20 June 2013


A round-up of recent global deals and the lawyers who made them happen.

By James Barnes

London: FirstRand Bank moves in

London: banking on it

Chicago-based law firm Mayer Brown has advised South Africa’s FirstRand Bank on a ten-year lease of Austin Friars House, EC2, for its London headquarters. The newly refurbished office space comprises over 9,000 square feet on the ground and sixth floors.
FirstRand is one of the big four South African retail, commercial and investment banks with offices throughout Africa, as well as in London, Dubai, Australia, China and India.

Italy: auction time

LABLAW has assisted SMA Finance - a company owned by the family of Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia - on a successful auction bid for the prestigious Italian lingerie brand LA PERLA.
LABLAW founding partner Francesco Rotondi and his team represented SMA Finance in trade union negotiations and the agreement to lease the assets of the company until the final sale / purchase agreement is signed.
The €69 million deal, agreed at the bankruptcy tribunal in Bologna, will save 703 jobs.

Cayman Island: double disputes

The London office of global law firm Debevoise & Plimpton has represented clients in two separate disputes heard in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.
The first case involved Ace Limited and is related to its long running dispute with Liberia’s Insurance Commissioner over losses arising from the Liberian Civil Wars.
After successfully arguing that a case brought against Ace should be dismissed, the company is now pursuing the third party funders of the litigation for costs.
The second case involves Dart Realty, and regarded opposition to a major redevelopment project planned for a stretch of the Cayman coast.
Debevoise successfully argued that a judicial review filed by a local group was without merit and out of time.
Debevoise’s European and Asian chair of litigation, Lord Goldsmith QC, was the lead advocate on both cases.

UK: new digs

Norton Rose Fullbright has advised JP Morgan and Numis as joint bookrunners and corporate brokers on The UNITE Group plc's £51.2 million fundraising.
UNITE is a leading UK developer and manager of student accommodation.
The transaction, which involved a cash box placing to existing and new institutional investors, was announced on 13 June 2013 and dealings in the new shares commenced on 18 June.
The Norton Rose Fulbright team included senior associate Fiona Millington, and associates Amy Reed and Kirsten Anderson.  
Osborne Clarke and Proskauer Rose acted for UNITE.

Italy: bolt on

Italian law firm NCTM has assisted private equity firm Arcadia Small Cap - which focuses on investments in small and medium enterprises - in the acquisition of an 80 per cent stake of high strength bolts and fasteners specialists VSP Bulloneria.
During the acquisition, Arcadia was advised by NCTM Studio Legale Associato with a team led by Matteo Trapani.
The Polato family, founders of VSP Bulloneria, was assisted by financial advisor Arietti & Partners, with a team led by Nino Dell’Arte.
Gianni Origoni Grippo Capelli & Partners acted as legal advisors, with a team led by Emanuele Grippo and made up of Gherardo Cadore and Nabor Zaffiri.

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