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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

 

SCOTTISH GAMES DEVELOPER ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ACQUISITION

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Premier computer games developer, DC Studios, has been advised by a team from Pinsent Masons in Leeds and Scotland on the acquisition of certain assets and the licence of rights to develop the State of Emergency 2 game.

Canadian-based DC Studios, which develops games for leading brands such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, acquired the assets and licence from the Scottish-based games developers VIS Entertainment and SOE Development acting by their administrator, Tenon Limited.

The Scottish arm of DC Studios, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, will now complete the development of State of Emergency 2 in readiness for a market launch.

Taking place 10 years after the events of the original title, State of Emergency 2 will offer similar gameplay mechanics to its predecessor while adding a host of new modes, more weapons, and an original engine that has been built from the ground up.

The Pinsent Masons team advising DC Studios comprised John Salmon (Outsourcing, Technology & Commercial ? OTC Partner), Louise Fullwood (OTC), Derek Stroud (Head of Corporate, Scotland), Stephen Swan (Corporate) and Neil Hogg (Property).

Mark Greenshields, DC Studios' CEO commented: 'John Salmon and his team pulled out the stops to get this acquisition done as quickly as possible and were instrumental in helping us through the complexities of this transaction. When push came to shove Pinsent Masons came through for DC and we are glad to have them as our legal advisors here in the UK.'

Pinsent Masons' Partner John Salmon, added: 'DC Studios has a great games development track record and this acquisition is an exciting development opportunity for the Scottish operation.'

The administrators were advised by Shepherd + Wedderburn.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Eilidh Douglas, Business Development Executive

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 0141 249 5408 or

Clare Turnbull on: 0845 300 32 32

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 Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. The firm has a market-leading Outsourcing and Technology practice.

Read more…

ISISEP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON INVESTMENT IN BOLDON JAMES MBO

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

ISIS Equity Partners plc (ISISEP) has been advised by a specialist team from Pinsent Masons on its investment in Boldon James Limited, a messaging solution provider. The company has been sold to its management team by Boldon James Holdings Limited in a ?5.5 million transaction.

Crewe based Boldon James Limited which employs 63 people supplies formal messaging software solutions, such as secure email, to defence and intelligence organisations across the world as well as to local and national Governments. It has also recently pioneered the introduction of similar standards to the civil aviation market. Its applications are commonly used for communicating highly confidential strategic and tactical information across multiple sites and geographic jurisdictions, which are applicable for both combat and corporate arenas.

Corporate Partner Peter Wood led for Pinsent Masons assisted by a cross-departmental team including Catherine Hemsworth and Jon Robinson (corporate), Stephen Woods and Emma Kerr (banking), Pam Young (property), Caroline McDermott (tax), Louise Crook (employment), Ian McKie (Commercial) and John Hanratty (pensions).

James Hall and Andy Gregory led the transaction for ISISEP. Andy Gregory will join the Boldon James board on behalf of ISISEP. Joining the business as Chairman is Richard Beaton, former CEO of Imasys and Anite Public Sector Limited.

The MBO was led by Managing Director Martin Sugden who commented: ?The military and intelligence sectors have been quick to grasp the need for adding functionality to basic e-mail to provide certain and secure delivery. Boldon James is the market leader in the provision of this functionality. Large corporates are now realising that the key strength of e-mail, its ease of use, is leading to significant management and control problems, which Boldon James is well placed to deal with.?

James Hall of ISIS Equity Partners added: ?The strength of the recurring underlying revenue streams of Boldon James combined with prospects for growth made this deal an attractive opportunity for us. We are looking forward to supporting Martin and the management team with the development of the business.?

Management were advised by Wragge & Co. Debt finance was provided by Lloyds TSB Acquisition Finance. Grant Thornton Corporate Finance advised BJ Holdings Ltd.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 265 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

New Forum for Healthcare Sector Investors Launched

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Healthcare has become one of the 'hot' sectors for UK private equity investment, ranking as the third most active sector, and now two firms of professional advisers have decided to encourage more mid-market activity.

The sector's power to generate cash, growth opportunities offered by an ageing population, the debt market's willingness to fund transactions and prospects of further consolidation have driven investment interest in the sector.

Chief among the areas of interest are the provision of residential care for the elderly, specialist care homes for children and adults with learning and/or behavioural difficulties and associated educational facilities.

The interest coincides with a time when the ever-increasing standards being imposed by the regulatory bodies, such as CSCI and Ofsted, on smaller care home businesses makes them uneconomic and is fuelling consolidation activity.

Whilst the big players such as Blackstone, Barchester and Southern Cross receive plenty of attention, the quality mid-market players have been less talked about but this is where the consolidation opportunities lie. Activity is focused both on putting similar businesses together and on creating specialist multidisciplinary groups of homes offering a high quality of care.

Many of these mid-market businesses are now targets for venture capitalists who will focus on looking for ways to add value and a route to exit, further fuelling the market. The key, as always, is finding quality managers who can maintain the standards of care as a business grows.

Law firm Pinsent Masons and PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance have both experienced the explosion of interest in the sector at first hand, with their active and well respected national healthcare teams advising on a series of mid-market deals.

They have now decided to gather the best mid-sized specialist care businesses together to provide a networking opportunity, enabling the key members of these organisations to meet on an informal basis to swap ideas and discuss topical issues.

Stephen Bradshaw, the Director of Schools and Development at the Priory Group, guest speaker at the first networking dinner held at Bank Restaurant, Birmingham, gave his views on the challenges facing the specialist care and education market.

Stephen commented: 'The high interest in the care and education markets at the moment is understandable. They are specialist areas with high barriers to entry with a set income paid in advance; what has been unusual is the length of time it has taken investors to consider this market stable and profitable enough to invest in.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Joanne Ellis, Corporate Partner, Pinsent Masons, on: 0121 335 2914

Andy Parker, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance, on: 0121 265 5536.

Notes 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. The firm is strongly sector focused and has a leading practice in corporate and public sector healthcare.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.PricewaterhouseCoopers.com/uk) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients. More than 120,000 people in 144 countries connect their thinking, experience and solutions to build public trust and enhance value for clients and their stakeholders.

Unless otherwise indicated, PricewaterhouseCoopers refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP a limited liability partnership incorporated in England. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON WASTE CONTAINER BUSINESS SALE TO ECI PARTNERS

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The selling shareholders of market leading waste container manufacturer, Taylor Continental Holdings Limited, have been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on the buyout of their business by ECI Partners.

ECI Partners, a leading UK mid-market buyout specialist, is backing a new management team, which includes Alden Taylor, grandson of the founder.

Taylor Continental, which manufactures a range of steel and plastic waste containers for household and commercial markets, employs 200 people at its Worcestershire base. It had a turnover of ?22.6 million in 2004.

Private equity specialists at Pinsent Masons have advised the selling shareholders, family members Anton, Adair, Alston and Axine Taylor, on the sale of the entire issued share capital for an undisclosed sum.

The Pinsent Masons team has been led by Private Equity Partner, Paul Harkin with Lee Clifford, Jonathan Snade and Alexander Edmondson (corporate); Veronica McMahon and Chris Thomas (tax); Charlotte Underwood (property); Giles Warrington and Amy Hitchen (competition); Paul McClenaghan (Outsourcing, technology & commercial); Andrea Paxton (employment) and Ashton Davies (pensions).

ECI Partners have been advised by Burges Salmon and PwC Finance.

The management team has been advised by Osborne Clarke

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a top 15 UK law firm with more than 260 partners, a legal team in excess of 900 and more than 1500 staff worldwide. The firm boasts a national Corporate Group of almost 100 lawyers, of which 36 are partners.

The firm is ranked as a top 10 advisers to UK listed companies and is in the top 20 of M&A legal advisers in the UK and in Europe.

Read more…

Pinsent Masons Supports Extension of Major MoD Telecoms Outsourcing Contract

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons? Outsourcing, Technology and Commercial practice announced today that it has acted on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the renegotiation and extension of the Defence Fixed Telecommunications System (DFTS) contract with BT. The extension to the project is valued in excess of ?1.5 billion and will secure the continued delivery of essential telecommunications services to the MoD and the UK Armed Forces as well as providing significant cost savings to the MoD.

Pinsent Masons advised the MoD on all legal aspects of the DFTS contract, widely perceived to be one of the most successful telecoms partnering arrangements in government. The team was led by technology partners David Isaac and Bridget Fleetwood, supported by assistants Ben Murphy and David Cole. As part of the renegotiation, the Pinsent Masons team reviewed key areas of the previous contract to reflect developments in PPP and telecoms best practice.

The original DFTS contract was awarded to BT in 1997 following a competition, and enabled the MoD to rationalise its telecoms service requirement and achieve major cost savings. The extended contract will involve the introduction of new technology and produce benefits to contribute to operational effectiveness and future capabilities. It will also provide further, substantial cost savings, predicted at ?15 million per year.

Bridget Fleetwood, a partner at Pinsent Masons commented, ?The DFTS contract is one of the most advanced partnerships in telecoms outsourcing in the UK, demonstrating how the private sector can work with government to provide value and effective technology solutions. This extension will encourage both parties to drive change to address the current and future needs of the MoD. In addition, the significant savings predicted through this new contract are a good example of why we recommend that outsourcing contracts should be regularly reviewed and, where appropriate, renegotiated.?

Darryl Midgley, who heads up the integrated project team responsible for DFTS, commented, ?With the DFTS contract extension now extended to 2012, we at last have a stable platform on which to concentrate our efforts for some time to come. Considerable hard work was expended by both teams in finalising the negotiations, and everyone involved should be congratulated in a magnificent effort which has enabled a deal that will deliver more than ?200m in savings to the Department.'

Ends

For further information please contact:

Vincent Gray,Pinsent Masons

vincent.gray@pinsentmasons.com

T: 0207 490 6276

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES PANMURE GORDON & CO ON TENDER OFFER

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Panmure Gordon & Co is being advised by a corporate team from the London office of UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on a tender offer by property investment company, London & Associated Properties PLC (LAP).

Panmure Gordon & Co is offering to purchase up to 10,309,278 Ordinary Shares at between 97p and 104p, with any tendered shares to be subsequently purchased on-market by LAP from Panmure Gordon & Co, in order to return up to ?10 million of capital to the shareholders of LAP. The tender offer closes on 24 June.

LAP has decided on the share buy back against the backcloth of a flat market for property investment and a desire to create value for its shareholders.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Panmure Gordon & Co comprises Corporate Finance Partner, Jon Harris, and senior associate, Sean Page.

LAP is being advised by Olswang.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

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.

The firm, ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies, has a national Corporate team of some 100 lawyers, of which 40 (including 14 partners) are based in its London City office.

Read more…

Docklands Light Railway ? Woolwich Arsenal extension reaches Financial Close

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The further development of the Docklands Light Railway reached a significant stage with the financial close of the DLR Woolwich Arsenal PPP project on 31st May 2005.

The project involves the construction of a 2.5 km extension from King George V to North Woolwich with two parallel bored tunnels being constructed under the Thames.

Pinsent Masons acted for Woolwich Arsenal Rail Enterprises Limited ('WARE') the Special Purpose Vehicle jointly owned by Amec and RBS. WARE raised ?240 million of debt and equity finance comprising ?100 million from EIB and ?115 million from RBS (the balance in equity).

Ian Laing led the cross-office team which included Jon Hart, Nick Tidnam, Annette Blane and Robert Graham.

WARE will be responsible for the maintenance of the railway for a period of approximately 30 years and for making it available to DLR (through its franchisee) to operate trains. The line is anticipated to be operational by 2009.

The aims for the Woolwich extension are stated as:

? To create a new link that will significantly improve access for the communities of Woolwich, Silvertown and North Woolwich, by providing an alternative crossing of the River Thames and assisting in a sustainable shift from car to public transport.

? To provide a new direct rail connection from Woolwich to the City and Canary Wharf and London City Airport that will enhance access to jobs and amenities.

? To be the catalyst for substantial regeneration of Woolwich and the Southern Royal Docks, and help to bring new jobs, homes, shops and leisure facilities to those areas.

EIB and The Royal Bank of Scotland were advised by Freshfields. acted for RBS and EIB, Docklands Light Railway were advised by Ashursts.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The firm advises 10 central government departments and over 15 agencies/NDPBs. We act for major UK listed companies and major multinational companies, including 76 companies in the FTSE 250, Fortune 500 and NASDAQ companies.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS PARTNER TAKES UP REINS AT FACULTY OF BUILDING

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Catriona Dodsworth, a Construction Partner at leading UK law firm Pinsent Masons, has been appointed as the new Chair of the London branch of the Faculty of Building.

Catriona, who succeeds Dean Buchanan of architects Buchanan Associates, has more than 10 years experience advising some of the UK's leading construction companies on major building and civil engineering contracts as well as acting in all the various forms of dispute resolution procedures including ADR.

She says : 'The construction industry has seen many changes over the past fifty years and although significant improvements have been made since the publication of the Egan report almost a decade ago there is still a long way to go. I am delighted and honoured to be appointed Chair of the London Branch of this prestigious organisation. For sixty years the Faculty of Building has been promoting good practice and fostering closer links between the many different professions within the construction industry. I intend to carry on that tradition by spearheading a number of profile raising and networking opportunities and initiatives for our members in London over the coming year.'

With more than 2000 members nationally (and around 200 in London) the Faculty of Building is a national networking organisation founded in 1945 to share knowledge, encourage good practice and promote continuous improvement across the diverse disciplines within the construction industry.

Richard Laudy, London Head of Construction at Pinsent Masons, said : 'Catriona's appointment will be a major asset to the organisation and is a credit to Pinsent Masons.'

Pinsent Masons is one of the UK's leading law firms. Its UK Construction & Engineering Group of 26 partners and more than 80 legal support staff in offices across the UK has extensive experience in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 321943

lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES PROVEXIS ON REVERSE TAKEOVER OF NUTRINNOVATOR

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Health food developer and nutraceutical company, Provexis Limited, is being advised by a London corporate team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons, on its reverse takeover of AIM-quoted Nutrinnovator Holdings plc.

Provexis, which has developed a drinks additive that may help to reduce the risk of heart attack, is aiming to raise approximately ?4 million via the reverse takeover of Nutrinnovator, a health food company producing cereal bars.

Nutrinnovator, whose shares are suspended during the bid process, is to apply for re-admission to AIM on 23 June when the company is to change its name to reflect the Provexis acquisition. Stephen Franklin, CEO of Provexis, is expected to become chief executive of the renamed group.

Provexis, founded six years ago, develops scientifically-proven, proprietary, functional foods and has the rights to a tomato extract called CardioFlow, whose properties help thin the blood and so reduce the risk of thrombosis in a similar way to aspirin. The company plans to launch a fruit juice containing CardioFlow with two major UK retailers towards the end of this year.

Nutrinnovator was founded by a team of former GlaxoSmithKline nutritional division executives three years ago and has focused on cereal bar production. Together the companies will be capable of making a bigger impact in the nutraceutical market.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Provexis is being led by London Corporate Finance Partner, Jon Harris, with Sadhbh Kavanagh and Manmohan Panesar (corporate) and Jane Jevon (share schemes).

Arbuthnot Securities Limited, the NOMAD and broker, is being advised by Norton Rose.

Nutrinnovator is being advised by Charles Russell.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications.

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

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.

In the past year Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 15 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group, Copper Resources Corporation and InterQuest Group on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

CRAEGMOOR HEALTHCARE ADVISED ON KEY ACQUISITION BY PINSENT MASONS

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate healthcare specialists at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, have advised the leading independent provider, Craegmoor Healthcare Company Limited on its acquisition of Sapphire Care Services Limited.

The Yorkshire based business which comprises five learning disability residential homes, a day centre and an outreach service providing care and support to adults with challenging behaviours, will be integrated into Craegmoor's Northern division.

?The acquisition of Sapphire Care Services will significantly strengthen our capability as one of the leading providers of care and support for adults with learning difficulties and in particular those who demonstrate challenging behaviours. The five homes and the day care centre and outreach service are recognised as offering high quality support and care in line with the principles of the valuing people guidelines,? commented Operations Director, Margaret Hill.

The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Craegmoor upon which Pinsent Masons' Corporate Healthcare specialist partner, Joanne Ellis, and her team have advised, including the acquisitions of Autism TASCC Services Limited, an independent provider of autism specific services with a ten-bed residential home, Collinson Court, in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, and Hometrack Limited which operates Bridgeway, a 27-bed residential and nursing home for young adults with physical disabilities in Ribbleton, near Preston.

The Pinsent Masons team advising on the Sapphire Care Services acquisition comprised Joanne Ellis, Ann McCarthy and Jonathan Snade (corporate); Martin Bishop (banking); Maxwell Creighton and Veronica McMahon (tax); Tom Eastwood (property); Gavin Paul (pensions); Elizabeth Slater (commercial); Charles Rae (employment) and Victoria Austin (planning & environmental).

Sapphire Care Services were advised by HSR Law in Doncaster.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Craegmoor Healthcare is the leading independent provider of specialist care in the UK, for over 5000 adults and children, across nearly 300 homes and independent hospitals.

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.

The firm is strongly sector focused and has a leading practice in corporate and public sector healthcare.

Read more…

REED SMITH LLP HIRES YET ANOTHER PARTNER

June 2005. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm, Reed Smith LLP is pleased to announce that Rajita Sharma will join the firm as a Partner, on Monday 6th June 2005, to spearhead the growth of the Intellectual Property group. Rajita?s appointment boosts the number of UK Partners to 38.

Rajita, a leading IP specialist, joins the firm from American firm, Wildman Harrold where she was head of the European Intellectual Property team. Rajita?s practice covers multi-jurisdictional contentious and non-contentious intellectual property law and IT law with equal emphasis on patents, trade marks and copyright.

Reed Smith in the US has almost 100 lawyers practicing Intellectual Property for a wide range of clients across a variety of sectors, including, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, media and entertainment, healthcare and technology.

Tim Foster, UK Managing Partner, Reed Smith LLP commented:

?We are delighted to welcome another high-calibre recruit to Reed Smith. Rajita?s strong international links and reputation in the world of intellectual property are complimentary to the strong IP practice that has been established in the US. It is yet another indication of the success of the transatlantic integration in line with the firm?s core areas of expertise.?

Rajita Sharma added:

?Reed Smith?s strengthening international links and commitment to providing a quality service to clients are very appealing. I very much look forward to joining the firm.?

Read more…

OFT LAUNCHES STUDY ON PROCUREMENT PRACTICES AND COMPETITION IN WASTE SECTOR

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Procurement practices and competition within the municipal waste industry are set to be scrutinised following the announcement of a major review of public sector procurement policies and practices by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT has joined forces with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and Defra to undertake a ten-month study aimed at exploring ways of improving the buying power of public sector procurers of municipal waste management services, discouraging anti-competitive arrangements and removing barriers to entry for smaller suppliers. This could have a long-term impact on companies active in the sector.

The review will pay particular attention to the anti-competitive effects of very long term contracts, integrated waste management contracts and the use of supplier accreditation lists by public sector procurers on small to medium-sized enterprises.

The OGC has been studying how to increase competition and improve long-term capacity planning in the government market place for the past few years and, in its Annual Plan for 2005/6, the OFT has recently identified the interaction between government and markets as one of its key priorities for the next year.

The OFT expects the study to be completed by March 2006. It may at that stage issue guidelines to public sector procurers on how to make the most of competition when procuring waste management services.

Pinsent Masons has one of the largest specialist competition law groups in the UK with considerable expertise and experience of advising clients on UK competition law and public procurement.

Alan Davis, a Competition Partner with law firm Pinsent Masons, said:

'Both the OFT and OGC have been looking at ways of increasing competition and capacity planning within the municipal waste sector for some time. This latest study and the eventual OFT guidelines may well have a long term impact on the way in which waste management services are procured in the future. However, it is essentially prospective, and is unlikely to have any immediate impact on existing contractual arrangements. If the OFT wished to investigate current arrangements, it would have to use its powers under the Competition Act 1998 or under the market investigations regime of the Enterprise Act 2002.'

ENDS

For media enquiries call :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Email : lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON FIRST DUTCH OFF SHORE WIND FARM

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Shell and Dutch energy company Nuon have signed the final contracts for their joint realization of the first Dutch offshore wind farm, located at Egmond aan Zee, 10 miles outside the Dutch coast. The wind farm will be constructed in 2006. NoordzeeWind (a 50/50 joint venture between Shell and Nuon) awarded the construction contract to Bouwcombinatie Egmond, a joint venture between Dutch offshore contractor Ballast Nedam and Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas.

Thirty-six wind turbines with an overall capacity of 108 Megawatts will be constructed 10 kilometres off the coast of Egmond aan Zee (the Netherlands). On a yearly basis, the wind turbines will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 Dutch households. From the end of 2006, the wind farm will start generating sustainable energy, which Nuon will supply to the Dutch market. The project involves an investment in excess of ? 200 million.

The project is accompanied by a comprehensive research programme designed to increase knowledge about offshore wind energy. This will study the effects on both nature and the environment, as well as the technical aspects, such as turbine behaviour and integration into the electricity grid. This will help to increase expertise for the construction of larger wind farms further out to sea.

The Dutch government is supporting the project financially under the Electricity Production (Environmental Quality) Act (MEP) along with a subsidy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs' CO2 Reduction Plan. Finally, the Energy Investment Incentive facility (EIA) (a tax allowance) also applies.

The initial construction work is planned at the end of 2005 with the installation of power cables between the grid connection point at Velsen and the wind farm's own transformer substation located on a site near the shore owned by Corus. The foundation piles of the wind turbines will be driven into the seabed during the spring of 2006, after which the wind turbines will be installed. Specialised ships will be used for this work.

Preparations for this programme spanned several years. After the Dutch government selected NoordzeeWind as a partner in July 2002, intervening years have seen geological surveys, wind measurements and the compilation of an environmental effects report. Several projects were also developed to provide greater support for nature conservation.

Pinsent Masons advised Shell and Nuon in relation to the contracts with Bouwcombinatie Egmond.

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

CM PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mobile : 07748 321943

Notes to editors :

Pinsent Masons have advised in relation to more than 30 wind farms in the UK and overseas, including the UK's first off shore wind farm at North Hoyle in 2002.

The International Construction & Energy Department's Procurement Group undertakes all aspects of procurement in the renewables sector including planning, environmental, construction and grid connections, power purchase arrangements and financing.

Read more…

D1 OILS PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON GROWTH-FUELLED FUNDRAISING

June 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Biodiesel producer, D1 Oils plc, is positioning itself to take full advantage of opportunities in the rapidly growing renewable fuel sector by expanding its operations in new and existing territories.

Advised by lawyers at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, the AIM-quoted company is raising ?25.8 million (gross of expenses) by a share placing and will use the funds to advance its growth plans.

The UK-based global low cost biodiesel producer is seeing growing demand for sustainable renewable fuel, with China and India opening up as two of the largest markets.

D1 Oils, which aims to become the leading producer of biodiesel and related feedstocks, is placing 9,732,617 new ordinary shares at a price of 265p per share, raising ?25.8 million (gross) and ?24.3 million net of expenses. The shares are expected to be admitted to AIM on 14 June.

The company announced the placing yesterday (Tues) as it issued its year end results. Chairman, Karl Watkin, commented: 'D1 Oils is making excellent progress and has accelerated key components of its business plan. D1 Oils has further increased its opportunities worldwide as the market is getting stronger. The placing will help D1 Oils to secure a leadership position through enabling the company to pursue a more aggressive expansion policy and is a key step towards our objective of becoming a leading sustainable global low cost producer of biodiesel.'

The Pinsent Masons London Corporate team acting for D1 Oils on the placing is being led by National Head of Corporate, Gareth Edwards, with Justine Howard, Hanh Jelf, William Bankes, Ros Cook and Anthony Rance. Pinsent Masons also acted for the company on its admission to AIM last October.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 mob: 07884 110173

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.

In the past year Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 15 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group Copper Resources Corporation and InterQuest Group on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

INTERQUEST ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON AIM ADMISSION

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Fast-growing IT recruitment business InterQuest Group is being advised by a specialist team at UK law firm Pinsent Masons, on its admission to AIM, with a market cap of ?13.9 million.

Launched nearly four years ago, InterQuest has grown by acquisition now operating four divisions each of which specialises in placing contract and permanent IT staff in different market sectors, ranging from and including financial institutions, central and local government, and the retail and fast moving consumer goods sectors.

The company hopes to raise ?3 million from a placing of 5,454,550 ordinary shares of 1p each at 55p per share as part of its flotation and to use these funds to advance its organic and acquisitive growth plans in the UK IT recruitment market which is estimated to be worth ?5 billion. The market consists of some 1,200 businesses, ranging from small owner-managed IT specialist companies to large multinational recruitment firms. The IT market consists of approximately 800,000 IT professionals, of which an estimated 80,000 are contractors.

The InterQuest flotation is the sixth AIM admission this year for Pinsent Masons, ranked equal first as AIM company advisers by company information specialists, Hemscott Group. The London team advising InterQuest is being led by national head of corporate, Gareth Edwards, with Justine Howard and Hanh Jelf.

Nominated adviser and broker to the float, Panmure Gordon, is being advised by Hammonds.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

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.

In the past year Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 15 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth, Sarantel Group and Copper Resources Corporation on their respective AIM admissions, in addition to advising the broker on a further two floats. The firm acts for over 40 AIM quoted companies.

Read more…

SUPER SIX JOIN PINSENT MASONS IN LONDON TO MEET GROWING DEMAND FOR CONSTRUCTION

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has expanded its construction practice with the arrival of six fee-earners to its London operation.

The move is in response to growing client demand following the merger between Pinsents and Masons back in December 2004.

Solicitor Brad Fearn from Hammonds and Sarah Sharpe from the construction team at Kennedys will be joining fellow solicitor Paul O'Neil who recently joined the firm from Fox Williams.

The team will also be joined by 7 year qualified solicitor John Mullee and Senior Associate Greg Richards who have re-located from the firm's Hong Kong and Manchester offices respectively along with Helen Waddell, a Senior Associate who has recently returned from maternity leave.

With a global network of more than 150 lawyers Pinsent Masons has one of the largest and most experienced construction legal teams in the world.

Richard Laudy, London Head of Construction at Pinsent Masons, said :

'A strong interest from both existing and new clients encouraged us to expand the team quickly. We are delighted to announce these new appointments. Their credentials make them an excellent match for the existing strengths in the group as we seek to absorb the increasing workload from clients of our new firm. With a further six fee-earners added to an already significant London presence our ability to provide a full service to our construction sector clients across Europe is now unrivalled.'

ENDS

For media enquiries contact :

Lakhbir Rakar

Tel : 0121 260 4005

Mob : 07748 321943

lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

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Pinsent Masons' London Private Equity Team Advises On Major Deals Double

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London private equity team of law firm Pinsent Masons is celebrating the back-to-back completion of two multi-million pound deals advising the management teams of leading edge companies operating in sectors ranging from wealth to waste management.

Partner Andrew Masraf has led the teams acting for management in the ?200 million buyout of recycling and waste management company Cory Environmental from global supply chain management leader, Exel PLC, and the management of leading asset management company Tilney Holdings Limited, which has ?5 billion of funds under management, in its buyout from US investor group, Refco.

'These are top class businesses led by driven, talented people and it's been exciting to work with them at this important stage in their development,' said Andrew Masraf.

The deals have been backed by specialist private equity houses with Montagu Private Equity investing in the Cory Environmental buyout and Bridgepoint Capital backing Tilney Holdings.

Cory operates from 30 UK locations providing expert services in the collection, recycling and disposal of waste and represents a strategic disposal for Exel PLC, which is now concentrating on its core supply chain management activities. Pinsent Masons was introduced to the Cory management by Pinsent Masons' Projects Partner, Patrick Twist.

Tilney Holdings, led by CEO David Campbell, a former professional footballer who played for Charlton, is the UK's 4th largest independent provider of services to high net worth private clients. Tilney has been a part of US group Refco since 1998. The company has a strong network of regional offices throughout the UK. Pinsent Masons was introduced to the Tilney management team by James Lever of Livingstone Guarantee.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Cory Environmental management comprised Andrew Masraf, Charles Frank, Mark Cawthron and Wyn Lewis. The team advising management of Tilney Holdings Limited comprised Andrew Masraf, Joanne McNeill, Rebecca Power and Wyn Lewis.

The completion of the two deals comes hard on the heels of a separate London private equity team, led by partner Jonathan Reardon, advising management, led by former Channel Five chief executive David Elstein, on the US$242 million acquisition of the Hallmark Channel.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07882 110173

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MIDLANDS CO-OP ADVISED ON ?20 MILLION DAIRY DISPOSAL BY PINSENT MASONS

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate team at UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, has completed its first deal for the Midlands Co-operative Society Limited with the sale of its dairy business to Dairy Crest Limited for ?20 million.

Midlands Co-op Dairies, the largest regional dairy operator in the UK, processes about 200 million litres of milk a year at its Birmingham dairy and distributes fresh milk via 16 distribution centres to customers throughout the Midlands.

As a result of the acquisition by Dairy Crest the Society's Birmingham dairy processing plant is expected to close and transfer its milk processing to Dairy Crest's own dairies. Three of the Society's depots at Oxford, Farringdon and Thame, which overlap with those of Dairy Crest, are also likely to close.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Midlands Co-operative Society has been led by Corporate Partner, Linda Crow, assisted by Karen Beatty and Rob Sloan (Corporate); Sarah Murray (Commercial), Pippa Kempson and Carl Scott (Property).

Dairy Crest has been advised by Eversheds (London).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 mob: 07884 110173.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON NEC AND CLARION EVENTS JOINT VENTURE

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A legal team from Pinsent Masons has advised one of Europe's premier exhibition venues, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), on a business venture designed particularly to take advantage of opportunities in the consumer show sector.

The NEC Group has entered into a joint venture with Clarion Events Limited (CEL) to create Clarion Events NEC Limited (CENL), a company created to maximise opportunities to stage and acquire new shows.

As part of the deal, NEC has sold its owned events business to the joint venture company including a portfolio of nine shows, among them Antiques for Everyone and The Classic Motor Show.

CEL, the former in-house organiser of Earls Court and Olympia Group, which was subject to an MBO last year, is seen as the creative powerhouse capable of leveraging the formidable NEC brand.

The Pinsent Masons team advising the NEC Group comprised corporate partners, Paul Finlan and Linda Crow.

Clarion Events Limited has been advised by Fox Williams.

The deal comes as Birmingham City Council is raising finance for the NEC, the busiest exhibition centre in Europe, staging more than 180 exhibitions each year, to enable it to move into a phase of major redevelopment. In 30 years the business has grown from a pioneering undertaking to a business which now caters for up to four million visitors a year. With 21 halls totalling 200,000 square metres (two million square feet) it is also the biggest exhibition centre in Britain and seventh largest in Europe.

Pinsent Masons' Head of Banking & Finance, Stephen Miles, has advised NEC Finance plc on the ?200 million plus bond issue by Birmingham City Council the proceeds of which will help to fund the planned work.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES IP2IPO GROUP ON LAUNCH OF LIFEUK AND FURTHER FUNDRAISING

May 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK law firm, Pinsent Masons is acting for IP2IPO Group plc on a placing to fund the launch a new life science intellectual property business designed to help researchers unlock the capital potential of their work.

The proceeds from the placing of 2,157,837 ordinary shares of 10p each at ?6.37 per share, which is expected to raise approximately ?13.75m before expenses, will be used to launch a new business within IP2IPO - LifeUK.

LifeUK will in-license life science intellectual property created by medical researchers at universities with which IP2IPO already has partnerships, other universities in the UK and similar academic and charitable research institutions. LifeUK aims to develop further the intellectual property which it in-licenses with a view to creating substantial value either by subsequently licensing these development programmes to the pharmaceutical industry or by creating new ventures.

The Placing Shares have been placed by Lehman Brothers International (Europe), as sole bookrunner, and KBC Peel Hunt Ltd, as joint lead manager, and have been placed conditional on admission to trading on AIM. Dealings are expected to commence on 16 May 2005.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by London Corporate Partner Russell Booker.

David Norwood, Chief Executive Officer commented, 'The launch of LifeUK represents a significant strategic move for IP2IPO and considerably strengthens and diversifies our business. In the academic arena, UK academics produce ground-breaking medical research, while within industry, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly looking for new sources of drug candidates to augment their pipelines. LifeUK has been created to provide a channel from the lab bench to industry which builds on the success that IP2IPO has already experienced creating spin out companies under its long term university partnerships.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile: 07884 110173.

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.

IP2IPO is an intellectual property (IP) company that specialises in commercialising university technology. The company was founded in 2001 and listed on AIM in October 2003. It has forged a number of long-term commercial partnerships with universities in the UK.

To date, four spin-out companies from the IP2IPO portfolio have listed on the AIM: Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping plc, Synairgen plc, VASTox plc and Proximagen Neuroscience plc. For further information visit - www.ip2ipo.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS HELPS PUT RBS IN THE MEDIA

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The London Banking Team at Pinsent Masons has advised The Royal Bank of Scotland in its backing with 3i of a buy-in/buy-out ('BIMBO') team in the ?17.7 million acquisition of Knight-Banner Information Limited. Knight-Banner Information Limited, which is being renamed Knight-Banner Business Information Limited ('KBBI'), is one of the leading media monitoring agencies with a market share of 25%.

Pinsent Masons advised The Royal Bank of Scotland's Corporate and Structured Finance team in relation to its provision of ?9,325,000 of Senior Debt facilities (including ?1,500,000 of factoring facilities provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland Commercial Services Limited) to the buy-in vehicle and various companies in the KBBI group. KBBI operates under the brand names of Precise, EDS, EPCA, Clipability and Media Report and provides high speed press cuttings, editorial and evaluation services to its clients from approximately 5,000 media titles, web sites and news wires.

This was the second deal completed by Pinsent Masons' Banking Team in London for the Corporate and Structured Finance team at RBS in a little over two months. The Pinsent Masons' team advising RBS was led by Head of Banking in London, Martin Bishop, assisted by Tony Anderson, Frances Mallender and Hannah Bleakley (Banking), Jonathon Reardon and William Bankes (Corporate) and Ian Clark and Shane Foley (Property).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES MANAGEMENT ON ACQUISITION OF CROWN MEDIA

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons led by London private equity partner, Jonathan Reardon, has advised a management team led by David Elstein, the former chief executive of Channel Five, on the US$242 million acquisition of the international business of the Hallmark Channel.

The acquisition includes the international versions of the Hallmark Channel distributed outside the USA to approximately 60 million subscribers in 152 countries, the non-US rights to over 500 titles in the Crown Media library and the broadcast facility based in Denver, Colorado, which will continue to distribute the channels throughout the world.

The deal was backed by 3i and Providence Equity Partners (advised by Ashurst and Debevoise & Plimpton respectively) with debt finance provided by ABN Amro Bank, Barclays Bank and Societe Generale.

Commenting on the deal, Jonathan Reardon said:

'We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working with such a high calibre team of managers on this complex transaction, which adds to our already significant track record of advising management on large private equity buy-outs. We congratulate David Elstein's team and wish them every success in growing the business over the coming years.'

The deal was introduced to Pinsent Masons by its by tax and share schemes specialist, David Pett. The Pinsent Masons team led by Jonathan Reardon comprised Gareth Rees and Olivia Phalippou on corporate, Mark Cawthron on tax and Wyn Lewis on employment.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mob: 07884 110173

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES COPPER RESOURCES CORPORATION ON AIM ADMISSION

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons' position as a market leader in advising companies coming to AIM has been further consolidated with the admission of Copper Resources Corporation. It is the 4th AIM flotation in three months where Pinsent Masons has acted for the company.

Copper Resources is the ultimate holding company of a group of companies with the operating rights to the Hinoba-an Porphyry Copper Project in the Republic of the Philippines. The shares in Copper Resources were admitted to AIM on 21 April. Copper Resources raised ?4 million (before expenses) in a placing of shares to institutional shareholders, giving it an initial market capitalisation of approximately ?27.8 million.

Pinsent Masons' lead corporate partner on the float, Russell Booker said: 'Once again, the combination of our hallmark 'right first time' approach and process management skills have proved invaluable. The team was able to call on its experience and knowledge of the AIM process to make sure that everything was dealt with smoothly and efficiently. It has been a pleasure to help bring Copper Resources to the market'.

Christopher Jordinson, the CEO of Copper Resources, commenting on the flotation, said: 'The Pinsent Masons team added real value to the Copper Resources Corporation AIM process. Pinsent Masons were effective and pragmatic throughout and helped CRC complete the AIM admission process on time and without any fuss. CRC are now eager to advance the Hinoba-an Project to the next stage of Bankable Feasibility Study and prove up its potential to become a long-term copper feedstock source for the Philippines and the world copper market.?

In addition to Russell Booker, the Pinsent Masons team advising Copper Resources included senior corporate associates Nicola Marrin and Dominic Travers.

Nabarro Wells & Co. Limited, the Nominated Adviser, and ODL Securities Limited, the Broker, were advised by Faegre & Benson LLP.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile: 07884 110173.

Note to Editors:

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 14 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth and Sarantel Group on their respective AIM admissions.

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Read more…

HOMESERVE PLC ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON CHEM DRY ACQUISITION

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A corporate team from UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, has acted for home emergency company, Homeserve plc, on its ?18.9 million acquisition of Chem Dry, the UK's leading franchise fire and flood disaster restoration business.

The acquisition will allow Homeserve to broaden its services to insurers and place it in a strong position to offer a complete solution to insurers commencing with home emergency repairs at Home Hotline through to permanent repairs by the recently acquired Sergon network.

Chem Dry currently has over 230 franchisees covering the UK with over 640 licences and has commercial arrangements with seven leading household insurers. The business, headquartered in East Yorkshire, employs 210 people. As part of the deal, Homeserve has also acquired Chem Dry's related carpet and upholstery cleaning businesses.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Homeserve comprised corporate partners Alan Wood and Paul Finlan, assisted by Nicole Kirkham, with specialist assistance from Carl Scott and Pippa Kempson (property); Max Creighton (tax); Paul McClenaghan (IP) and Gavin Paul (pensions). John Pratt of Hamilton Pratt advised on the franchising aspects of the deal.

The individual sellers were advised by Gosschalks in Hull and 3i plc, an exiting investor, was advised by Addleshaw Goddard.

Devere International Inc, the worldwide Chem Dry franchisor, was advised by DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BROKER ON UTEK CORPORATION AIM ADMISSION

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The top performing AIM team at law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Shore Capital and Corporate Limited on the admission to AIM of UTEK Corporation, a US-headquartered AMEX-listed technology transfer company.

Trading commenced in UTEK shares on AIM this week. The company has a market capitalisation of ?44.82 million. UTEK, which has operations in the US, UK and Israel, forms strategic alliances with client companies and finds suitable technologies which can be licensed to universities and research laboratories. It has completed more than 40 technology transfer deals to date.

This is the fourth AIM float upon which Pinsent Masons has advised this year. The firm was ranked in the UK top 10 of advisers on AIM admissions in 2004 by volume by deal monitor, and ranked second most popular choice of adviser to the company.

The team advising Shore Capital and Corporate Limited has been led by London corporate partner, Jon Harris, assisted by Sean Page.

UTEK Corporation has been advised by S J Berwin led by Delphine Currie.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173.

Notes to Editors

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 10 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further four admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy, Neutrahealth and Sarantel Group on their respective AIM admissions.

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS COMPLETES MAJOR INSURANCE DISTRIBUTION DEAL FOR AVIVA PLC

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has advised Aviva plc on a series of contracts whereby Aviva group companies, including Norwich Union Insurance, the UK's largest general insurer, have become the primary providers of household, motor and travel insurance products to Barclays' 14 million strong UK retail customer base.

The products are to be distributed through Barclays' network of 2,000 branches, via the telephone and through on-line banking, which alone has more than five million users. The new arrangements also involve the outsourcing of Barclays' existing insurance sales and services centre in Croydon to Norwich Union.

The transaction was led by the Pinsent Masons' London insurance team, with partner and Insurance Sector head, Martin Membery, leading the insurance distribution aspects of the deal with support from Alexis Roberts. Corporate insurance partner, Matthew Griffith, led the corporate aspects of the transaction, assisted by Robert Moir. Support from other practice areas was provided by Bob Mecrate-Butcher (employment); John Christian (tax); Louise Fullwood (IT); Raj Sharma (pensions); John Trevethan (property) and Giles Warrington (competition).

Lovells (Tim Goggin and Victor Fornasier) acted for Barclays.

Commenting on the deal, Martin Membery said: 'We are delighted to have been involved in this market-leading transaction for Aviva, which adds to our already significant track record of acting for leading insurers on joint ventures with their corporate partners.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 3232 or mobile: 07884 110173

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons' Insurance & Reinsurance Group is rated as a leading non-contentious insurance practice.

Partner and Insurance Sector head, Martin Membery, is rated in Chambers 2005 as a leading individual in non-contentious insurance. Partner, Matthew Griffith, is an experienced corporate insurance specialist and joined Pinsent Masons from Ashurst in November 2004.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS' LONDON BANKING TEAM COMPLETES SECOND MAJOR RESTAURANT DEAL

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Banking law specialists at Pinsent Masons in London are dining out after the successful completion of the second high profile restaurant chain financing in recent months with the bid to take private Paramount PLC by Craftbutton Limited.

The team took the lead on advising HSBC Bank plc on the provision of term and overdraft facilities to Craftbutton to fund its ?28.9 million bid for the quoted group which includes the Chez Gerard restaurant chain, Bertorelli's, Livebait and Caf? Fish.

The deal comes on the back of the Pinsent Masons' team acting for The Royal Bank of Scotland plc on its provision of senior debt facilities for the management buyout of the restaurant operator, The Gaucho Grill from the Lewis family for ?23.5 million. Gaucho Grill has seven restaurants in the UK, as well as one in Amsterdam and a franchise business in the Middle East.

The latest deal reinforces Pinsent Masons experience in two of its Chosen Market sectors ? Financial Services & Insurance and Services.

The Pinsent Masons' team advising HSBC was led by banking partner Judith O'Shea, assisted by Kate Myles (banking), Tom Leman (private equity), Jeremy Phillips, Darius Lewington, Sean Page and Dominic Travers (corporate), Gemma Walker (property), Helen Farr (employment) and Elizabeth Cook (intellectual property).

Craftbutton Limited was advised by Lawrence Graham. Their financial adviser and broker was Dawnay Day.

Bircham Dyson Bell acted for Paramount PLC, whose financial adviser and broker was Evolution Beeson Gregory.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173.

Read more…

CODEMASTERS SECURES INVESTMENT FROM BENCHMARK CAPITAL EUROPE

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Codemasters, the leading developer and publisher of critically acclaimed computer and video games, has secured a significant investment from Benchmark Capital Europe, the top-tier venture capital firm.

The largest privately owned video games publisher in Europe, Codemasters has a successful track record with more than 60 No. 1 hits and a distribution network covering over 70 countries worldwide. Its major video game brands include Colin McRae Rally?, Brian Lara Cricket?, TOCA/DTM/V8 Race Driver? and LMA Manager?.

The investment by Benchmark will be used to accelerate Codemasters? programme of new game development, target new distribution formats, strengthen the company?s sales and marketing activities and for acquiring third party licenses and game titles. Additionally, Codemasters will continue its expansion into new territories for its international publishing operations.

Codemasters were advised by technology sector specialists at Pinsent Masons. Andrew Hornigold, who led the Pinsent Masons team assisted by Jonathan Snade, commented: ?We aim to provide superior service to our clients through having a better understanding of a particular industry and the issues facing businesses within it. Our technology sector practice comprises 17 partners and 52 additional fee earners representing a variety of software, hardware, services, telecoms, ecommerce and new media businesses.

?For Codemasters, we were able to bring a strong track record of experience in the computer games market, having advised a number of key players in the industry on all aspects of corporate finance and commercial contract law. For example, we advised Rare Limited on the $375m sale to Microsoft, which was Microsoft?s largest ever UK acquisition, and Mobius on the sale of its business to Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc as well as having a dedicated team of specialists working on development, licencing and distribution contracts for games sector clients.?

Benchmark Capital, which has taken a 40% share in Codemasters, aims to help talented entrepreneurs to build great technology companies focused on long-term growth. Its portfolio includes companies such as Betfair, eBay and Juniper Networks.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The range of work for the computer games market includes:

? Rare Limited in its $375m sale to Microsoft

? Advising the shareholders of Mobius on the sale of the business to Take-Two Interactive Software Inc

? Advising Global Games Limited in the MBO/MBI of the company

? Advising the Braveheart business angel syndicate in its investment in 4Cyte Limited

? Advising AOL in drafting a range of contracts including network agreements and content agreements

? Advising Steel Monkeys on games development and publishing contracts.

Codemasters employs 400 people and is headquartered in Warwickshire, UK. The company also maintains European operations in Germany, France, Spain and Benelux and has its US headquarters in New York.

Read more…

THE RESTAURANT GROUP AND LIVING VENTURES IN DUAL TRANSACTIONS

April 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The Restaurant Group to acquire a 40% shareholding in Living Ventures for ?7.7 million

Living Ventures to purchase Est Est Est business for ?16.4 million

The Restaurant Group plc, owner of Frankie & Benny?s, Garfunkel?s, Caffe Uno and other outlets, and Living Ventures Limited, owner of a string of restaurants and bars across the country, have today announced a complex dual transaction to put the two companies on a strong footing for the future.

The Restaurant Group (?TRG?) will acquire a 40% shareholding in Living Ventures Limited (?Living Ventures?) for ?7.7 million in cash and preference shares in Living Ventures for ?2.2 million. The deal also represents an exit for 30% stake holder Bowmark Capital Limited.

Simultaneously, Living Ventures will purchase Est Est Est Restaurants Limited from TRG for a consideration of ?16.4 million.

Living Ventures was advised by a team from Pinsent Masons led by corporate partner, Joanne Ellis, assisted by Lee Clifford.

Living Ventures, which was set up in 1999 by Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, currently operates 15 units, 11 trading as The Living Room in major cities across the UK, two as Prohibition in Leeds and Manchester and two as Bar & Grill ? its latest restaurant concept ? in London and Liverpool. The company?s expansion plans include four more Living Room restaurant/bars to be opened shortly.

Joanne Ellis commented: ?Pinsent Masons has worked with Tim and Jeremy for over 10 years now. It is very rewarding to be involved with a business which continues to go from strength to strength'

Living Ventures were also advised by Grant Thornton, Deloitte, Bond Pearce and McClure Naismith.

HBOS, debt providers to Living Ventures, were advised by Eversheds

LSE-listed The Restaurant Group plc is one of the largest independent restaurant groups in the country with around 250 restaurants and bars nationwide. Its portfolio currently comprises Caff? Uno, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny?s and Garfunkel?s as well as Concessions currently operating in 5 airports across the UK.

The Restaurant Group were advised by Maclay Murray Spens and BDO Stoy Hayward

Bowmark were advised SJ Berwin.

Tim Bacon, Chief Executive of Living Ventures said:

?The addition of Est Est Est is a transformational deal for Living Ventures providing great opportunity for the Company to expand its product range and become even more food led. We believe that we can redefine Est Est Est as an aspirational, high quality brand. We will be focussed on delivering performance and on expanding an already successful business.?

Andrew Page, Group Managing Director of The Restaurant Group plc, said:

?This is a great fit for both companies. Living Room is one of the most successful new restaurant and bar concepts of recent years. It has a unique atmosphere created by the mix of its customers, design and ambience. We believe that its customer base is complementary to that of Est Est Est.?

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

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Pinsent Masons Named as Legal Adviser for New Health Partnership

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Quality of service and attention to client needs were named as key features in winning a major client for law firm Pinsent Masons. The firm beat off stiff competition to be named as sole legal adviser to The Liverpool & Sefton Health Partnership (?the L&SHP?), a Local Improvement Finance Trust (?LIFT?) company.

Peter Gillespie, the Chief Executive of L&SHP, commented on Pinsent Masons' approach to its clients:

'The value of tenders received for legal services was not very different but the service and attention we received during and following the bidding process from Pinsent Masons set them apart from the competition.'

The L&SHP is a complex procurement vehicle that committed to assist and better enable the Liverpool & Sefton Health Community to provide outstanding health and social care in Liverpool & Sefton. This will be achieved through innovative joint working and integrated partnership with a range of public and private sector organisations.

The type of legal services required by the L&SHP include construction and engineering, property, corporate, employment, intellectual property and data protection. Pinsent Masons' team combine expertise in these areas with a unique strength in LIFT experience: they have acted on over 25% of the current LIFT schemes.

Pinsent Masons has developed a LIFT product specifically tailored to LIFT companies' needs. Michael O'Shea, who heads the Pinsent Masons' team, said:

'We believe that our knowledge of the structures and practical issues which will arise for LIFT companies is unrivalled and was a key factor in winning the work. This, combined with our sector focus, will enable us to deliver a unique product to LIFT companies which will provide them with added value at minimum cost.'

The Pinsent Masons' team comprises Michael O'Shea, Georgina Reynard, Barry Francis, Rowena Jones, Steven Chalcraft, Rosemary Jay, Simon Masters and Sara Sawicki.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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 and all the major cities across the UK.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

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COPPER RESOURCES CORPORATION ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?4+ MILLION PLACING

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

AIM-quoted Copper Resources Corporation (CRC) is being advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on a placing which is expected to raise ?4.4 million to fund the planned restart of work at the Kinsenda copper mine in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CRC now holds a 75% stake in the company operating Kinsenda where mining was halted because of problems with flooding. Following a feasibility study, CRC believes with its dedicated engineering experience the ore-rich mine could be reopened within 18 months.

The company is placing 8,000,000 units with investors at a price of 55 pence per unit, with each unit comprising one common share plus one-half of one warrant exercisable over a two-year period at a strike price of 75 pence. Two half-warrants convert into one common share. The common shares are to be admitted to AIM on or about 4 April.

CRC is being advised by Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner and AIM specialist, Russell Booker.

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.

Pinsent Masons is independently-ranked as one of the UK's top AIM advisers acting for some 50 AIM companies and has advised on well over 40 flotations.

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PINSENT MASONS ADVISES MAYBORN ON ACQUISITION OF TUBE PLASTICS

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A team of lawyers from Pinsent Masons led by Roger Fink, London corporate partner, has advised Mayborn Group PLC, the AIM-traded babycare and household products group, on the acquisition of Tube Plastics Limited for a price of up to ?10.55 million. Tube Plastics, which trades under the ?TP? brand, is the UK market leader in high quality children?s outdoor play equipment.

The acquisition completed just before Mayborn?s preliminary announcement of results on 15 March 2005 which reported pre-tax profits of ?8.7 million, exceeding market expectations, and saw Mayborn?s shares rise to an all time high.

Negotiations for the acquisition were led by Mayborn?s Managing Director, Michael Samuel and Finance Director, Ian Hartley. Financial due diligence was carried out by Solomon Hare and market due diligence by AMR.

Guy Green led the Eversheds team which advised Tube Plastics? selling shareholders.

Commenting on the deal, Roger Fink said: ?We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working closely with Mayborn and its other advisers on this acquisition. Mayborn is a highly valued client of Pinsent Masons and we wish Mayborn and Tube Plastics continuing successes.?

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications, Pinsent Masons, on:

T: 0845 300 32 32 or M: 07884 110173

Read more…

Mannheimer Swartling voted Sweden Law Firm

March 2005. Press Releases by Mannheimer Swartling (view listing).

International Law Review (IFLR) has voted Mannheimer Swartling Sweden Law Firm of the Year for 2004.

Each year IFLR organises the IFLR Awards, at which prizes are awarded to the best law firms in Europe. The honours go to the firms giving the best legal advice in the transaction sector and carrying out the most innovative legal transaction in each country during the year.

'We at Mannheimer Swartling are delighted to have received this award and are pleased that our lawyers have gained recognition in this way for their outstanding work and depth of experience. The award also reflects our strong international standing,' says Jan Kansmark, Executive Partner at Mannheimer Swartling.

IFLR's choice of Mannheimer Swartling for the award was based on deals including the OMX - Copenhagen Stock Exchange merger and Nordea's sale of property in Finland, Norway and Sweden. IFLR was also impressed with Mannheimer Swartling's all-round excellence in property finance and the quality advice it has given to financial institutions.

The IFLR Awards

The IFLR Awards are based on numerous interviews with lawyers, in-house counsel and other purchasers of legal services in Europe. Respondents are asked which firms are the key players in the various markets and which deals have been the most successful during the year. The ultimate recipients of the awards are decided by IFLR.

More information

Jan Kansmark, Executive Partner, Mannheimer Swartling, tel: +46 709 777 809

or jka@msa.se.

You can also visit our website at www.mannheimerswartling.se.

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TOP FIVE GLOBAL AGROCHEMICAL COMPANY, UNITED PHOSPHORUS LIMITED, ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?100 M

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

India's largest agrochemical company, United Phosphorus Limited (UPL), has been advised by lawyers from Pinsent Masons London Corporate Group on the ?100 million acquisition by one of its subsidiaries of the Dutch seeds technology company, Advanta Netherlands Holdings NV.

UPL acquired Advanta in an all cash transaction from the US-based private equity firm, Fox Paine & Company, LLC. Advanta is a leading supplier of seeds and seed technologies to major markets globally including Australia, India, Thailand and Argentina, providing added value to farmers, downstream industries and consumers by combining superior genetics with essential technologies and techniques.

UPL Executive Director, Mr Jai Shroff, said: 'The acquisition of Advanta allows UPL to jump start our entry in the high end of the seeds business where the future of agriculture growth lies. This transaction not only makes us the largest player in some segments but also gives us a leadership position in many important products.'

UPL is financing the transaction with funds raised through its recent foreign currency convertible bond (FCCB) issue and from bank borrowings. YES Bank provided financial and strategic advice to UPL on the transaction.

This is the second corporate acquisition upon which Pinsent Masons has advised UPL and underscores the strength and attraction of the firm's combined UK and Asian corporate capabilities to global companies based in the Far East.

The Pinsent Masons team advising UPL has been led by Corporate Finance Partner, Jeremy Phillips and IP Partner, Martyn Hann, assisted by Louise Haworth (competition).

The vendors were advised by Freshfields Corporate Partner, Frank Miller.

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. The Company?s revenue?s for the last 12 months ending Dec 2005 were in excess of USD 375 mm.(Rs. 1661 Crores)

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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PINSENT MASONS HELPS SARANTEL HOME IN ON AIM MARKET

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

A leading edge technology company, Sarantel Group PLC, has been advised by UK law firm, Pinsent Masons, on its admission to AIM.

The Northamptonshire based company, which has developed a revolutionary miniature antenna for mobile phones and other wireless devices, has a market capitalisation of circa ?43 million following its admission. Trading in its shares commenced today (Wednesday). The float has been brokered by Arbuthnot Securities Limited and marks the third AIM admission that Pinsent Masons has advised on within a month.

Pinsent Masons has advised the Sarantel Group for over five years, acting originally for management in 2000 when they bought out the UK dielectric antenna division of US corporation, Symmetricom Inc.

The firm later advised Sarantel Limited as it raised funds for development through investment led by two of the UK's leading hi-tech venture capital investors, MTI Partners and VCF Partners, and supported by eTechnology VCT.

The company's innovations include miniature antenna technology applications used in global positioning devices. The company has ambitions to extend the use of technology in this field into mainstream mobile devices.

Pinsent Masons lead corporate partner on the float, Linda Crow, commented: 'It is heartening to see a revival in the quoted technology sector and to see the growth of a company whose quality product development has enabled them to carve out a niche place in a highly competitive market.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Sarantel, comprised Linda Crow, Rob Sloan and Nicole Kirkham (corporate), with specialist advice from Cerys Wyn Davies (IT/IP) and William Franklyn.

Arbuthnot Securities were advised by Ashurst.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Notes to Editors

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 10 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further three admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies. So far in 2005, the firm has advised Voller Energy and Neutrahealth on their respective AIM admissions.

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Clare McConnell Gives Further Boost to Pinsent Masons Projects Team

March 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Highly experienced projects lawyer, Clare McConnell, is to join the leading projects firm Pinsent Masons as a partner.

Clare, who joins from Berwin Leighton Paisner, has advised on a wide range of PFI projects in the health, education and rail sectors and has been actively involved in policy development.

Barry Francis, Head of the Projects Group in London at Pinsent Masons, said: ?We are delighted to welcome Clare to the team. She has a wealth of expertise, particularly in the area of health, and is joining one of the largest projects team in the UK (now boasting 70 lawyers). The firm has closed more PFI projects than any other firm in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables, with 130+ projects.

?Clare?s health experience includes closing pathfinder health deals, and helping to develop the Retention of Employment model for Soft Services which she undertook whilst on secondment to the Department of Health?s Private Finance Unit in 2001.

?In addition, her background in advising the rail sector will bring a further boost to the strong Pinsent Masons rail practice which is already undertaking major work in South Africa and other overseas projects.'

Clare commented: ?I am looking forward to working alongside leading names in the projects arena. Pinsent Masons has a nationally and internationally acknowledged reputation for being at the forefront of developments in public/private partnerships and major infrastructure projects.?

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 0845 300 3232

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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 also has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Pinsent Masons was formed with the merger of Pinsents and Masons in December 2004. Projects is one of the teams which benefited most from the merger. Each firm had a strong reputation in the marketplace - together the two merged firms stand as number one nationally in terms of the number of PFI deals completed. Pinsent Masons is one of the top two firms in a number of sectors of PFI including waste, street lighting, housing and health and is active in all others.

Pinsent Masons' Projects Team core areas:

Pinsent Masons' projects and project finance practice has had a noteworthy year across a range of infrastructure sectors including health, roads, street lighting, waste, defence, education, airports and accommodation. The team has maintained a balanced practice in both the public and private sectors which has given us a clear understanding of issues that affect both public and private sector involvement in capital projects.

We remain at the forefront of exporting the UK's PFI model to the international community pioneering PPP programmes in South Africa, Cyprus, India and the Caribbean and securing new appointments to advise on projects in regions including Australasia and Eastern Europe.

The combined size, strength and expertise of the projects team makes it the largest in the country and the leading projects firm according to Public Private Finance league tables.

Health

We have maintained our market position as the leading advisor on health PFI Projects. On the 4th/5th Wave NHS Schemes the firm is advising on 5 Projects including the 2 largest at Birmingham and Leicester. Our health practice continues to broaden from main stream acute PFI projects to other areas affecting the NHS including acting for the NHS on the National Decontamination Programme and our involvement on LIFT Projects. In relation to LIFT we have acted for private sector consortia and funders and have advised on 25% of the current wave of NHS LIFT schemes.

Roads

The Roads Sector has continued to be key and a growth area in our PFI / PPP practice. We advised both the public and private sectors on more than 10 PPP / PFI road projects in the past year including some of the first road projects in EU accession countries which will form the model for future projects in these regions.

Street Lighting

In addition to Roads projects with associated street lighting requirements brought together the leading public and private sector practice in the general 'stand alone' street lighting sector ? the firm has advised on over 70% of street lighting projects for public and private sectors.

Waste

We continue to strengthen our dominant position as the pre-eminent law firm in the waste sector. We act for the public sector and major private sector players in this market (namely Onyx, Viridor, Cory and Cleanaway). As the waste market expands we have already secured appointments for the private sector in most of the known projects going forward. In addition, we have been involved in the development of waste policy having contributed to and drafted the legal section of the Waste Procurement Pack for DEFRA.

Airports

In 2004, we added to our extensive track record in providing legal advice on airport projects in the globally. In 2004 we advised on the financial close of Gatwick Airport Fuel Infrastructure Refinancing and Manchester Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancings. We were appointed to act for a consortium developing the Mukalla International Airport in Yemen and continue to advise on the Larnaka and Pafos Airports in Cyprus and the New Hyderabad International Airport in India.

Defence

We continue to strengthen our relationship with the Ministry of Defence advising DSTL on its procurement of construction and FM related services as part of Project Inspire. We are proud to be advising on the largest PFI project undertaken in the UK to date which has a capital value of ?3.5 billion where we are acting for the Mowlem and KBR joint venture involving construction and maintenance of garrisons at Salisbury Plain and Aldershot.

Rail

We advised the Strategic Rail Authority on the extension of two rail franchises. We are advising the Irish Rail Procurement Agency on the Dublin Metro, the Government of the Republic of Gauteng Province on the on Gautrain Project, a high speed rail link between Johannesburg and Pretoria which is the largest transportation infrastructure project in Africa, and the preferred bidder on the Docklands Light Railway Lewisham extension. We were recently appointed to act for the Mumbai Light Rail Project in India.

Education

Our involvement in the Schools PPP market continues with us acting for both the public and private sectors. Notably in relation to the public sector we are acting for Sheffield City Council, Birmingham City Council and Kent County Council on their schools projects. On the private sector side, we are acting for the preferred bidder on the largest schools PFI project in the UK to date at South Larnarkshire. In 2004 we closed Barking and Dagenham Schools for NIB Capital and Dexia and are currently supporting HBG on their bid for Slough Grouped Schools Project. We have been appointed to the Partnerships for Schools panel for Building Schools for the Future work.

Accommodation

We have expanded our capabilities in the custodial sector with the financial close in 2004 of the Avon & Somerset Courts and Cheshire Police accommodation projects and our appointment to Norfolk County Council for their Three Counties Custodial PFI Project.

Project Finance

We continue to advise banks and other financial institutions which are funding project finance structures in PPP/PFI projects. Internationally, we brought the Jordanian Gas Transmission Project to financial close. In 2004 we were appointed to act for the arrangers for a processing plant in the Caribbean for whom we are also working with on a number of other project opportunities across the world. Closer to home, we have been advising on the financing of PFI/PPP throughout Europe.

ends

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BROKERS KBC PEEL HUNT ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON BACK-TO-BACK PLACINGS

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate lawyers at UK firm, Pinsent Masons, have advised brokers KBC Peel Hunt on back-to-back placings to fund acquisitions by companies in the investment banking and consumer electronics sectors.

KBC Peel Hunt has acted for Armour Group plc, the UK's leading consumer electronics group focused on home entertainment and in-car communication, on a ?6 million placing with existing and institutional investors to fund the acquisition of Alphason Designs Limited, a specialist designer and supplier of audio visual furniture to consumer electronics markets.

And, hard on the heels of this successful placing, KBC Peel Hunt, advised by Pinsent Masons, has raised ?12 million with a placing of new ordinary shares for AIM-quoted specialist investment bank and stockbroker, Corporate Synergy Group (CSG) plc.

The proceeds of the placing will be used to back the ?13.4 million recommended takeover by CSG of Rowan Dartington, a Bristol-based independent firm of stockbrokers focused on the smaller companies market. The takeover is conditional upon shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 13 March.

Pinsent Masons Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Wood, who with Corporate Associate Michael Lakin, advised KBC Peel Hunt on both placings, said: 'This is the first time a Pinsent Masons team outside London has acted for KBC and we are delighted to have been instructed on two jobs in quick succession. We hope to see the relationship develop further.'

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:

Other advisers:

Armour Group plc was advised by Arnold & Porter LLP on the placing and acquisition

Corporate Synergy Group plc was advised by Stringer Saul LLP on the placing and acquisition.

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.

KBC Peel Hunt

KBC Peel Hunt Ltd is an integrated securities house focused on the small and mid-cap sector and a subsidiary of the Belgian bank, KBC Bank N.V. It is a leading market maker of small and mid-cap UK securities and advises over 100 companies from those looking for venture capital to companies quoted in the FTSE 250 index.

Read more…

HEALTHY RECORD ON AIM FLOATS CONTINUES FOR PINSENT MASONS

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Corporate lawyers at UK firm, Pinsent Masons, have continued their successful run of advising on AIM flotations with the launch today of specialist investment company, Neutrahealth PLC on to the alternative market.

Neutrahealth is a company created to acquire growing businesses in the vibrant nutraceutical industry, which has been boosted by the increasing demand among the public for vitamin and mineral supplements, organic foods and alternative remedies.

The company raised ?1,500,000 from a placing of 15,000,000 ordinary shares at 10p per share. Its intention is to identify and acquire burgeoning businesses in a promising but fragmented sector to supply products to pharmacies, supermarkets, drugstores, health food shops and mail order outlets. The broker and nominated adviser on the placing and AIM admission was KBC Peel Hunt.

The flotation, led by a London Corporate team for Pinsent Masons, follows hard on the heels of the float of Voller Energy, which saw lawyers in the firm's Leeds office advising the company. Both flotations continue an upward trend in AIM activity for Pinsent Masons, which has seen the firm advise on 13 floats in under 12 months, including in December the landmark 1,000th Aim flotation.

The Pinsent Masons team advising Neutrahealth PLC was led by Justine Howard and assisted by Hannah Brader and Lisa Patmore

Solicitors to the placing were Martin Thomas and Clare Metcalf of Hunton & Williams.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, Head of Communications, Pinsent Masons

on: 0845 300 32 32 or mobile 07884 110173

Notes to Editors

In December Pinsent Masons crowned its first week as a newly merged firm by advising on two significant AIM admissions, including the prized 1,000th admission. Educational programmes and solutions provider, AEC Education plc (AEC), became the landmark 1000th AIM company. The firm also advised oil exploration company Equator Exploration Limited (EEL) on its ?113.4 million admission to AIM. The company ranks in the top 50 of AIM companies by value. The deal is the fifth largest IPO fundraising on AIM this year, with a ?60 million IPO and circa ?30 million pre-IPO placings.

In the past year, Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 10 AIM flotations and for the broker on a further three admissions. The firm advises some 40 AIM companies

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

UK Greetings advised on acquisition of Collage Designs Ltd

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

UK Greetings Ltd (UKG), the UK arm of American Greetings, has been advised by law firm Pinsent Masons on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of gift packaging specialists Collage Designs Ltd (Collage), plus its Italian subsidiary manufacturing company Collage Italia Spa.

Suffolk based Collage was formed by Giuliano and Celia Scamponi and other existing members of its Board in 1991 to supply high quality giftwrap and related gift packaging products to the retail trade. The company has gained a reputation as an award-winning pioneer of design-led giftwrap and gift packaging producing the best giftwrap designs in the UK market. In 1999 the company invested in a brand new giftwrap factory in Italy forming Collage Italia Spa.

Collage?s market position complements that of UKG which is the market leader for greeting cards in the UK?s direct to retail sector. Collage will operate as an autonomous business within UKG from its existing premises in Suffolk and will retain its existing management team.

Partner Peter Wood led the Pinsent Masons team assisted by Michelle Kershaw.

The vendors were advised by Smith Law Partnership.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

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Northgate Information Solutions Powers Ahead with Acquisition Programme

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Leading supplier of software applications and outsourcing solutions, Northgate Information Solutions plc, has further strengthened its position as supplier to the UK Local Government market through the acquisition of MVM Holdings Ltd (?MVM?) from Morrison Plc (the support services group of AWG plc) for ?13 million in cash.

Hemel Hempstead-based Northgate is a leading supplier to the public safety, local government and human resources markets, employing more than 2,200 staff.

MVM specialises in the development and sales of software to the Local Government sector offering a portfolio of software applications which includes Spatial Planning, Health & Public Protection, CRM and Electoral Registration Systems. The company supplies approximately 330 Local Government clients. In addition, MVM is a niche supplier of Geographic Information Systems to the utilities sector. The company, which is based in Huntingdon, currently employs approximately190 staff operating from nine offices across the UK.

Andrew Kerr led the Pinsent Masons team advising Northgate assisted by Catherine Hemsworth. The firm has advised Northgate on its ongoing acquisitions programme which has included the purchases of CIM Systems Ltd, PWA Group Ltd (from Microsoft) and Hays Consulting & Solutions Group (from Hays Group) and Prolog Business Solutions.

The acquisition of MVM strengthens Northgate?s position in the Local Government market as well as providing cross-selling opportunities across the complementary portfolios.

Morrison plc were advised by Eversheds led by Lynette Lewis.

The acquisition provides yet more evidence of an upturn in M&A activity in the technology sector. Pinsent Masons has recently advised on the ?20 million management buyout of computer hardward supplier Stone Computers and the ?60 million merger of Synetrix Limited (broadband supplier to the public sector) with Equinox Converged Solutions.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

Voller Energy Group plc advised on AIM admission

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Voller Energy Group plc, a manufacturer of portable fuel cell systems, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on its admission to trading on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

The company raised ?10 million on the placing which was arranged by Arden Partners Limited. Voller's opening market capitalisation was ?17 million.

The funds raised will be used by the Group, amongst other things, to finance the development and marketing of the Group?s existing and new products, satisfy the consideration for the acquisition of a German business and to finance the development of reformer technology as well as to provide working capital.

Hampshire-based Voller Energy was established in 2002 to design, develop, manufacture and market a range of portable fuel cell systems for use as mobile generators and battery re-chargers. The company has received two Smart Awards from the Department of Trade and Industry to develop its technology and has filed four patent applications to protect its technology.

In September 2003, Voller Energy launched the VE100, one of the world?s first hand-held portable fuel cell systems designed for commercial applications and using refillable hydrogen canisters as an energy source. The compact system is a self-contained portable power source that delivers ?mains? voltages.

Andrew Walker, Mike McGrath and Andrew Black led the Pinsent Masons team advising Voller Energy Group assisted by a team of corporate and specialist lawyers including Jo Hewlett and John Clegg.

Andrew Walker commented: ?We were very pleased to advise this exciting growth company on this important step in its development and we look forward to a long association with it. We have recently been involved with a notable number of stock market flotations and advised on the landmark 1000th company to be listed on AIM?.

Arden Partners Limited, nominated adviser and broker to Voller, were advised by Eversheds LLP. Pinsent Masons' German alliance partner, Hoffman Liebs Fritsch & Partner advised Voller on its German acquisition.

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For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

OFT to target healthcare sector

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

The healthcare sector has been identified as one of the top five target areas of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) according to its draft business plan for 2005/06, warns international law firm Pinsent Masons.

According to the draft plan the OFT will focus on the healthcare sector due to its sheer size and importance - healthcare spend alone costing ?81bn in 2002. As a result the OFT recognises the need to watch carefully over the healthcare markets owing to its importance to the economy and its customers.

The OFT has the power to actively investigate any allegations of anti-competitive behaviour within the sector, such as price fixing cartels and market-sharing arrangements between competitors. The OFT may also launch dawn raids on any company suspected of involvement in these arrangements.

Companies who have high market shares in a particular product or service sector may come under the OFT's spotlight if they are suspected to have infringed competition law by abusing their dominant position.

'Many companies in the sector may be unaware that they might be dominant under competition law. The OFT has in the past defined markets narrowly. The OFT could determine dominance by reference to a single product or service. For instance, in 2003, Genzyme Limited was fined ?6.8 million (later reduced on appeal to ?3 million) for an abuse of a dominant position in respect of a drug for the treatment of Gaucher disease (Cerezyme)', says Giles Warrington, partner in the competition team at Pinsent Masons.

'Involvement in a breach of competition law can open a pandora's box of problems. The OFT may fine companies up to 10 per cent of their worldwide turnover. In addition individuals and companies are able to sue for damages they have suffered as a result of a breach of the competition rules. The effects of this can be seen in the high-profile price fixing vitamins case. In 2001, eight companies were fined by the European Commission a total of ?855 million for price fixing and market sharing. Some of these are now being sued in the UK by their customers for damages', warns Giles Warrington.

Any individuals directly involved in the most serious breaches could face the threat of criminal prosecution and directors of companies in breach risk being disqualified for up to 15 years.

The OFT can subject a market to scrutiny under its market studies regime by studying it more thoroughly as it is currently doing with the care homes market for older people. If it finds a market is not working well for consumers one of the options is a reference to the Competition Commission for an in-depth investigation. This can take up to two years, impose a significant information burden on those involved and result in the imposition of orders on market participants such as controls on future behaviour.

Giles Warrington concludes, ?Companies in the healthcare sector may need to take steps now to reduce their exposure to competition law risk. They may need to review existing arrangements and practices, if necessary adapting them, and establish competition law compliance programmes. Companies can also seek ways to reduce liability for past breaches including, in some cases, applying for leniency under the OFT's whistle blowing policy. Given the OFT's focus on the healthcare sector, many companies will need to take a proactive approach to competition law compliance.?

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

1) Pinsent Masons has one of the biggest specialist competition groups comprising four partners and nine lawyers in the UK. It has been involved, and is currently involved, in several high-profile and complex cases. In the last five years the group has handled nine EU and UK dawn raids (with recent joiners to the group acting on a further five) and also acted on nine substantial cartel investigations. The group's considerable experience, expertise, strength in depth and national coverage is exceptional within the UK. This was recognised in the 2004 Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession, which described the group as 'a leading port of call for EU and UK competition law?.

2) Pinsent Masons has a thriving healthcare practice which encompasses all elements of the healthcare market including:

- Public Sector, where we are a leading firm for PFI work generally and the NHS in particular. The firm has advised the NHS since its inception;

- The medical devices manufacturing sector ? we advise some major players in this sector and are committed to developing our understanding of the sector, for example we are members of the Association of British Health Care Industries. Clients include Smith & Nephew and the Medlock Group;

- Medical services ? Pinsent Masons has a particularly strong practice in the care homes sector and has completed a numerous of transactions in this field.

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Ponden Mill advised on multi-million pound retail sale

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Ponden Mill, national vendor of linens and textiles to the retail and public sectors, has been advised by Pinsent Masons on its sale to Marston Mills. To meet the demands of all parties, the complex deal was effectively completed in three weeks from initial contract to final signing.

Ponden Mill was founded by Barry Brookfield, who began his career in 1968 selling linen from his stall in Skipton market in North Yorkshire. The Keighley-based store currently has 132 stores across the UK, employing over 1,000 staff. The ?50m turnover company has become a household name, supplying direct to the public through city centre and out-of-town stores as well as operating contracts to supply hospitals, prisons and schools.

Marston Mill is led by millionaire entrepreneur Trevor Hemmings who currently owns Blackpool Tower, its piers and Winter Gardens as well as many other leisure interests.

Andrew Kerr led the Pinsents team assisted by Catherine Hemsworth and Philip Goldsborough.

Gordons advised the company and shareholders in relation to UK property matters.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sue Murdoch, PR & Communications Manager, Pinsent Masons

Tel: (DL) 0113 225 5460

Mob: 07884 110174

Email: sue.murdoch@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 240 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.

Internationally, Pinsent Masons has offices in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a series of strategic joint ventures and alliances in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS APPOINTED TO ADVISE ON ALLDERS PENSIONS SCHEME

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Pinsent Masons has been appointed by the trustees of the Allders Pensions Scheme to advise them following the placement of Allders into Administration.

Christopher Berkeley, head of the pensions team at Pinsent Masons, commented:

?The trustees are currently in regular discussions with the company?s administrators regarding the future of the company and the funding of the Allders Pension Scheme. We are working alongside the trustees to achieve a solution which is in the best interests of the scheme and its members. ?

Most recently the team at Pinsent Masons has acted for pensioners of the KPMG Staff Pension Fund, the trustees of the Dexion Group Pension & Assurance Scheme and the trustees of the Anglo United Pension Scheme.

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complementary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons. The pensions team at Pinsent Masons comprises 42 pensions lawyers and dedicated independent trustee advisers, making it one of the largest specialist pensions teams throughout the UK. The team?s work is centred around four core strands: trustee services, corporate support, public sector & PFI advice, and its independent trustee practice.

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PINSENT MASONS ACTS ON ?20 MILLION COMPUTER COMPANY MBO

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Lawyers at Pinsent Masons have advised on their second technology sector disposal in a month supporting predictions of a resurgence of M&A activity in the sector.

Shareholders of computer hardware supplier, Stone Computers, including the principal shareholders James Bird, were advised by Pinsent Masons on the ?20 million management buyout of the company.

Just last month, the firm advised Keele-based Synetrix Limited, a leading supplier of broadband services to the public sector, on a ?60 million merger with South East-based Equinox Converged Solutions

Andrew Hornigold, Technology Chosen Market Group Head at Pinsent Masons, commented: 'Pundits have been predicting a return of M&A activity in the technology sector after the deal drought which followed the end of the dot.com boom. Our experience in the past few months demonstrates a return of confidence in the sector and a desire to do deals.'

Stone Computers, a Midlands-based business which assembles and distributes own brand desktop computers and other branded IT hardware, is a leading supplier in the public sector with key customers in local government, schools, further education colleges and universities.

Its buyout has been backed by Baring English Growth Fund (BEGF) with debt and working capital facilities from Barclays Leveraged Finance. The transaction was initiated by Catalyst Corporate Finance.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for the selling shareholders was led by corporate partners, Andrew Hornigold, assisted by Joanne Price and Richard Smith (corporate), Lisa Parisi (tax), Iain Saunders (property) and Jane Griffin (pensions).

The management team was advised by Gateley Waring (Paul Hayward and Chris Reed) and Catalyst Corporate Finance; BEGF was advised DLA Piper (Jim Lavery and Natalie Town) and Barclays were advised by Eversheds (Pat Johnstone and Will Sherwin).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clare Turnbull, National Head of PR & Communications,

Pinsent Masons, on: 0845 300 32 32 or 07884 110173.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS SENIOR LAWYER JOINS IRS POLICY COMMITTEE

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Senior Pinsent Masons corporate lawyer, Robert Moir, has been appointed as the only lawyer to join the prestigious Policy Committee of the Investor Relations Society (IRS).

His appointment comes at a time when the Policy Committee has restructured to assist members more effectively in relation to the wealth of regulatory changes affecting Investor Relations Officers (IRO).

The Policy Committee of the IRS is chaired by Mark Hynes, PR Newswire's Managing Director of Investor Relations Services, and comprises members drawn from corporate broking, financial PR, registrars, accounting and auditing backgrounds.

On its radar are recent developments such as the Transparency Directive, repeal of the OFR, the Takeover Code amendments, the US Securities and Exchange Commission's consultation on ADR reporting, and the International Accounting Standards Board's consultation on management commentary standards.

'All of these changes in legislation will have a profound effect on the responsibilities of IROs,' said Mr Hynes. 'It is the goal of the Policy Committee to provide as much hands-on training and knowledge-building opportunities for our members as possible and our recent changes in structure will allow us to accomplish this more effectively.'

Robert Moir commented: 'It is a privilege to be asked to join the Policy Committee. The responsibilities of IROs are becoming increasingly complex as the level of regulation and harmonisation across Europe increases. It is vital for IROs and their companies to keep appraised of the changes and the Policy Committee has a key role to play in helping them achieve this.'

Robert is a senior corporate lawyer with considerable experience in a broad range of corporate and commercial transactions including mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, IPOs, joint ventures, reorganisations and procurement & outsourcing. This has involved acting for a wide range of corporates, investment banks and institutions in a variety of sectors. He joined Pinsent Masons from Allen & Overy in 2004.

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 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.

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.

IRS

The IRS is the UK's professional body for Investor Relations practitioners (www.ir-soc.org.uk). The IRS's membership base comprises around 600 individuals working both for listed companies and their advisers, and includes the majority of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, as well as a growing number of smaller listed companies and some located outside the UK.

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PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ISS ON ACQUISITION OF SUPERCLEAN

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

ISS UK, an international leading facility services company, has been advised by a team of corporate lawyers from Pinsent Masons on its acquisition of Superclean Support Services Holding Ltd, the Wembley based cleaning services group, from Invex Capital Partners.

Superclean provides cleaning and associated support services primarily to the educational and public sector markets.

Just last year the team from Pinsent Masons advised ISS UK Ltd on a succession of deals which included the acquisition of Chenies Landscapes and of Mitchell & Struthers to expand the ISS Waterers landscaping business. Prior to this the team also advised on the acquisition of London based MJ Building Services Group, a manufacturing and engineering business, and the acquisition of Eaton Fine Dining to boost the ISS catering division and the acquisition of Coflex, the leading provider of independent facilities management.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by corporate partner Joanne Ellis assisted by Edward Stead.

Commenting Joanne Ellis said:

?We are very pleased to have once again worked with ISS and to enable them to realise their aim of being a fully integrated facility services business.'

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087

Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is the new force in the UK and international legal market which came into being on 6 December 2004 as a result of the merger between two complementary, strongly client and sector facing businesses ? Pinsents and Masons.

Read more…

REED SMITH ADVISES ?BEST IN CLASS? HEALTHCARE CONSORTIUM ON ?15M FINANCING

February 2005. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm Reed Smith LLP (Reed Smith) today announced its role in representing Nations Healthcare in its ?15M financing with Nomura Private Equity Group.

Edward Miller, Business and Regulatory Partner at Reed Smith?s London office commented:

?We were privileged to have this opportunity to work with Nations Healthcare in securing financing for Nations? ongoing work in delivering world class innovation to UK healthcare. Nations? transatlantic structure required expertise drawn from our finance, taxation, corporate and healthcare teams on both sides of the Atlantic.?

David Porter, Head of Private Equity for Nomura International said of Nations Healthcare:

?This is a best-in-class consortium whose participants are some of the world?s leading healthcare services providers. It meets our investment criteria exactly: we look for companies with exceptional management teams, proven business models, first class clinical teams and services that address unmet medical needs. We are naturally pleased to be associated with Nations Healthcare and their centres, which promise to make a significant difference to day case and outpatient waiting lists.?

Reed Smith?s transatlantic team was led by Miller in the UK and Steve Johnson in the US who worked with Doug Rofe, Jennifer O?Brien, Sakil Suleman, Joel Dennison and others.

Shearman & Sterling represented Nomura.

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REED SMITH WINS ADDITIONAL REAL ESTATE WORK FROM DAILY MAIL AND GENERAL TRUST PLC (DMGT)

February 2005. Press Releases by Reed Smith Richards Butler LLP (view listing).

International law firm Reed Smith LLP is delighted to announce that the UK Real Estate team has been successful in securing the property portfolio work for the Harmsworth and Mail Newspapers? Pension Schemes of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT). The appointment followed a comprehensive and competitive tender process. The work was previously handled by Herbert Smith.

Reed Smith has a long-standing relationship with DMGT having acted as one of their main property law advisors for the past eight years. Reed Smith places particular emphasis on client relationships in order to ensure that a responsive, personal service, tailored to the issues affecting the client is provided at all times. The win of this extra work represents an excellent example of this ethos.

Lawrence Radley, Head of the London Real Estate practice commented:

?We are delighted to be chosen as legal advisors to the Harmsworth Pooled Property Unit Trust. The appointment not only demonstrates the strength of our relationship with DMGT, but also the quality and breadth of our full service real estate team here in London.?

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON PHASE EIGHT MBO

February 2005. Press Releases by Pinsent Masons (view listing).

Retail lawyers from Pinsent Masons have advised on the ?27m management buy out of Phase Eight, the retailer of stylish contemporary women?s clothes, shoes and accessories.

The deal which was finalised on Friday (28th) evening was backed by Barclays Private Equity who, as part of the deal, will take a 72 per cent stake, with management taking the remaining 28 per cent.

The buy out of Phase Eight, led by Chief Executive Joy Walters who joined the business in 2002, will be chaired by former New Look Chief Executive, Stephen Sunnucks.

Phase Eight was founded in 1979 and now trade 90 outlets throughout the UK. Turnover forecast for the year to January 2005 is ?30m, generating operating profits of ?3.6m.

The Management team were advised by a team of retail lawyers at Pinsent Masons following a competitive tender for the work. The team included Private Equity partners Paul Harkin and Jo Ellis assisted by Jonathan Snade.

This deal follows hot on the heels of Pinsent Masons? retail group advising the management team on the buy-in of MkOne backed by Baugur in December. Prior to this the team advised the major debt provider behind Baugur's acquisition of fashion chains Karen Millen and Whistles last summer.

Commenting Paul Harkin from Pinsent Masons said:

?We are delighted to have been involved in yet another high profile retail transaction. We enjoyed working with Joy and her team at Phase Eight. All parties are very pleased with the outcome of the transaction which leaves Phase Eight well positioned for the next stage of its growth.?

Ends

For further information, please contact

Elle Hill, PR and Communications, Pinsent Masons

DDL: 020 7418 7087, Mobile: 07748 321 769

Email: elle.hill@pinsentmasons.com

NOTES TO EDITOR

Pinsent Masons is a leading corporate law firm focused on sector-driven development in the UK

and internationally. The retail sector is key among its chosen industry sectors and the team of over 30 lawyers are committed to understanding the issues that impact on clients in the sector. The team act for many high street retailers and provide advice on all aspects of law affecting the sector including joint ventures, employment and competition issues, regulatory matters, acquisitions, property and supply chain management. Pinsent Masons is also an active member of the British Retail Consortium.

Read more…

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