial listing on the Vienna Stock Exchange. Austrian based issuer CAT Oil was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. (Source: Vienna Stock Exchange - http://www.wienerboerse.at/cms/1/48/)

CHSH advised Goldman Sachs, Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Centrobank as Joint Bookrunners on the initial public offering of Austrian Post with a volume of over ? 650 million.

The transaction is the third (partial) privatisation of a postal services company in Europe and the fourth largest IPO in the history of the Vienna Stock Exchange. The secondary shares were offered by ?sterreichische Industrieholding AG. Goldman Sachs, Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Centrobank placed the shares successfully among US (Rule 144 A), international and Austrian investors.

The syndicate banks were advised by the CHSH Banking & Corporate Finance team ? led by Edith Hlawati, Volker Glas and Christian Thaler.

CHSH represented UBS Investment Bank, Morgan Stanley and Bank Austria as Joint Global Bookrunners in the ? 600 million initial public offering (including new shares in the amount of ? 150 million) of the global lighting provider Zumtobel AG.

The transaction was the largest IPO by a private industrial company in Austria. It involved the sale of existing shares by private equity investor Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and by the Zumtobel family as well as the issuance of new shares from a capital increase. The shares were successfully placed in Austria, in the United States (Rule 144 A) and internationally and listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.

Edith Hlawati, Philipp Spatz and Maria Doralt were on CHSH's team advising the syndicate banks.

Jointly with Linklaters Frankfurt the CHSH Banking & Corporate Finance team advised Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as Lead Manager on the initial public offering of the oilfield services provider C.A.T. oil AG with a total volume of ? 290 million (including new shares in the amount of ? 130 million).

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein successfully placed the shares with investors in Austria, Germany, the United States (Rule 144 A) and internationally. The cross-border listing of an Austrian issuer on the Frankfurt stock exchange involved complex legal issues under the new regulatory framework. Part of the Greenshoe was served by new shares.

The syndicate banks were advised by Edith Hlawati, Philipp Spatz and Nikolaus Adensamer from the CHSH Banking & Corporate Finance team.

Managing partner Edith Hlawati: 'Being involved in three IPO`s in the first half of 2006 underpins our leading role in Austrian capital market transactions. Longstanding experience, capacity and availability of a number of teams prove the depth of CHSH's capital market practice.'

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AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON THE SALE OF AFX NEWS LIMITED TO THOMSON FINANCIAL

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Agence France Presse, the world's oldest established news agency, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on the sale of its subsidiary, AFX News Limited, to Thomson Financial for an undisclosed sum.

AFX News Limited is a leading European independent real-time financial news agency providing equity-focused business, financial and economic news to the investment community. The acquisition will complement Thomson Financial's existing focused news and analysis services and builds on the success of Thomson Financial News for investment professionals in North America. The service will be integrated with Thomson's proprietary content, and delivered through the Thomson ONE application suite and to existing AFX clients.

Agence France Presse is a long-standing client of Pinsent Masons. The oldest of the three major global information companies, the international news agency has more than 2,200 full-time reporters and photographers. Its presence in 165 countries gives it unparalleled coverage of international business, sports and entertainment news. Delivered in six languages to 7,000 subscribers around the world, its reports are translated into dozens of other languages and are read by more than one billion people.

Pierre Louette, Chairman and CEO, Agence France Presse, said: 'We are extremely pleased that Thomson Financial will acquire AFX. As a leading financial information services provider, Thomson Financial is in a unique position to help build and further develop AFX. This deal cements our long-term relationships with Thomson Financial and will enable clients of both our companies to receive a superior service.'

The Pinsent Masons team included Tom Leman, Darius Lewington, Jo McNeill (Corporate), Susan Biddle, Claire Smith (OTC), Ian Clark (Property) and Mark Cawthron (Tax).

Thomson Financial was advised by Kemp Little.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

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Reed Smith Hires Top Uk Tax Expert From Travers Smith

July 2006. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm Reed Smith, is delighted to announce that Harriet Morgan joined the firm on Monday 10th July 2006 as a Partner in the European Corporate group, based in London. Harriet will have particular responsibility for the development of the firm?s corporate taxation capabilities in the UK.

Harriet, a leading tax specialist, joins from Travers Smith. Her practice focuses upon UK and international tax work across a broad spectrum of expertise in the corporate, banking/asset finance and property arenas. Harriet also brings expertise in advising on the tax issues relating to the flotation of AIM listed companies, as well as complex structured finance products. Harriet is well-known for developing innovative stamp duty planning structures. She is a member of the Institute of Taxation. She will work closely with Chris Hill, based in the Midlands office, who has already developed a thriving UK offshore tax practice.

Tim Foster, UK Managing Partner, Reed Smith commented:

?We are delighted to welcome Harriet to the firm. Her recruitment demonstrates the firm?s commitment to building a first rate corporate taxation practice and is also indicative of our increasingly successful international corporate and corporate finance practice.?

Harriet Morgan added:

?I am looking forward to working with the team at Reed Smith. The forthcoming merger with Richards Butler will very much enhance the capabilities on offer to clients, and that, coupled with the existing international platform at Reed Smith is a particularly attractive proposition for the future growth of the tax practice.?

Harriet?s appointment as a new partner in the practice follows a steady stream of associate level hires to the firm. These include two associates joining the UK employment team, Emma Capper, previously at Eversheds and Naomi Woodward from Rochman Landau.

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PINSENT MASONS APPOINTS KIRSTY AYRE AS EMPLOYMENT PARTNER IN SCOTLAND

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Kirsty Ayre has been appointed by Pinsent Masons as Employment Partner to lead and grow the employment team in Scotland, bringing the number of partners in its national Employment Group to 16. She will join the firm on 28 August 2006 from Brodies and will work in both the Edinburgh and Glasgow offices.

Kirsty joined Brodies in 2002 from Pinsent Curtis (as it was then) and became a partner in 2003. She played a role in the firm's rise to its current top tier ranking in both Legal 500 and Chambers directories for employment law. She is the Scottish representative on the Employment Lawyers' Association management committee.

Kirsty has expertise in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Whilst at Brodies she regularly appeared in tribunals throughout the UK on behalf of clients. Recent cases she has advised on include some of the first cases under the legislation governing fixed-term workers, religious and sexual orientation discrimination. She also has extensive experience in mass litigation acting for FTSE 100 clients.

Her non-contentious experience includes advising a government department in one of its largest TUPE transfers from the public to the private sector, drafting employment provisions in corporate transactions and HR policies, advice on large-scale redundancies and contractual change, negotiating senior executive exit arrangements and dealing with requests for trade union recognition.

Chris Booth, National Head of the Employment Group at Pinsent Masons said, 'Kirsty brings with her extensive experience, particularly in the financial sector. Her appointment further strengthens our national practice, bringing the number of partners to 16. As an Employment Group we have genuine coverage across the UK with teams in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. We are delighted to welcome her back to the team.'

Vincent Connor, Head of Pinsent Masons' Scotland office, commented: 'This appointment, together with our recent appointments in recent weeks in our Projects, Banking, Health & Safety, IT/IP and Transactional Construction teams, underscores the growth, dynamism and success of Pinsent Masons in Scotland.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS' HONG KONG CORPORATE TEAM CELEBRATES FIRST FLOAT

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The newly-formed Corporate team in the Hong Kong office of Pinsent Masons has completed its first flotation on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange advising Taifook Securities Limited, the sole bookrunner, on the listing of Fortune Sun (China) Holdings Ltd, one of China's leading providers of property consultancy and agency services.

Pinsent Masons took the significant strategic step nine months ago to develop its international operations with the hire by its award-winning Asia-Pacific practice of two heavyweight corporate partners and a highly respected senior China-qualified lawyer from other firms in Hong Kong and China.

The appointment of the two partners, Dale Fischer from Clyde & Co and Andrew Lui from DLA, and consultant Amanda Yao from Boss & Young, all highly-rated individuals with over 35 years' combined experience in the local marketplace, represented a major strengthening of Pinsent Masons' corporate capability in the Asia-Pacific region. The addition of these three senior individuals has been complemented by a number of other hires, bringing the size of Pinsent Masons' corporate team in Asia to a total of 14 lawyers.

Now Andrew Lui, an IPO specialist, has led the team advising on Taifook Capital Limited on the listing of Fortune Sun on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock exchange. Fortune Sun has an initial market capitalisation of HK$ 212 million. Taifook Capital Limited and Rexcapital (Hong Kong) Limited together are the joint sponsors. Taifook Securities Limited is the sole bookrunner and one of the lead managers. Polaris Capital (Asia) Limited is the other lead manager.

Fortune Sun is one of China?s leading providers of property consultancy and agency services. Its services comprise consultancy, planning, marketing and sales execution. It was established in 1997 and headquartered in Shanghai and it has an extensive business network of 11 branches.

Fortune Sun owns a well-developed business network, and the projects it handles cover the four major municipalities in China, namely Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing, as well as nine provinces on the mainland, including Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Inner Mongolia and Hebei. Most of them are prosperous regions with a huge demand for housing. Fortune Sun has been outshining its peers in profitability. In 2005, the group?s net profit margin was 35%. The group was ranked No. 5 in the ?2005 Top 10 China?s Real Estate Consulting Company Brand Value?, and No. 5 in the Eastern China Area in the ?2005 The PRC Real Estate Consultancy and Agency Top 100 Enterprises Research Report?.

The Pinsent Masons team supporting Andrew Lui comprised associates Cindy Li and Wilson Bae.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Lui said: 'The corporate team in Hong Kong and China is fast establishing itself as a significant player. It is good to get our first flotation away successfully. We hope it will be the first of many in this vibrant and dynamic marketplace.'

Fortune Sun (China) Holdings Ltd was advised by Chiu & Partners.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS APPOINTS PARTNER TO SCOTTISH CONSTRUCTION PRACTICE

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has appointed construction transaction specialist Michael Allan as a new partner.

Michael left his position as a Director in the Construction Procurement team at Scottish firm McGrigors to join Pinsent Masons' UK Construction & Engineering Group in early July 2006.

Dual qualified in Scotland and England, Michael has extensive experience in advising on both regional and national high profile engineering, energy, property development and PFI & PPP projects including the Royal Bank of Scotland's world headquarters in Edinburgh and the huge Silvertown Quays urban regeneration project in East London.

His appointment brings the number of construction lawyers for Pinsent Masons in Scotland

to 16.

Fraser McMillan, Head of UK Construction & Engineering for Pinsent Masons in Scotland, said :

'Michael is an outstanding lawyer with first class credentials. He has a stellar reputation regionally having advised on a number of flagship projects. It?s a top drawer appointment for our Scottish arm and will strengthen the existing capabilities of our practice group both regionally and nationally.'

Michael Allan, added :

'Pinsent Masons are the top ranked construction law firm in Scotland. I am delighted to be part of that and be given the opportunity to work with the quality transactional team we have here to grow the business.'

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons is recognised both nationally and internationally as the leading adviser to the construction and engineering, energy and infrastructure industries. Its clients include 18 of the top 20 UK contractors and 34 of the top 50 contractors. Internationally, the firm's clients include over 50% of the top contractors in the world, as well as major procurers of assets, such as governments and government agencies.

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 3212943

E : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

SECURE MAIL SERVICES ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON PASSPORT TO NEW FUTURE

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shareholders of the privately-owned specialist mail company, Secure Mail Services (SMS), have been advised by lawyers at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the sale of the business to Candover Partners for an undisclosed sum.

Candover will be merging SMS with DX Services, which is in the process of being taken private, forming a new company which is set to give Royal Mail a run for its money in selected areas of mail delivery.

DX Services is focused on providing specialist delivery services between businesses, particularly law firms, while SMS provides secure mail services for time- and value-sensitive documents, such as passports, credit cards and cheque books, to residential addresses. Together the two businesses are seen as creating a new competitive force in the UK mail delivery market.

In addition to advising the institutional and other selling shareholders of SMS, Pinsent Masons also advised SMS managing director, James Greenbury, on his equity investment in the new business of which he is to become CEO.

DX, which is being bought for ?349 million, handles some 250 million pieces of business mail a year, while SMS delivers 18 million items. The new company will have a staff of over 1,800 and an annual turnover in the region of ?175 million.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for SMS shareholders and for James Greenbury, has been led by Private Equity Partner, Paul Harkin, working with Ann McCarthy and Alex Edmondson (corporate) and Lisa Parisi (tax).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES VEOLIA ON ?1.2 BILLION NOTTINGHAMSHIRE WASTE PFI PROJECT

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised Veolia Environmental Services on a ?1.2 billion PFI project with Nottinghamshire County Council. The project, which is the first waste PFI to be signed for over two years, reached financial close on 26 June 2006.

The 26-year project covers the integrated management of municipal waste in Nottinghamshire. It will involve increasing recycling and energy recovery by the development of alternative solutions to land filling, in line with European Union directives and the British government?s statutory targets.

The project will include the construction and management of complementary new treatment and recycling facilities. This approach will maximize the recovery and recycling (and minimising landfilling) of 460,000 metric tons of waste produced annually by the County Council?s 750,000 residents.

Veolia Environment Services is a leader in environmental solutions. It is currently operating substantial integrated waste management contracts in the UK in areas including Hampshire, East Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Bromley and Sheffield.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Simon Mumford, Projects Partner, and included Neil Tindall, Julia Carver, Carly Caton, John Trevethan, Kevin Boa, Bob Mecrate-Butcher, Dean Larder, Stacey Collins, and Helen Keele.

Simon Mumford commented, 'PFI is growing very strongly in the waste management sector and our leading involvement with this significant project underlines our strength in the market. It has been over two years since the last waste PFI project, in West Sussex, was signed and the Pinsent Masons team advised the successful bidder on that as well. The experience we have gained working on the majority of significant waste management contracts let by local authorities over the past ten years has proved vital in enabling us to understand the key issues involved in this project.'

Nottinghamshire County Council's legal advisers were Sharpe Pritchard whose team was led by Nicola Sumner and Sheila Storey.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm and was named as the Best Legal Adviser at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 in May 2006.

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Health Expert Brian Capstick Is Rated UK?s Most Innovative Lawyer

July 2006. Press Releases by Capsticks (view listing).

Capsticks? Senior Partner, Brian Capstick, has been rated the UK?s most innovative lawyer in a report published by the Financial Times on June 29th. The report considered 300 submissions from 66 law firms and it is reflective of the recent pace of change in the healthcare sector that a healthcare expert should lead the way in a list dominated by the country?s top law firms.

The FT reported that ?Capsticks has become a top 100 law firm, with a healthcare-based practice? Mr Capstick developed modern quality management methods from the firm?s inception with the aim of delivering a consistently high standard of service that can be adapted to match the client?s expectations. As a result?(the firm) has topped the independent league tables for healthcare or clinical negligence law every year since 1993?.

Delighted with the FT report, Brian Capstick commented ?the firm?s reputation for innovation and consistently high standards continues to grow as we develop new ways of meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse health sector?.

Contact Graeme Trigg (tel 020 8780 4823, email gtrigg@capsticks.co.uk), Head of Client Services, for more information.

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PINSENT MASONS DRAFTS NEW DCLG GUIDANCE TO HELP LOCAL AUTHORITIES DELIVER EFFICIENCIES

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

In light of the growing impetus for authorities to deliver efficiency savings and explore ways in which collaboration can help to deliver such savings, a small team of experts, including Alan Aisbett, a Projects Partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, have revised and updated key components of the Department for Communities and Local Government's ('DCLG') Strategic Partnering Knowledge Programme; a step by step guide to how local authorities can implement service delivery partnerships.

This practical toolkit, commissioned and published by the DCLG, contains practical guidance for local authority officers and members examining;

? Service Transformation Through Partnerships ? what authorities can do and how

? Shared Services and Public Private Partnerships ? structures for collaborative and joint working arrangements with other authorities, other public bodies, private sector entities and/or voluntary organisations; and

? Employees and Strategic Service Partnerships ? how to ensure employee issues are addressed effectively and sensitively throughout any process.

This new guidance provides an accessible and easy to use, step by step guide, providing advice on what to do and what not to do based on the experience of a wealth of existing local authority partnership projects. Through such guidance, DCLG hope authorities will learn from best practice and devise models and approaches which best fit their unique local needs.

The DCLG appointed Alan, together with consultants Enid Allen and John Layton, all former lead executives of the Department's Strategic Partnering Taskforce ('SPT') to produce such guidance. The SPT was a two year research programme into local authority service delivery partnerships. One of the principal benefits of the SPT was the Knowledge Programme of best practice guidance covering procurement, partnerships, developing business cases, managing risk and many other challenging areas of new ways of working in local government. All the guidance is available free of charge on the DCLG website: www.communities.gov.uk.

Assisting Alan at Pinsent Masons were Navjeet Virk (Projects Solicitor), Pam Sidhu (Employment Associate) and Gavin Paul (Pensions Solicitor).

Alan Aisbett, Projects Partner, said, 'We are delighted to have been involved with developing this pioneering guidance which will be invaluable to authorities as they continually strive to achieve their annual efficiency targets. Authorities hear about the advantages of working together with other authorities but until now there has been no guidance on how to do it. This guidance provides authorities with all key information at their finger-tips.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

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Sunderland Football Club Advised by Pinsent Masons on Niall Quinn Takeover

July 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A 20-strong legal team at Pinsent Masons is celebrating the successful conclusion of an intense 18 months with the announcement today of the takeover of Sunderland by a consortium led by Niall Quinn. The offer values Sunderland's share capital at approximately ?10 million. In addition, the bidder will assume Sunderland's net debt of approximately ?38.2 million.

The independent directors of Sunderland, the recently relegated Premiership football club, advised by Zeus Capital Limited, have unanimously recommended that Sunderland shareholders (currently numbering 4500) accept the offer once it is made. The bidder has received irrevocable undertakings to accept the offer in respect of 72.59% of the existing issued ordinary share capital.

The takeover has followed a decision by 57% shareholder and Chairman Bob Murray to sell his controlling stake. He said: 'I believe that the time is right for someone to kick-start the Club and move it to the next level, and I recognise that new investment is needed to do that'.

Pinsent Masons Leeds head of corporate Martin Shaw, who has advised Sunderland for 22 years including the takeover process which started in the summer of 2005, commented 'We are delighted to have brought this deal to a successful conclusion after many months of interesting and challenging work. We gave strategic advice on identifying possible interest in Sunderland in Europe, the USA and the Middle East, and ultimately the key negotiations with the consortium led by Niall Quinn'.

The Pinsent Masons team for the takeover negotiations was jointly led by partners Martin Shaw and Philip Goldsborough. They were assisted by John Clegg (corporate), Victoria Goddard and David Bowman (property), Jonathan Robinson (tax), Matthew Ambler (pensions) and Jon Fisher (employment).

The offer is being made by KC Capital Limited on behalf of Drumaville Limited, a company incorporated by the consortium. They were advised by SJ Berwin.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, Business Development Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS ACTS FOR BE SHAREHOLDERS IN ?50 MILLION TAKEOVER BY O2

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shareholders of Be Un Limited, one of the UK's most innovative broadband providers, have been advised by a legal team at Pinsent Masons on the ?50 million takeover of their company by mobile network operator O2.

Launched two years ago, Be has become a highly successful company and was the first internet service provider to use the latest ADSL2+ technology which greatly increases operating speeds. It has rolled its network out to more than 150 local exchanges and has plans to be in more than 400, providing approximately 50% population cover in the UK by the end of this year.

The acquisition of Be gives O2 immediate leading edge broadband capability in the UK and a base from which to develop integrated mobile and internet services in the future.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Be shareholders, who comprised Rensburg Investment Management Services Inc, Dana Pressman and Novator, was led by corporate partner Andrew Masraf, with Lucy Glyn and James Weaver (Corporate), Charles Park (IT) and Rebecca Power (tax).

O2 was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

www.pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with over 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 and is in the Global 100 of law firms. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as strategic alliances with firms in Dubai, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, India, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.

About Be

Be Un Limited ('Be') is the UK's first Internet service provider (ISP) to harness the latest ADSL2+ technology to maximise the potential of BT phone lines at a highly competitive price. The company is deploying its own network in the UK, utilising the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) EU directive, which allows independent operators to lease incumbent's (British Telecom in the case of the UK market) last mile access infrastructure.

Be is backed by Novator, a financial investor that has a specialist focus in the telecommunications sector.

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INTERQUEST GROUP MAKES INROADS INTO PUBLIC SECTOR ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

IT recruitment specialist, InterQuest Group plc, has been advised by a team from law firm Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of Sand Resources Limited for a consideration of up to ?5.2 million.

The purchase of Sand Resources Limited, a specialist provider of IT recruitment services to the public sector and one of a select band of companies to be accredited by the Office of Government Commerce to supply IT contractors to public sector organisations, broadens the scope of services provided by InterQuest Group.

InterQuest Chairman, Gary Ashworth, commented: 'We are pleased to welcome this high quality, well run, niche business to the InterQuest Group. We believe the inclusion of Sand Resources in our group broadens our presence in the Central Government IT staffing arena and provides a strong platform for growth.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising InterQuest comprised Linda Crow, Emma Harvey and Rebecca Maxwell (corporate), Veronia McMahon (tax) and Katy Wanless (property).

The individual vendors of Sand Resources Limited was advised by Vertex Law.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

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New appointment at Browell Smith & Co

June 2006. Press Releases by Browell Smith & Co (view listing).

As a consequence of continued expansion, the firm is delighted to announce the arrival of Clare O'Leary, a highly experienced and respected clinical negligence solicitor.

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Reed Smith IPO Practice Gathers Momentum Advising On The Innovative 'Accelerated IPO' Of Inspired Ga

June 2006. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm, Reed Smith is delighted to announce its role in advising the Inspired Gaming Group Plc on its successful IPO and admission of its issued share capital to trading on the AIM market of the London stock Exchange.

The transaction was structured as an 'accelerated IPO' which was underwritten by Evolution Securities Limited, and comprised a placing of 60,000,000 Ordinary shares at a placing price of 180p per share. The company will have an initial market capitalisation of approximately ÂŁ115 million.

Inspired Gaming Group is the leading player in the UK Server Based Gaming (SBG) market and is also the leading provider of analogue machines for the leisure and gaming markets. The Group provides SBG software systems and SBG digital and networked terminals in six countries today. The Group manages over 90,000 machines across the UK, of which in excess of 17,000 are already on the SBG platform.

Saul Sender, Senior Associate at Reed Smith said 'The accelerated IPO structure proposed by Evolution allowed management to take control of the future of their business and gain access to capital available in the public equity markets to accelerate the roll-out the new generation of gaming machines.'

Sue Albion, Company Secretary at Inspired Gaming Group PLC commented 'This is an exciting development for the company, facilitated by the exceptional levels of service from the team at Reed Smith, and will enable us to quicken the roll out of the Group's digital platform both in the UK and internationally.'

The Reed Smith team was lead by senior associate, Saul Sender and partner, Giles Beale with banking partner, Leon Stephenson advising on the ?116 million debt facility and associate, James Wilson advising on the IPO of Inspired Gaming which raised ?108 million. Norton Rose advised Evolution Securities.

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IP GROUP PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON MOVE FROM AIM TO OFFICIAL LIST

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Fast-developing intellectual property commercialisation company, IP Group PLC, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its move from AIM to the Official List of the London Stock Exchange.

The company's board believes that joining the Official List will be of benefit by enabling the company to attract a wider range of shareholders and by raising its profile domestically and internationally. IP Group appointed KBC Peel Hunt Ltd as its sponsor for the Admission and as joint broker along with Lehman Brothers International (Europe).

IP Group works with many of the UK's leading research universities as a partner in commercialising the products and services that result from their work. Pinsent Masons has acted as the company's leading adviser on partnering arrangements with universities such as Bristol, Oxford, Southampton, King's College London, York and Surrey.

The Pinsent Masons team advising IP Group on its transfer to the Official List was led by Corporate Partner, Russell Booker. Russell Booker was also the company's lead legal adviser when, as IP2IPO Group, it was originally admitted to AIM in October 2003.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS ACTS FOR THREE NHS TRUSTS ON PIONEERING PROCUREMENT PROGRAMME

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has acted for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust and The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on a pioneering partnership with service provider B Braun to overhaul services for cleaning and sterilising surgical instruments in West Yorkshire. The agreement was signed on 12 June 2006.

The agreement is the pathfinder for a procurement programme developed and overseen nationally by the Department of Health's commercial directorate, with advice from Pinsent Masons, Ernst & Young and Gleeds. Many more projects are now expected to move towards contract finalisation using the experience gained on the pathfinder transaction. The project will see the replacement of outdated cleaning and sterilising facilities currently situated within the hospitals managed by the three trusts. A new dedicated facility for the decontamination of surgical instruments will take their place.

A new processing 'supercentre' is being adapted at Grangefield Estate, Pudsey, Leeds, which will not only provide this service to the three trusts but will have capacity to provide services to other NHS trusts, primary care trusts and independent sector hospitals in the area. The contracts include new provisions to protect the rights of current and future employees and ensure equitable employment terms. The Pinsent Masons team drafted and negotiated these terms, working with specialist Department of Health HR adviser Anne-Marie Bond and the Government Actuary's Department.

The programme, which received the Public Sector Joint Working Award at the PP Finance Awards 2005, involves clusters of NHS bodies procuring independent sector service providers to clean and sterilise surgical instruments. It was established to make major improvements to the quality of the decontamination of surgical instruments in the light of serious health threats such as vCJD and hepatitis. The project has involved the need to develop intricate procurement and contract structures with a multiplicity of stakeholders, whilst securing a straightforward interface between users and providers. It is expected that some 21 further deals will follow as new contracts are concluded across the UK.

Pinsent Masons' national programme team is led by Barry Francis supported by James Watson and Rowena Moss. The closing of the pathfinder was led by James Watson, supported by Alastair Dale, with property law support from John Trevethan and Richard Collett, planning law support from Dawn Blackwell, pensions and employment support from John Hanratty and Emma Peacock and procurement and competition law advice led by Katherine Eddon and James Bryan.

The pathfinder's project director, Len Wright said, 'From the trusts' perspective this will provide a very important service, directly supporting clinicians. It is crucial that patients' interests are properly protected in the longer term as well in the immediate transition. The contracts, which have been developed by Pinsent Masons in close collaboration with the trusts, provide that protection. I am very pleased and impressed with the service that Pinsent Masons have given us on this project.'

The Department of Health's commercial programme director commented, 'Pinsent Masons have been a key member of the national team since inception providing legal advice covering the development of the legal contracts, procurement, HR and property advice. The contracts have also been developed in conjunction with the pathfinder team and are now the basis for all 21 decontamination supercentre collaborations. A key feature of this new service model is that it works within the current cost of service, utilising efficiencies from the collaborating trusts.'

Barry Francis, the head of Pinsent Masons' health sector and projects partner said, 'This has been a fascinating project, working with an excellent team to develop another approach to collaborative working between the public and independent sectors to the benefit of patients. The programme has presented significant challenges and we are delighted to have helped bring the pathfinder to an effective solution.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 260 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. In the UK, the firm has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm and was named as the Best Legal Adviser at the Public Private Finance Awards 2006 last month.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON ?690 MILLION BIRMINGHAM NEW HOSPITALS PFI PROJECT

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has acted for both University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust on a jointly procured ?690m PFI Project which reached financial close today.

The Project will see the construction of a new 1,213 bed super hospital and a new psychiatric facility on the site of the existing Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in Edgbaston and the delivery of a new 32 bed mental health unit at Showell Green Lane.

Michael Boyd, a Partner in the firm's award winning Projects Group said: 'This is a highly complicated project and we are delighted to have played a major role in seeing it through to financial close. It will have a significant and positive effect on the provision of high quality healthcare to the people of the West Midlands and beyond and will make a major contribution to the wider regeneration of Birmingham.'

Some distinctive characteristics of the scheme included joint procurement, the construction of a new Royal Centre for Defence Medicine for the Ministry of Defence, clinical science and education facilities for the University of Birmingham, the involvement of a Foundation Trust, an innovative sharing arrangement for car parking revenues and the inclusion of an IT service. All this meant that new solutions had to be developed and included in the Project Agreement.

This brings to 16 the total number of all major NHS Projects in which Pinsent Masons has advised the NHS with a combined capital expenditure of ?2.1bn, the capital value of NHS projects under procurement and being advised by Pinsent Masons is ?1.4bn. The Pinsent Masons team included Carl Watson, Fran Button (Construction), Richard Ford (Planning), Colin Oakley (Property), Jo Toft (Service issues), Robin Baillie (RCDM/University) and Jon Coane (Funding).

The equity providers for the special purpose vehicle set up for the purpose of the Project (Consort Healthcare (Birmingham) Limited), comprise Balfour Beatty Projects Limited, RBS and HSBC. The Project is to be funded through the issue of bonds guaranteed by FGIC UK Limited. Consort Healthcare (Birmingham) Limited was advised by Tods Murray (William Simmons) and FGIC by Allen & Overy (Anne Baldock).

Michael added, 'We have a lot of experience of acting for the NHS on major and complex procurements. This was one of the most challenging that we have been involved in and we were able to draw on our NHS experience in order to complete it. It is especially pleasing to have finished such a significant project so soon after the firm was awarded 'Best Legal Adviser' in the Public Private Finance Awards 2006.'

Peter Shanahan, Deputy Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer and Project Director for University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust commented: 'The financial close of this Project means that, by 2010, we will have an internationally recognised centre of clinical excellence providing modern and dependable acute adult healthcare. It will be a focus for leading-edge education, training and research and will create world-class healthcare facilities for the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands region. Pinsent Masons worked closely with us and became an integral part of the Project Team. We are grateful to Pinsent Masons both for the help they gave in resolving the often complex issues we have faced and for the contribution they have made in assisting us to meet this important milestone.'

Alison Simpson, Project Director for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health National Health Service Trust commented: 'BSMHT are delighted the BNHP has reached financial close. This represents a major milestone for the Project and for BSMHT, and is the culmination of years of work between a number of key partners. The expertise, diligence, attention to detail, and creativity brought to the Project by the Pinsent Masons team (which demonstrated excellent partnership working with BSMHT) has played a major part in this achievement.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Email: Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK. It is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTED BY REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY ONE NORTHEAST

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been appointed to the legal panel of regional development agency One NorthEast following a review of its external legal advisers. The firm will advise on property and planning, corporate and regulatory. This is the third appointment by a regional development agency for Pinsent Masons.

One NorthEast is the regional development agency for North East England, covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley. The new contracts became effective on 1 June 2006 and are set to carry a two-year term with an option to extend.

The review is the first since the inaugural line-up of external advisers was appointed in 2000 and is part of a move to integrate the agency?s new in-house legal team.

Mark Owen, Property Partner at Pinsent Masons, said, 'One NorthEast will be a major client for us and we are delighted to secure our third regional development agency as a client. We are keen to engage with them to help them create jobs and to realise their ambitions in the North East.'

Peter Judge, Head of Legal Services at One NorthEast, commented: 'I am delighted with the new panel of legal advisers that One NorthEast has appointed. The process of designing this panel has allowed the agency to engage with both large and small companies and procure great value for money and service. These firms will assist One NorthEast's in house legal services team in dealing with a range of strategic and operational issues affecting the agency and the region.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PROPERTY INVESTOR CIREF LIMITED ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON SPECIAL

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A specialist real estate finance and property team from Pinsent Masons has acted for Jersey-based property investment and development company, CIREF Limited, on its admission to AIM, with a market cap of ?49.7 million.

The company, which has significant property interests concentrated in the retail sector throughout the UK and in Switzerland, also successfully raised ?28.2 million, before expenses, through a placing of 20.15 million new ordinary shares at 140p per share.

Mike Watters the MD stated: 'CIREF already has a very strong portfolio of investments and development opportunities. The money that we raise and the visibility afforded by AIM will allow us to expand and apply our active management strategy to additional opportunities in the UK and throughout Europe. This is a very exciting time for the company and we are looking forward to joining AIM, the world?s most successful market for fast growing companies.'

Real estate finance and banking partner at Pinsent Masons, William Oliver, co-ordinated the team which carried out the specialist property due diligence and general property advice required for the float. Also in the team were: Frances Mallender (banking), James Crookes, Property Partner, and Neil Hogg, Glasgow-based Property Associate who advised on Scottish property matters.

CIREF's policy is to invest in a diversified portfolio of commercial properties, property securities and PCIVs in the UK and Europe. The underlying philosophy is for CIREF to make investments into entities concentrating on the retail, industrial and office real estate sectors.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS FINALISES BBC SCOTLAND TECHNOLOGY CONTRACT FOR

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised on a major technology project between BBC Scotland and Siemens Business Services Limited ('Siemens'). The project involves Siemens handling all aspects of technology implementation and management for the new state of the art Glasgow headquarters for BBC Scotland. The agreement is part of a ten year overall Technology Framework Agreement between the BBC and Siemens.

The Pinsent Masons technology team, led by John Salmon in the firm?s Glasgow office, successfully negotiated the contract on the behalf of BBC Scotland in partnership with the BBC in-house legal team and working closely with Siemens? in-house lawyers.

BBC Scotland?s new Glasgow headquarters, due to open in the summer of 2007, will be a technology showcase, utilising new technologies such as tapeless digital broadcasting to improve processes involved in the production of digital TV and radio programming and internet based broadcasting services. The project involves the design, procurement and delivery of the technology for the new building and an agreement for Siemens to manage BBC Scotland's technology support requirements across Scotland on an ongoing basis.

?This is one of the most exciting technology projects in Scotland currently, and we are proud to be a major component of its success. The agreement will help to ensure that both parties benefit from a close and long-term partnership,? commented John Salmon, Partner, Pinsent Masons.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

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HSBC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON FUNDING FOR INSPICIO GROUP

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

HSBC Leveraged Finance has been advised by the Pinsent Masons London Banking team in relation to its ?30,000,000 loan facilities to global testing group Inspicio Plc and its subsidiaries.

Under the mandate, HSBC extended a further ?10,000,000 to Inspicio under its existing bank facilities to enable Inspicio to acquire Environmental Services Group Limited, the leading building and environmental testing group, from Mowlem plc. In addition, the majority of the debt obligations to HSBC were novated to a new US company within the Inspicio Group.

Stuart Mills, a director of HSBC Leveraged Finance commented: 'It was particularly satisfying to help Inspicio to achieve its acquisition and internal restructuring objectives in a growing, multi-disciplinary sector. It was also good to complete another transaction with the Pinsent Masons team.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Senior Associate Tony Anderson and Partner Martin Bishop, with assistance from solicitor Liam Terry and trainee John Coghlan.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS CLOSES $1.9 BILLION GLOBAL OUTSOURCING CONTRACT FOR

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

International law firm Pinsent Masons has completed a major global IT outsourcing agreement between BAE Systems and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). The five year agreement is valued at approximately $1.9 billion and is the third renewal of BAE Systems' outsourcing arrangements with CSC which originated in 1994.

The Pinsent Masons outsourcing team, led by partners David Isaac and Bridget Fleetwood, successfully negotiated the contract on behalf of BAE Systems. Working closely with BAE Systems' in-house lawyer, Edward Gelsthorpe, the eight strong Pinsent Masons team advised on all aspects of the transaction. CSC was advised by its in-house team led by Mike Phillips and Michael Woodfine.

CSC?s relationship with BAE Systems began in 1994 when the companies signed a 10-year, $1.5 billion IT outsourcing contract. At that stage the contract was one of the largest commercial IT outsourcing contracts ever awarded to a single supplier in Europe. The relationship expanded to support multiple mergers and acquisitions in both the UK and the U.S. Through the existing agreement, CSC will provide IT services to support 13 BAE Systems businesses and joint ventures operating in more than 117 locations in the UK and North America.

?The negotiation of a third generation outsourcing arrangement presents new and interesting challenges. Customers are obviously keen to build upon past successes. Equally they are anxious to ensure that the new arrangements provide best value for money, are innovative and take into account a wide range of lessons learned. These were key drivers for the negotiation and I believe that that the contract will deliver these requirements,? commented David Isaac of Pinsent Masons.

The highly-innovative new arrangements mean that CSC will continue to manage a full range of IT operations for a number of BAE Systems businesses, from mainframe and midrange computers, servers and desktops, to local and wide area networking, Internet services, help desk, applications development and support, and procurement services.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray

Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON ?375M CAPEX ST HELENS & KNOWSLEY HOSPITALS PFI PROJECT

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised on the ?375m capex St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals PFI project which reached commercial close on 31 May 2006.

The project involves the financing, design, construction and provision of certain services at two sites for the St. Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Trust. The project was sponsored by Taylor Woodrow and Innisfree. Lead managers on the deal were Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Barclays Capital with Investec advising the SPV.

Pinsent Masons acted for Taylor Woodrow Construction Limited as construction contractor and hard facilities management contractor.

The construction team was led by Michael Mullarkey (Partner, UK Construction & Engineering), assisted by Brad Fearn and Emma Laverty, the hard fm team was led by Mark Sanderson (Partner, Projects), assisted by Joanne Toft, and Richard Williams (Partner, Banking & Finance) advised on performance security issues.

Michael Mullarkey said: 'Pinsent Masons are delighted to have advised one of the UK's leading contractors on closing this significant health project. The additional challenge of securing agreement on a significant mechanical and electrical subcontract in parallel with the construction contract underlines the importance TWC attaches to its supply chain in delivering a first class scheme.'

Addleshaws acted for the Trust; Lovells acted for the SPV; Clifford Chance acted for the funders.

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For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

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MAYBORN GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?116 MILLION TAKEOVER

June 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Mayborn Group plc, the company behind high street brands such as Tommee Tippee, Sangenic and Dylon, is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on its ?116 million recommended takeover by 3i-backed Jake Acquisitions plc.

The transaction, which is being effected by a Scheme of Arrangement, will also involve the demerger of Mayborn subsidiary Tube Plastics to Mayborn's existing shareholders. Tube Plastics is valued at ?3 million.

Mayborn, which started life in the 1940s producing the dyes sold under the Dylon name, has grown to become a highly successful group producing a wide range of international brands, specialising in products for babies, children and households. The group has grown organically and by acquisition and has a turnover in excess of ?80 million.

Jake Acquisitions is a company formed by 3i, with Nish Kankiwala as its chief executive, to effect the acquisition of Mayborn.

Michael Samuel, Chief Executive of Mayborn, said: ?Over recent years, Mayborn has grown significantly, building its brands and businesses in the UK and overseas which is reflected in current shareholder value. I believe that 3i and Nish Kankiwala, working together with the dedicated management team and employees of the Mayborn Group, in a rewarding environment, will successfully take Mayborn forward and accelerate the growth of its core brands in international markets.

'I was delighted with the work which Pinsent Masons did on this complicated transaction. Mayborn has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Pinsent Masons for a number of years.'

It is currently anticipated, assuming the resolutions to be put to the Court Meeting* and EGM are passed, that the acquisition and demerger will become effective by the end of July 2006.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Mayborn Group is being led by corporate partners Roger Fink and Jeremy Phillips, assisted principally by Gareth Rees and Gareth Hughes.

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For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32

Email: clare.turnbull@pinsentmasons.com

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PINSENT MASONS ADVISES SERCO IN LANDMARK RACE CASE

May 2006. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Serco on its successful appeal to the Court of Appeal in what has been described as 'the high profile race discrimination case of 2006'. In the ruling, handed down today, the Court holds that Serco did not act unlawfully when it dismissed a BNP councillor.

Serco appealed against a decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the logical conclusion of which appeared to be that an employer dismissing an employee for racially abusing another employee would itself be guilty of race discrimination, a startling consequence. In a decision which will be received with relief by employment lawyers and all those associated with promoting race relations, Lord Justice Mummery, delivering the verdict of the Court, said: 'I am confident that this is not the kind of case for which the anti-discrimination legislation was designed.'

The Claimant, Arthur Redfearn worked for a Serco subsidiary which transports children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in the Bradford area. Following his election as a BNP councillor in June 2004, Serco responded to widespread concerns and concluded that his public association with the BNP posed a health & safety risk to users of the service, employees and to Mr Redfearn himself. His employment was terminated as a consequence.

Councillor Redfearn claimed that the decision to dismiss him amounted to discrimination 'on racial grounds' and therefore breached the Race Relations Act 1976. He lost in the Leeds Employment Tribunal but then came the EAT decision. This controversial and worrying decision received widespread criticism from, amongst others, the Commission for Racial Equality and the TUC, as it appeared to be completely at odds with the purpose of the Race Relations Act. As the Court of Appeal put it in overturning the EAT decision, 'any other result would be incompatible with the purpose of the 1976 Act to promote equal treatment of persons irrespective of race.'

The Pinsent Masons team comprised Michael Ryley (Partner) and Nick Thomas (Associate), who instructed David Pannick QC (Blackstone Chambers) and Chris Quinn (Cloisters).

Commenting on the case, Michael Ryley, Employment Partner, said: 'This is an important decision for the future of race relations law in this country. There was widespread concern that, if Serco had not successfully appealed the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the efforts of those seeking to promote best practice in tackling racial discrimination in the workplace would have been seriously undermined. The decision of the Court of Appeal will be warmly welcomed.'

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For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 020 7490 6378 or mob: 07717 156 559

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 250 partners, a total legal team of more than 900 and in excess of 1,500 staff in the UK and internationally. The firm ranks in the UK top 15 of law firms and is one of Europe's leaders. Pinsent Masons has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. The firm is ranked first in the 2006 Hemscott table of legal advisers to support services companies, such as Serco, in terms of the number of FTSE 350 clients advised. The Employment Group is one of the most experienced teams of employment lawyers in the country. With over 65 employment lawyers, including 17 partners, it is also one of the largest in the country.

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