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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

 

PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMATION MARKET UNDER SCRUTINY BY OFT

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

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced that the market for public sector information is to be the subject of a market study. This is a sizeable market in the UK and, for certain types of information, there is often only one body collecting and storing the information.

The public sector information market study will look at the behaviour of public sector information holders (PSIH) such as the UK Hydrographic Office and HM Land Registry.

PSIHs are often under a statutory obligation to collect information or do so as part of their normal functions. Much of the information collected is made freely available to the public but the information may also be sold on by PSIHs either in its raw form or, having been further refined, in a 'value added' form. 'Value added' information will be the focus of the market study because it is in the market for the sale of this information that PSIHs compete with private sector companies.

In particular, private sector companies first have to buy the raw data from the PSIHs and PSIHs may therefore have a competitive advantage. The market study will examine two key areas:

? whether the way in which PSIHs supply information works well for businesses, and

? whether PSIHs have an unfair advantage selling on information in competition with companies who are reliant on the PSIH for the raw data in the first instance.

The OFT may decide to carry out a market study if it believes that a market is not functioning well but is unable to pinpoint the reasons for a lack of competition on specific breaches of the usual competition law rules on anti-competitive agreements or abuse of dominant position. The OFT's concerns may be based on complaints from competitors and consumers, or on information gleaned from previous investigations into individual companies in the sector.

The OFT has extensive powers of investigation and can write directly to those involved in the market, circulate detailed questionnaires to interested parties and hold meetings, interviews and telephone surveys with a view to better understanding the market, as well as seeking opinions on the market's weaknesses and how these might be addressed.

The OFT will then publish a report of its findings and conclusions and indicate whether the OFT proposes to take any further action. This could include encouraging operators in the market to take voluntary action, investigating or taking enforcement action against undertakings suspected of breaching competition law or making a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission, which has greater enforcement powers than the OFT in this area.

Alan Davis, a Competition Partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, commented:

'This not the first time that public sector information holders have found themselves in the spotlight. Allegations of predatory pricing and overpricing were made against Companies House in 1997, although the OFT concluded that the allegations were unfounded. In December last year the OFT began a market study looking at the accessibility of property information held by a number of bodies such as local authorities, HM Land Registry and the Environment Agency. This market study falls within one of the OFT's key enforcement areas identified in its Annual Plan for 2005/6 ? the interaction between government and markets and, in particular, markets in which public sector bodies compete with the private sector.'

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

ENDS

For media enquiries call:

Douglas Keighley

PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel : 020 7490 6563

Email : douglas.keighley@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES ON ?117 MILLION ACQUISITION OF YOUTH FASHION RETAILER

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

Leading law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Kaupthing and Baugur on their ?117 million acquisition of youth fashion retail chain, Jane Norman. The move comes as the 95-store retailer plans to open up to 70 more outlets and start expansion abroad over the next three years.

The sale of Jane Norman, owned by private equity firm Graphite Capital, represents Pinsent Masons' first instructions from Kaupthing and Baugur.

Private equity partners Andrew Masraf and Roger Fink led the Pinsent Masons' team, assisted by corporate lawyers Gareth Hughes, Gareth Rees, Michael Berreen, Joanne McNeill and Olivia Phallipou and lawyers drawn from the firm's specialist retail team. Partner William Oliver and solicitor Frances Mallender advised on the banking aspects of the transaction.

Andrew Masraf said: 'We are delighted to have acted on the acquisition of Jane Norman, our first instructions from Kaupthing and Baugur. The deal presented many challenges, not least of which was the tight timescale ? we completed the acquisition three weeks after the buyer was granted exclusivity.'

The deal cements Pinsent Mason's position as a leading adviser within the retail sector. Recent deals include advising on the ?140 million sale of Rubicon Retail to The Shoe Studio Group and on the buy-in of MK One, which was backed by Baugur and Landsbanki.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Andrew Masraf, Private Equity,

Pinsent Masons, DDI: 020 7418 9514

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES EALING COUNCIL ON STREET LIGHTING PFI

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

PFI specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have advised the London Borough of Ealing for the first time on the successful completion of the procurement of its street lighting PFI.

The 25 year long project, the first in this wave of street lighting PFIs to close, will involve the renewal and upgrading of street lighting across Ealing, including an initial ?20m replacement of over 20,000 items of equipment over the first 5 years.

The Council's private sector partner, EDF Energy will assume responsibility for the management, design, installation and ongoing repair and maintenance of the Borough's entire lighting stock, beginning in August this year.

Patrick Twist, National Head of Projects at Pinsent Masons said, 'Having acted on around half of all completed street lighting schemes, the firm was well-placed to advise on this PFI and it was one of the quickest and smoothest projects we have been involved with.'

Patrick Twist led the Pinsent Masons team, assisted by Duncan Halliwell (Construction & Engineering), with further assistance from Roxanna Shaheen (Projects), Mark Pakenham (Projects), Pam Sidhu (Employment), Gavin Paul (Pensions) and Simon Evans (Construction and Engineering).

EDF Energy were advised by Stephenson Harwood. The funders, Dexia Public Finance Bank, were advised by Tods Murray.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

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

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 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, the firm 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 has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the UK street lighting market, having worked on a variety of projects advising both authorities and contractors.

The Projects Group has developed project agreements and documents whilst working on schemes and this material has been used as the basis for the Street Lighting Procurement Pack issued and updated by the 4ps, which is used by procuring authorities in the sector.

Completed schemes upon which the firm advised include; Islington LBC, Newcastle and North Tyneside MBCs, Sunderland MBC and Walsall MBC. The firm is are currently advising contractors or authorities on the schemes in Barnet/Enfield, Derby, Dorset, Ealing, Lambeth, Leeds, Redcar/Cleveland, South Tyneside and Surrey.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES CARE MANAGEMENT GROUP (UK) LIMITED ON FUNDING FOR CARE HOME EXPANSION PROGRAM

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

Pinsent Masons has advised the Care Management Group of companies on the amendment and restatement of its loan facilities with Barclays Bank PLC. The new facilities will assist the Group with its expansion program for acquiring and developing care homes.

The deal enables the principal shareholder of Care Management Group (UK) Limited, ISIS EP LLP as the subordinated creditor of Barclays Bank PLC, to fully redeem its loan stock in the group whilst also increasing the group's existing loan facilities with the bank from ?26.7 million to ?64 million.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Private Equity Partner Andrew Masraf and included Banking Partner Martin Bishop and Senior Associate Tony Anderson.

Andrew stated: 'As part of our continued relationship with ISIS EP LLP and Care Management Group (UK) Limited we are delighted to have assisted both clients to move ahead with their plans in the increasingly competitive care home sector.'

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary UK LLP acted for Barclays Bank.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Douglas Keighley, CM Media Relations adviser

Pinsent Masons, 020 7490 6563

Note 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.

Read more…

COURT OF APPEAL DECISION ON KPMG PENSIONS CASE ANNOUNCED

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

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justices Mummery, Chadwick and Jonathan Parker) today gave its decision in the case brought by the trustees of the KPMG Pension Scheme and appealed by KMPG.

The City law firm Pinsent Masons acted for the pensioners of the scheme, following High Court proceedings in July 2004 to establish whether it is a defined contribution or a defined benefit scheme.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision made at first instance that:

1. the scheme is not a money purchase scheme (contrary to what KPMG argued); and

2. KPMG therefore have a statutory obligation to fund the deficit in the scheme.

The Court of Appeal also held in favour of the pensioners in finding that the rules of the scheme do not allow pensions in payment to be reduced, overturning the High Court's decision on this point.

The Court of Appeal denied KPMG permission to appeal to the House of Lords against the decision. KPMG may decide to petition the House of Lords for permission to appeal.

Chris Mullen, Senior Partner at Pinsent Masons, who acted for the pensioners both in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal, commented:'The Court of Appeal's decision that the scheme is not a money purchase scheme and that pensions in payment cannot be reduced are a huge relief to the pensioners after many months of uncertainty. Since they are retired, our clients have no ready means to make up any cut in their pensions. KPMG will now be obliged to fund the scheme's deficit, just like any other defined benefit scheme.'

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

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

Anna.Sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

1. The legal action was commenced by the trustees of the scheme to answer specific questions about

the nature of the scheme and the meaning of certain rules within it.

2. One such rule appeared to allow the reduction of pensions once they are in payment.

3. KPMG argued that the scheme was a money purchase scheme and that there was therefore no

funding obligation on it to make good the scheme's deficit, believed to be in excess of ?60-70 million.

4. The High Court held in favour of the members in deciding that the scheme was not a money

purchase scheme and that KPMG had an obligation to fund it. KPMG appealed this decision to the

Court of Appeal. The High Court did not agree with the pensioner's argument that the scheme's

first deed and rules did not allow pensions in payment to be reduced.

5. The pensioners, through their solicitors, Pinsent Masons, and Counsel, Robert Ham QC and Michael Tennet, argued in the Court of Appeal that the scheme was an average salary scheme, not a money purchase scheme, and that section 67 Pensions Act 1995 and the terms of the rules themselves prevented the exercise of a power to reduce pensions in payment. All three points were upheld by the Court of Appeal in its judgment issued on 28 July 2005 in a comprehensive victory for the pensioners.

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.

Internationally, the firm 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 ADVISES ON FINANCIAL CLOSE OF SPECIALIST HEALTHCARE PFI SCHEME IN THE NORTH EAST

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

Financial close has been reached on the Walkergate Park for Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry bringing together neurorehabilitation and neuropsychiatry services currently provided over three locations in the north east. The project, commissioned by the Northgate & Prudhoe NHS Trust sponsored by UME Investment Co. Limited will be constructed and maintained by Clugston and funded by AIB Group (UK) plc.

The state-of-the-art facilities will provide a 65-bed centre of excellence for the provision of specialist services for stroke and head injury victims and be delivered by the Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Trust and the Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland Mental Health Trust.

The project incorporates innovative design and artistic elements including the commissioning of a chapel and ancillary other artwork by artists selected following the involvement of the Arts Council. The centre, which is scheduled to open in late 2006, will also house extensive therapy facilities (including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory gardens and a driver rehabilitation circuit).

UME Investment Co. Limited were advised by Pinsent Masons and Deloittes. This is the second scheme which UMEI (advised by Pinsent Masons and Deloittes) and Clugstons have jointly closed in the past four months and the third that UMEI have closed with Pinsent Masons.

Kate Peacock, who led the Pinsent Masons team, said 'We are delighted to have been involved in this project and to have continued to develop what is already a strong relationship with UMEI. We are very much looking forward to working together on future schemes.'

Northgate & Prudhoe NHS Trust were advised by Addleshaw Goddard, Mott Macdonald and Robson Rhodes. AIB Group (UK) plc were advised by Dickinson Dees and EC Harris.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Anna Sargent, CM PR Adviser, Pinsent Masons

Tel: 020 7490 6378

Mob: 07717 156 559

Email: anna.sargent@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

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

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

Read more…

FT SWOOPS ON 22 CONSTRUCTION FIRMS IN EAST MIDLANDS

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

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has carried out a series of dawn raids on 22 construction companies in the East Midlands. Neither the type of company nor the companies concerned were identified but were all said to be based in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. The OFT said that the raids were undertaken following allegations of collusive tendering for public and private contracts won between 2000 and 2005 in breach of competition law.

The OFT carried out its searches using its civil powers under the Competition Act 1998. However, it has not ruled out that the investigation could involve the criminal cartel offence under the Enterprise Act 2002. This is significant for the following reasons:

? The OFT indicated at its recent Leniency Conference that regional cartels in the construction sector are ripe for considering a criminal prosecution. These new investigations might lead to the first criminal prosecution under the competition rules since they were introduced.

? Previous dawn raids were undertaken by the OFT and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in November 2004. These are understood to involve alleged corruption in relation to the letting of contracts for the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. The OFT has said that the recent raids do not relate directly to the ongoing SFO investigation but are part of an OFT investigation into possible breaches of the Competition Act.

? If the companies involved are found to have infringed the competition rules, fines of up to 10% of turnover can be imposed. If the criminal cartel offence is involved, individuals may face imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or disqualification as company directors for up to 15 years.

In its Annual Plan for 2005/6, the OFT identified a crack-down on anti-competitive practices in the construction sector as one of its key priorities for the next year. The OFT has said that it is convinced that anti-competitive practices are 'endemic' in this sector. It has already issued three decisions over the past couple of years in which roofing contractors have been heavily fined for collusive tendering activities and it has said that there are other cases in the pipeline. It is likely that these new investigations are in the building sector rather than the roofing sector and may involve building companies that tendered for NHS work in the East Midlands.

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

'The OFT has made it clear that prospective suppliers must prepare and submit tenders for bids independently of each other in order to ensure competition and that any collusion between suppliers is likely to infringe competition law. It is essential for companies in the construction sector to take steps to ensure they are in compliance with the competition rules on an on-going basis. Staff also need to be educated as to types of tendering practices that are considered to be anti-competitive: bid rigging can involve cover pricing, job sharing and bid suppression. For companies that are involved in such practices, they need to consider the option of applying for leniency which may result in reduced or zero fines.'

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

ENDS

For media enquiries call:

Douglas Keighley

PR Advisor

Pinsent Masons

Tel :

Email :Douglas.keighley@pinsentmasons.com

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ACTS FOR BROKER ON WATERLINE GROUP PLC AIM ADMISSION

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

Leading AIM lawyers Pinsent Masons have advised Daniel Stewart & Company Plc on the admission to AIM of one of the country's leading suppliers to the fitted kitchens industry, Waterline Group Plc.

Waterline Group, which is seeking to expand its business potential with customers, suppliers and investors by its higher profile as a publicly-quoted company, has been admitted to AIM with a market capitalisation of ?11.02 million. The company raised ?2 million from a placing of 2,500,000 shares at 84p per share.

The London Corporate team at Pinsent Masons, which has acted for Daniel Stewart & Company, the NOMAD and broker to the float, has been led by partner Jon Harris, with Nicola Marrin and Manmohan Panesar.

Waterline Group Plc has been advised Memery Crystal.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Clear Turnbull, 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 18 months Pinsent Masons has acted for the company on 14 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…

NORWICH UNION AND OTHERS ACQUIRE ASSUREWEB

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

Norwich Union and the four other product providers, comprising AEGON UK, Clerical Medical, Friends Provident and Scottish Widows who previously owned 40% of the Assureweb portal have agreed terms with Misys to take overall control of the business.

The deal involved a share buy back by Assureweb, leaving Norwich Union, AEGON UK, Clerical Medical, Friends Provident and Scottish Widows owning 100 per cent of the business. The move is intended to create an online portal owned by the financial services industry, working for the financial services industry.

Assureweb will remain the portal of choice for the financial advisers Sesame supports.

Launched in 1998 the Assureweb portal helps intermediaries improve their service, efficiency and profitability by doing business online. In 2001, Misys plc bought Assureweb, creating a centre of technology excellence in its financial services division. Assureweb is now a part of the Sesame group owned by Misys plc. Sesame is a leading provider of services for intermediaries.

Assureweb?s Managing Director Nigel Hopwood said: ?The new ownership structure demonstrates a real commitment from our key product providers to driving the business forward. It also reflects the growing importance of the proposition in the minds of the leading product providers within the sector and will allow us to continue our solid growth under the direction of the existing management team.

?The solid infrastructure and governance that Sesame (part of the Misys Group) put in place has been instrumental in developing the business to this point but we believe that it is now appropriate that Assureweb should be owned entirely by the provider community rather than a single distributor. With Sesame also continuing to support the Assureweb proposition through its ongoing commitment to our business model, we believe the deal works for all parties.'

The Pinsent Masons team advising Assureweb was led by Andrew Kerr, assisted by Catherine Hemsworth, Shubhu Patil, Louise Fullwood and Giles Warrington.

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 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 and a top 10 adviser to FTSE 250 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…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BALFOUR BEATTY CONSTRUCTION JOINT VENTURE ON ?130 MILLION BASSETLAW GROUPED S

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

Construction and PFI specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons advised Balfour Beatty Construction Limited and Balfour Kilpatrick Limited (as joint venture building contractor) on Nottinghamshire Council?s Bassetlaw Grouped schools project. The capital element of the project entails construction works to the value of approximately ?130 million.

The 25 year concession involves the construction and operation of four new secondary schools, a new special school and two new centres for post-16 education in Retford and Worksop and a new secondary school in Tuxford. It will also create two new leisure centres for Bassetlaw District Council. Phased completion of the new facilities is scheduled for 2006 and 2007.

Graham Alty, Construction & Engineering Partner Team at Pinsent Masons commented, 'Having advised Balfour Beatty Construction and Balfour Kilpatrick on schools projects at Rotherham, East Lothian and most recently North Lanarkshire, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with them again on this prestigious scheme. This is the eleventh schools project where Pinsent Masons have acted for building contractors in the past three years, and with more projects due to close in the coming months, helps cement our position as leading legal advisors in this sector.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Joanne Walsh and Graham Alty, assisted by Chris Hallam, Hannah Fletcher and Natalie Cropps ? all from the Transactional Team of the UK Construction & Engineering Practice Group.

Tods Murray LLP advised Transform Schools, Eversheds advised Nottinghamshire Council and McGrigors advised the funders.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Lakhbir Rakar, Chosen Market PR Adviser

Pinsent Masons, on: 0121 260 4005

Email: lakhbir.rakar@pinsentmasons.com

Note to Editors:

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

Pinsent Masons' Construction and Engineering Group comprises over 100 dedicated lawyers, the largest construction and engineering team in the UK, over 30 of whom are solely dedicated to transactional work. Regarded as the 'market leader' by Legal 500 we have extensive experience and expertise in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues. The firm also has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm.

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…

OXFORD NEWTECH ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON REVERSE TAKEOVER OF ZI MEDICAL PLC

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

Clinical and pharmaceutical device and diagnostic company, Oxford Newtech Limited, has been advised by a London corporate team from UK law firm Pinsent Masons, on its reverse takeover of AIM-quoted ZI Medical plc.

Oxford Newtech, an investee company of the leading European biotechnology venture capital fund, Merlin Biosciences, was formed to provide a platform for developing a significant UK based clinical and pharmaceutical device and diagnostic company. Its focus is on developing products for the US and European healthcare markets and on systems to expedite drug discovery and development. The enlarged group's strategy is to build on the successes achieved by ZI Medical to date in advancing product from prototype to market, in order to develop products for the growing UK, European and US clinical and pharmaceutical device and diagnostic markets.

The combined group will have a market capitalisation of approximately ?14 million following completion of a ?3.4 million placing by ZI Medical.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Oxford Newtech was led by London Corporate Finance Partner, Darius Lewington with assistance from William Bankes. Pinsent Masons also acted for Merlin Biosciences on its original investment in Oxford Newtech in January 2005.

ZI Medical was advised by the Manchester office of Halliwells. Brewin Dolphin Securities Limited acted as Nominated Adviser and Broker to ZI Medical.

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 THE GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA ON ?830M GAUTRAIN RAPID RAI

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

Projects specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons are supporting South African law firm Ledwaba Mazwai in advising the Gauteng Provincial Government on the R7bn (?830m) Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Project ('Gautrain'), the largest transportation infrastructure PPP project ever undertaken by South Africa. The government has announced that it has appointed the Bombela Consortium (Bombardier Transportation, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Murray & Roberts, the Loliwe companies and RATP D?veloppement) as preferred bidder.

Gautrain consists of an 80-km high speed rail system linking Johannesburg and Pretoria which is a key element of the infrastructure development programme due to be completed before South Africa hosts the 2010 football World Cup. Gautrain will be transferred back to the Gauteng Provincial Government at the end of the concession period. This concession period consists of a 4-5 year construction period followed by a 15 year operating period.

Patrick Twist, Pinsent Masons National Head of Projects said, 'Over a decade ago, we began advising the Government of South Africa on the first prison projects to reach financial close procured under PPP principles. Since then the firm has advised on several high-profile projects in the region and by doing so, has made a significant contribution to the success of the PPP programme in South Africa. It was a pleasure to work with this Government project team and we look forward to closing this important infrastructure project, one of the many transport infrastructure projects we are working on throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.'

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Geoffrey Roberts (Projects Partner), Chris Kelly (Projects Partner), Sachin Kerur (Construction & Energy Senior Associate), Giles Taylor (Projects Senior Associate), Lisa Baird (Projects Associate), Ken Cooke (Projects Consultant) and Liam Terry (Projects Trainee Solicitor).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

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

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 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, the firm 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 has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience across all rail sectors both in the UK and internationally, having worked on a variety of major rail projects. These include;

? Dockland Light Railway Extension - advising the concessionaire;

? Dublin Light Rail System (Luas) - advising the department of Public Enterprise;

? Barcelona Bax Llobregat Tramway - advising Depfa Bank on the financing of this project;

? UK Rail Franchises - advising the Strategic Rail Authority on the extensions of existing franchises.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS ON ?500M INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS PROJ

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

International projects specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons together with PricewaterhouseCoopers and EC Harris advised the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the Cyprus Airports PPP Project which has achieved commercial close. The Project is the first major PPP project for Cyprus leading the way for future development of the country's infrastructure through public private partnerships and is one of the largest airport projects in Europe to date.

The contract is a 25 year concession between the Government and Hermes Airports Limited for the development and operation of the country's international airports at Larnaka and Pafos. Hermes Airports Limited is a special purpose vehicle comprising shareholders such as French construction giant Bouygues Bat?ment, airport operators YVR (Vancouver), Aer Rianta and A?roport Nice C?te d?Azur and a number of Cypriot partners including Cyprus Trading Corporation Ltd, Hellenic Mining Company and the contractors, Iacovou Brothers Ltd and Charilaos Apostolides & Co.

Under the terms of the contract Hermes Airports Limited will take over the existing airports and will construct new passenger terminals and associated infrastructure at both airports at a capital investment of around ?500 million. Together, the enhanced airports will be able to handle over 10 million passengers annually to a high level of quality standard (in 2004, almost 6.7 million passengers passed through the airports). The company will undertake further expansion of the airports as demand requires.

Andrew Dewsnap, Projects Partner commented, 'This has been an extremely interesting airport project to work on with lots of unique issues that had to be considered arising from the particular circumstances of Cyprus, its accession to the EU during the process and the fact it is the first PPP project to have been undertaken by the Government. Achieving commercial close will be seen as an important milestone for the development of further infrastructure projects on the island including the Pafos-Polis road and the Larnaka Port project where we are also part of the Government advisory team.'

Barry Francis, Head of Projects in London, added, 'Cyprus Airports follows two other important transport infrastructure projects which have recently achieved important milestones. Financial close was reached last month on the ?240m Docklands Light Railway extension in which we supported Amec/ RBS and the selection earlier this month of Bombela consortium as preferred bidder by our client the Gauteng Provincial Government on the ?830m project to link Pretoria to Johannesburg.'

The Pinsent Masons team consisted of Andrew Dewsnap, Catherine Workman (Projects Partner) and Carly Caton (Projects Solicitor).

The sponsors were advised by Norton Rose (Jon Ellis and Mark Jury) and the four mandated lead arranger banks by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Peter Block).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

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

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 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, the firm 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 has one of the largest teams of specialist PFI projects lawyers in the UK and is ranked number one in the Public Private Finance league tables having closed more UK PFI projects than any other law firm. The firm has extensive experience in the airports sectors both in the UK and internationally, having worked on a variety of airport projects. These include;

? Hyderabad International Airport, India - advising the preferred bidder;

? Mukalla International Airport, Yemen - advising the consortium;

? SkyPlaza Project (facilities at the existing terminal at Chep Lap Kok), Hong Kong ? advising the contractor;

? Beruit Airport ? advising the Government of Lebanon;

? Heathrow Airport, Fuel Storage Farm ? advising consortium;

? Heathrow Airport, Fuel Hydrant System ? advising consortium;

? Birmingham International Aiport ? advising public authorities;

? Luton Airport ? advising the authority;

? Manchester Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancing ? advising the consortium;

? Gatwick Airport Fuel Hydrant Refinancing ? advising the consortium;

? Kuala Lumpur International Airport ? advising the authority;

? Manchester Airport Second Runway ? advising the authority.

Read more…

ABBOT GROUP ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON ?75.4 MILLION PROSAFE ACQUISITION

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

Major offshore drilling contractor, Abbot Group plc, is being advised by a London Corporate Finance team from law firm Pinsent Masons, on the ?75.4 million acquisition of a Norwegian North Sea drilling contractor.

The acquisition by Abbot Group of Prosafe Drilling Services AS announced is being accompanied by a fundraising placing of approximately 8.8 million new ordinary shares at a price of 230 pence per share to raise approximately ?20 million.

Abbot Group, the largest offshore platform drilling contractor in the UK sector of the North Sea and one of the largest international land drilling operators outside the Americas, sees the Prosafe Drilling Services acquisition as a key part of its strategic drive to offer a complete portfolio of platform drilling and engineering services to the world's major oil companies, so securing the position of lead company in that field.

Pinsent Masons' Banking & Finance team has also advised Abbot Group on an NOK 750 million of additional facilities with The Royal Bank of Scotland and The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland to finance the acquisition in part.

Pinsent Masons lead adviser to FTSE 250-ranked Abbot Group, Corporate Finance Partner, Alan Farkas, commented: 'This is an important deal for Abbot as it gives them an entry into the Norwegian sector of the North Sea enabling them to offer services across the North Sea to major oil company clients. It also gives them a platform for developing their presence in the significant Norwegian market with major Norwegian oil companies both in Norway and internationally.'

JPMorgan Cazenove Limited is acting as the sole financial adviser to Abbot. JPMorgan Cazenove and Arden Partners Limited are acting as joint lead managers in respect of the placing.

The Pinsent Masons team acting for Abbot Group, led by Alan Farkas, comprised Hannah Brader and Stephen Swan (corporate), Martin Bishop and Kate Myles (banking & finance); Martyn Hann and Vivien Gray IP/IT); Louise Haworth (competition), Robert Mecrate-Butcher (employment), and Mark Cawthron (tax).

Abbot Group has been advised in Norway by Norwegian firm Bugge, Arentz-Hansen & Rasmussen, led by Morten P.Sm?rdal and Thomas J Fjell.

Prosafe has been advised by Norwegian firm, Wikborg, Rein & Co led by Haakon Blaauw, and by Goldman Sachs.

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 and a top 10 adviser to FTSE 250 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…

DUNEDIN ADVISED BY PINSENT MASONS ON BACKING OF ?27M MBO OF ZENITH VEHICLE CONTRACTS

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

One of the UK's leading independent fleet management specialists has been successfully sold to management in a ?27 million deal backed by Dunedin Capital Partners.

Dunedin provided an ?11 million funding package of equity and mezzanine, with the company?s existing bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, providing a senior debt and working capital facility.

Zenith is a niche provider of bespoke fleet management services, normally to companies with car fleets of 250 to 1,500 cars, and supplies a blue chip client base which includes Asda, DuPont, Ernst & Young, Persimmon, Remploy and BUPA.

Andrew Cope, chief executive of Zenith, led the buyout supported by finance director Mark Phillips, sales director Philip Jerome and commercial director David Loseby. Mark Ligertwood and Shaun Middleton of Dunedin led, structured and completed the transaction. Ligertwood will join the company as a non-executive director. The MBO will allow the management team to grow the business significantly over the next five years.

Andrew Cope of Zenith commented: ?The MBO will allow us to continue to develop the business through excellent service provision and product innovation. This, together with significant investment in information technology, has already enabled the company to win larger contracts whilst continuing to focus on existing customers and with Dunedin?s backing we look forward to seeing this trend continue over the coming years.?

Mark Ligertwood, investment director of Dunedin added: ?This was an excellent opportunity to back a management team we have been tracking for some considerable time, in a growing cash generative business. This energetic, dynamic and creative team has the drive to take the business to the next stage of development.

'This is the second consecutive deal in which Dunedin has provided over ?10 million of debt and equity. It provided ?11 million of debt and equity finance for the MBO of New Horizons in December 2004.?

Peter Wood led the Pinsent Masons team advising Dunedin on their equity investment, assisted by Anna Whetham, and John Cleland and Philip Scott advised Dunedin on their mezzanine investment.

The deal saw a full exit for 3i.

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:

Dunedin Capital Partners is an independent mid-market private equity company owned by its directors. The company specialises in the provision of private equity for MBO's, MBI's and acquisitions with a transaction size of ?10m - ?50m. Dunedin operates throughout the UK from its offices in Edinburgh and London.

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 ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies and is a top 10 adviser to FTSE 250 companies.

Read more…

PINSENT MASONS ANNOUNCES NEW SENIOR PARTNER

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

Leading law firm, Pinsent Masons, has announced the election of a new senior partner. Chris Mullen, joint head of the firm's Financial Services & Insurance Chosen Market and Group Head of Employment, Pensions and Tax, takes over from Julian Tonks who has stepped down for health reasons.

Chris Mullen was elected after a vote of the firm's 264 partners in the UK and overseas. He takes up the position from 1 July 2005. His term of office will run concurrent with that of the firm's board through to December 2007.

'I am delighted and honoured to be taking on the role of senior partner, although saddened by the circumstances in which this has come about,' said Chris. 'Six months post-merger Pinsent Masons is seeing the benefits of its merger. Our decision to focus our strengths into those market sectors where our expertise and experience make a real difference for clients is bearing fruit. We will all be working hard to ensure this continues.'

Chris operates at the forefront of one of the fastest developing and highest profile areas of law. As one of the country's most respected pensions lawyers, he acts for some of the UK's largest companies and pension schemes. He has extensive experience across the whole range of pensions law, including strategic advice, mergers and transaction-related work, advice for independent trustees, dispute resolution and compliance.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Chris Mullen

Chris Mullen qualified as a lawyer in 1986 with the then Biddle & Co. He built a highly successful pensions team at Biddle and became head of Biddle's pensions group in 1998, then national head of that group when the firm merged with legacy Pinsents in 2001. In 2002 Chris became lead partner of the firm's Financial Services & Insurance 'chosen market', sharing this role as joint lead partner following the merger of Pinsents and Masons last December. In December 2004 Chris also became Group Head of Employment Pensions & Tax, when those groups were aligned in a restructuring of the firm's practice areas. As Group Head, Chris is responsible for the three national teams of employment pension and tax lawyers, numbering well in excess of 100 and under both roles combined has responsibility for approximately one-third of the firm's turnover. Within the Financial Services and Insurance Chosen Market, Chris is responsible for developing the firm?s understanding and penetration of this key market for the firm.

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with 264 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 or joint ventures with firms in Denmark, Dubai, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Poland, Sweden, Spain and the USA.

The firm, ranked in the top 10 of legal advisers to UK listed companies. It is a top 20 adviser to FTSE 100 companies and in the top 10 of advisers to FTSE 250 and FTSE 350 companies.

Pinsent Masons board comprises the Senior Partner, Managing Partner (David Ryan), Chosen Markets Partner (Alastair Morrison), International Partner (Tony Bunch) and Finance Director (Steve Hancock).

Julian Tonks

Julian Tonks, one of the country's leading tax lawyers, was appointed senior partner to the then Pinsent & Co in 1994. He retained that position through three mergers which has seen the business grow into a ?150 million turnover, international business.

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 CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF FIRST CORPORATE DEAL FOR LEND LEASE

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

Lend Lease Europe Holdings Limited has used the corporate team of law firm Pinsent Masons for the first time to advise on the high profile ?261million acquisition of The Crosby Group plc.

The choice of Pinsent Masons, among just five firms to be appointed to Lend Lease Europe's first ever UK panel, represents a massive show of confidence by the company, which had a strong pre-merger relationship with the construction team at Masons.

Lend Lease Europe, a subsidiary of the listed Australian property company, Lend Lease Corporation, moved to appoint its UK law firm panel just as partners at the legacy Masons and Pinsents firms were to vote on a merger ? some three months before the new Pinsent Masons was launched.

The strength of the Masons' relationship and its market leading construction team, combined with the corporate capability of Pinsents, and the merged firm's market sector focus helped to secure the prestigious panel place alongside Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Eversheds and DLA.

'The proposed acquisition by Lend Lease Europe of Crosby from The Berkeley Group Holdings plc is the first real opportunity the company has had to test our corporate capability,' said Pinsent Masons London Corporate Finance Partner, Jeremy Phillips, who led the team advising Lend Lease.

'The scope of the deal which involved investigating and reporting on 11 major development sites belonging to Crosby in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, and a further 22 other main sites as well as some 196 other properties, means that Lend Lease has had a good chance to experience our corporate, property, environmental, pensions, employment, IP and IT capability,' said Phillips.

The deal is the kind of dividend Pinsent Masons anticipated reaping from its merger, building on the strength of its client relationships to offer a new and broader service as a result of the enhanced expertise and services of the merged firm.

The nature of the Lend Lease deal brought a further 'dividend' for Pinsent Masons with many of the lawyers in the 100-strong multi-discipline, multi-office team working together for the first time. 'I cannot praise highly enough the hard work, dedication and commitment of the team,' said Phillips.

The deal, which is expected to complete on 8 July, has seen Lend Lease Europe Holdings Limited acquire Crosby, the leading urban regeneration specialist which has built its reputation around city living, from The Berkeley Holdings Group plc. The deal includes a ?10 million payment to the Crosby management team, which gained a stake in the business two years ago. The management team, led by Geoff Hutchinson, is to stay on.

The deal broadens the scope for participation by Lend Lease, developer of the massive Bluewater Shopping Centre in Essex, in major land development schemes, Government-sponsored affordable housing and urban regeneration projects, and mixed-use retail/ residential projects.

Neil Martin, In-House Counsel at Lend Lease Europe, said: 'Crosby Homes is a major acquisition for Lend Lease and the part Pinsent Masons played in the deal was crucial to its success. What was particularly pleasing was the strength and depth of the new merged firm to resource the deal with high quality specialist lawyers from a range of departments.

The fact that the Pinsent Masons core markets align with our own is something that as a company we place high on the agenda.'

Notes to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a top 15 UK law firm and ranks in the Global 100. The firm has more than 260 partners, a legal team of over 900 and total staff worldwide in excess of 1,500. The team acting on the Crosby Group acquisition included:

? Corporate ? Jeremy Phillips (lead partner), Andrew Masraf (partner), Robert Moir, Iain Butler, Sadhbh Kavanagh.

? Property ? Hugh Bruce Watt (partner), Kevin Boa, Sian Porton, Stephen Brown (partner), Harry Nesbitt, Jonathan Riley, Richard Griffiths, Aniki Porter, Richard Collett, Shayne Foley, Andrew Pedley, Charlotte Underwood, Ian Stewart, Lucy Edwards, James Speed, Peter Denley, David Meecham, Jenny Wilson, Richard Daffern (partner), Sean Houlihan, Ali Ramza, Clive Linley, Graham Garvie, Rachel Anderson, Mark Taylor, Joseph Gill (partner).

? Environmental ? Richard Ford (partner), Helen Keele, Claire Smith, Victoria Austin, Alex Burton.

? Pensions ? Alastair Meeks (partner), Josie Crump, Sarah Boon.

? Employment ? Tom Flanagan (partner), Emma Peacock, Sarah Banatvala.

? Banking & Finance ? Martin Bishop (partner), Frances Mallender.

? Tax ? Stephen Lane (partner).

? Outsourcing & Technology ? Martyn Hann (partner), Elizabeth Cook, James Pratt.

? Insurance ? Matthew Griffith (partner), Simon Thomas.

? Construction ? Michael Mullarkey (partner), Brad Fearn, Edward Butler.

? DR&L ? Kevin Bridges, Louise Nahon.

Other advisers:

The Berkeley Group Holdings plc was advised by Shearman & Sterling

The Management of The Crosby Group plc was advised by Eversheds.

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…

Smart & Cook makes biggest acquisition to date

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

Smart & Cook Group Limited has been advised by Pinsent Masons on one of its largest acquisitions to date ? the purchase of Hammon Osborne Holdings Limited. The purchase will put Smart & Cook's premium income above ?200 million for the first time and its revenues should break the ?30 million mark.

Hammon Osborne of Northampton has operated in the insurance broking business for clients across the UK for almost 30 years.

The acquisition is the 47th for Harrogate-based Smart & Cook since it was founded in 1968. The company, which specialises in serving the small to medium sized business sector, operates a UK network of 16 locally-managed region offices and employs over 450 people.

Corporate Partner Peter Wood led for Pinsent Masons assisted by Catherine Hemsworth (corporate) supported by Caroline McDermott (tax), Philip Scot (banking) and Liz Johnson and Andrew Long (insurance).

The Pinsent Masons team has advised Smart & Cook on its ?57 million investment by 3i and The Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as on a series of strategic acquisitions including Credit Insurance Brokers (UK) Limited Gale & Philipson Limited, G&P Investments Limited, Mandroyds Limited, Alan H Lavendar & Co Limited and Lindo & Tindale Limited

Hammon Osborne were advised by Howes Percival, Leicester.

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…

PINSENT MASONS ADVISES BALFOUR BEATTY CONSTRUCTION JOINT VENTURE ON ?140 MILLION NORTH LANARKSHIRE S

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

Construction and PFI specialists at UK law firm Pinsent Masons advised Balfour Beatty Construction Limited and Balfour Kilpatrick Limited (as joint venture building contractor) on North Lanarkshire Council?s Education 2010 PFI schools project. The capital element of the bond financed project involves construction works to the value of approximately ?140 million and over ?100 million of long-term service revenue.

The 31-year concession involves the construction and operation of 21 new schools, including three large secondary schools in Airdrie and Coatbridge, six primary schools and a further 12 primary schools provided over six joint campus facilities, together with a public library and a Community Education Centre. There is potential for a further three schools to be constructed as part of the project.

Construction work by the joint venture building contractor began under an advance works contract in October 2004. Completed schools will be handed over between January 2006 and October 2008.

Graham Alty, Construction & Engineering Partner at Pinsent Masons commented, 'This is the tenth schools project where Pinsent Masons have acted for building contractors in the past three years, with another three projects due to close in the next few months. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to again work with Balfour Beatty on this important project which will result in a great number of state of the art schools for the next generation.'

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Chris Hallam (Senior Associate), and included Hannah Fletcher and Ian Stubbs ? all from the Transactional Team ofthe Construction & Engineering Practice Group.

Tods Murray LLP advised Transform Schools, Shepherd & Wedderbern advised North Lanarkshire Council and McGrigors advised the funders.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

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

Note to Editors:

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

Pinsent Masons' Construction and Engineering Group comprises over 100 dedicated lawyers, the largest construction and engineering team in the UK, over 30 of whom are solely dedicated to transactional work. Regarded as the 'market leader' by Legal 500 we have extensive experience and expertise in advising the UK construction and engineering industry on all contentious and non-contentious legal issues.

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

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 ADVISES ODPM/4ps ON 'DEVELOPING JOINT SERVICE CENTRES THROUGH NHS LIFT, PFI AND BSF'

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

Public Private Partnership specialists at law firm Pinsent Masons have developed a toolkit for 4ps and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), designed to steer local authorities through the process for developing joint service centres providing access to a range of local services.

The procurement pack was launched by Jim Fitzpatrick, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, to help facilitate collaboration between councils, NHS Trusts, other public sector bodies and voluntary agencies. It also includes a model contract, approved by HM Treasury as being compliant with standard PFI mandatory drafting for use on all PFI joint service centres.

Pinsent Masons were appointed by 4ps to assist with the development of guidance for authorities to identify:

? how joint service centres can assist authorities meeting their Gershon efficiency targets,

? opportunities for collaborative working with other public and voluntary sector agencies as well as strategies for managing associated risks;

? how to conduct options analyses to help determine whether traditional procurement, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), the Department of Health's Local Improvement Finance Trust initiative (LIFT) or the Department for Education and Skill's Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF) is the most suitable delivery vehicle; and

? the steps needed to deliver a joint service centre through PFI and LIFT.

Ranked as number one in the Public Private Finance league tables, having closed more UK PPP projects than any other law firm (with a combined capital value in excess of ?200 billion), Pinsent Masons' expertise in using its transactional experience to develop local government sector specific guidance is illustrated through its hat-trick of assisting with the drafting of the:

? 4ps/ODPM Housing (HRA and Non-HRA) PFI Procurement Pack,

? 4ps/Defra Waste Management Procurement Pack; and

? 4ps/ODPM Joint Service Centre Procurement Pack.

Launching the pack, Jim Fitzpatrick MP said, 'I commend this Procurement Pack as a valuable tool that will contribute both to the development of joint service centres as a means of improving the face-to-face element of access to public services and information; and of facilitating joint working with other public agencies, particularly with the health sector though the LIFT initiative.'

Alan Aisbett, Pinsent Masons Projects Partner, commented, 'The requirement for authorities to deliver annual efficiency savings has been given renewed focus since the implementation of the Gershon Review. This Procurement Pack goes further than other packs by addressing how authorities can use the benefits of existing PPP delivery vehicles for the mutual benefit of a range of public and voluntary sector partners. The model documentation and guidance contained will ensure authorities and their partners are excellently placed to deliver efficient and accessible public services organised around the needs of service users.'

Rob Hann, 4ps Director, Legal and Joint Services, added, ?I am very grateful to the Pinsent Masons team for their help and assistance during the development of this procurement pack and model contract. The pack represents two years of hard work by all concerned. The pack harvests the know-how from a number of PFI and NHS LIFT schemes, particularly those at Stoke and Newcastle and captures that knowledge for wider local government use.'

The Pinsent Masons team comprised Alan Aisbett (Partner), Yousof Khan (Senior Associate) and Navjeet Virk (Solicitor).

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Anna Sargent, Chosen Market PR Adviser

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

Note to Editors:

Pinsent Masons is a full service commercial firm with more than 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.

4ps (the public private partnerships programme) are the local government expert procurement agency, a local government central body.

Pinsent Masons has advised on over a third of all LIFT projects which have closed to date, are on the 4ps national panel of legal advisers to for LIFT and are on the Partnerships for Schools panel of legal advisers for BSF. Further details about BSF and LIFT can be obtained from www.bsf.gov.org.uk and www.doh.gov.uk respectively.

Read more…

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.

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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

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World first for Guernsey litigation team in successful application to place PCC in administration

May 2005. Press Releases by Carey Olsen (view listing).

13 May 2005

Carey Olsen was at the heart of a team of UK and Guernsey lawyers in a successful landmark application to the Royal Court of Guernsey on 11 May 2005 placing a Protected Cell Company (PCC) into administration and to have partners from Ernst & Young LLP in London and Guernsey appointed as administrators.

The application for administration, originally brought by the directors of Messenger Insurance PCC Limited, nominated the administrators of Messenger?s UK-based parent company InsCom Group Limited which, along with some of its directors, is the subject of current High Court proceedings in London alleging breaches of fiduciary duty, misappropriation and fraud. The proposed nomination was strongly opposed by a number of corporate creditors of the PCC who believed the appointment would lead to conflicts of interest between the competing administrators, shareholders and directors of the two companies.

Two teams from Carey Olsen, separated by Chinese-walls, spearheaded the Guernsey legal teams acting for Messenger?s creditors. John Greenfield, partner and Head of Commercial Litigation, along with senior lawyer Tim Corfield, a UK qualified Solicitor-Advocate, acted for Zurich Insurance Company, Switzerland, whilst partner Mark Dunster and Advocate Karen Le Cras acted for QBE International Insurance Limited. John Greenfield described it as the first case in the world involving an application to place a PCC into administration.

Advocate Greenfield lead the advocacy for the successful combined creditors? teams, including lawyers from Clifford Chance LLP, Baker & McKenzie, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Kendall Freeman. In preparing for the application, the lawyers from Carey Olsen were instrumental in preparing submissions based on the locus standi of creditors to be heard before the Guernsey Court in such an application, the weight to be attached to creditors? submissions in comparison to those of the board of directors and shareholders of the PCC and in alleging conflicts of interest on the part of the proposed nominees.

John Greenfield added:

?This was a significant judgment and illustrates the strength and depth of expertise that this firm has in managing complex commercial cases, especially multi-party disputes such as this, in which a number of the major London law practices were also represented?.

Ends

For more information please contact John Greenfield, Mark Dunster, Karen Le Cras or Tim Corfield, Carey Olsen, P.O. Box 98, 7 New Street, St Peter Port, Guernsey. Telephone: 01481 727272

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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