Walker Morris advises on takeover of Reading FC

The Sports Group at Walker Morris has further demonstrated its international reach by advising a consortium from Thailand on its purchase of Reading FC.

The takeover was announced by Sir John Madejski, following confirmation from the Football League, ending his 25-year reign as sole club chairman.

The Championship club will now be owned by three major investors: Khunying Sasima Srivikorn, who led the consortium and becomes co-chairwoman alongside Madejski; Khun Narin Niruttinanon and Khun Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth.

Madejski said:

"After months of tireless hard work and a lot of speculation, I am very pleased to say that Reading Football Club's future has been resolved.

"Over the past year, since the Zingarevich family left, we have engaged with a number of different prospective investors, but we have now succeeded in finding who I believe are the right people to take this club forward.

"I am honoured to be staying on as co-chairman at the Club I love, with Khunying Sasima Srivikorn as my fellow co-chairwoman, Khun Narin Niruttinanon and Khun Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth.

"I cannot speak highly enough of our new partners from the time we have spent together so far. They have shown great professionalism, perseverance, patience and diligence and, on a personal level, our relationship is excellent and long may that continue."

Reading FC needed new investment when Anton Zingarevich failed to see through his own takeover.  It left the Club in millions of pounds of debt and key players had to be sold to pay a tax bill.  At that point the Thai consortium stepped up their interest and agreed to release  funds prior to  the takeover being ratified.

David Hinchliffe, Head of the Sports Group at Walker Morris commented:

"We are delighted to reach a successful conclusion to Reading FC's takeover.  Our clients have demonstrated that they are keen to work with the existing management team and have the best interests of the Club and the fans at heart.  The investment will provide a solid platform for the Club to build on and achieve its aspirations"

Reading FC has reached the Premier League on two previous occasions, almost qualifying for Europe and twice playing at Wembley Stadium.

Madejski added:

"Last, but by no means least, I would like to personally thank every one of our loyal supporters for their unstinting dedication and understanding during the long time it has taken us to resolve this situation at the club.

"We have started this season well, which is testament to all of our staff and players here. There are reasons to be optimistic on many fronts, and we now move forward with a renewed vigour and high hopes for a bright new future."

Walker Morris tops the Legal 500 'leading individuals' table for the region

In the latest edition of Legal 500, Walker Morris has topped the table for the most number of leading individuals in the region and is ranked as a Tier 1 firm.

Legal 500, which was published on 1st October, is one of the leading independent guides to the legal profession. Walker Morris has 12 individuals listed which is more than any other law firm in the region.  The individuals included: Simon Anderson, Andrew Bennett, Gwendoline Davies, Trudy Feaster-Gee, Ian Gilbert, Jeremy Moore, Philip Mudd, Tom Peel, Jeremy Scholes, Martin Scott, Malcolm Simpson and Michael Taylor.

As a firm, Walker Morris has had a solid performance across all its rankings and achieved a Tier 1 or Tier 2 ranking in 23 practice areas and maintained its national ranking for work in Financial Services.  It was also ranked as Tier 1 overall for the region.

Debbie Jackson, partner at Walker Morris said:

"We are delighted to have achieved another strong performance in Legal 500 which reinforces our leading position in the region.  Over the last few years we've invested in specialist expertise to build sector leading teams across a wide range of industries. It's a strategy which has proved popular with our clients, who appreciate having access to specialists and multi-disciplinary teams who work together on a regular basis."

Sports Group shortlisted for prestigious national Football Business Award

Walker Morris shortlisted for third consecutive year

The Sports Group at Walker Morris has been shortlisted for a coveted Football Business Award 2014 in the Best Professional Service Business category.

The awards recognise the very best in football business excellence and celebrate successes and reward innovation off, rather than on, the pitch.  The awards will be presented on 6th November at Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea FC, in front of an audience of 550, including Premiership Clubs, Championship Clubs and a huge variety of businesses involved in football.

The awards are judged by a prestigious panel comprising senior influential figures from football and the wider business community.

Commenting on the awards David Hinchliffe, Head of the Sports Group at Walker Morris said:

"We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this esteemed award.  We have been shortlisted each year since the Awards began, which is testament to our team's continual progression and innovation.

"In line with the Walker Morris wider strategy, over the last few years we've invested in specialist expertise and developed tailored legal service offerings, and, as such, feel that we are one of the few firms in the UK that can genuinely offer the complete sports law package.  It's a strategy which our clients have appreciated and over the last few years we've advised on the whole spectrum of sports law: from sponsorship deals, player/manager negotiations and brand protection – through to real estate, disciplinary hearings, the buying / selling of football clubs and football finance".

Walker Morris was ranked as a Top Tier firm for sports law in the 2014 Legal 500 UK Guide and earlier this year, David Hinchliffe was awarded Sports Lawyer of the Year in the 2014 Finance Monthly Law Awards.

Walker Morris regulatory partner shortlisted for prestigious award

Andrew Northage shortlisted for 'best regulatory lawyer of the year' award

Walker Morris regulatory partner Andrew Northage has been shortlisted for the 'Best Regulatory Lawyer of the Year' award in the eminent Thomson Reuters 10th Annual Compliance Awards.

These well-established, coveted awards honour the best-practice, leadership and commitment to the compliance industry. The shortlist is complied from a rigorous process involving nominations, research and then assessment by the judging panel.

Andrew advises a wide range of City, national and international businesses on regulatory issues, including financial services regulation, fraud and corruption, anti-money laundering, consumer protection, health and safety, freedom of information and data protection, environmental prosecutions and Coroner’s inquests.

Jeanette Burgess, Head of the Regulatory & Compliance Team at Walker Morris said:

"We are delighted Andrew has been recognised in the awards.  They are a great accolade which reflects the specialist expertise and national reputation that Andrew has achieved. 

"In line with the wider strategy of Walker Morris, over the last few years we've invested in specialist expertise and developed tailored legal service offerings.  As such, we feel that we are now one of the largest Regulatory teams of its kind outside London.  It's a strategy which our clients have appreciated and Andrew is a good example of the specialist expertise of the Team.   Having previously been an investigatory lawyer and prosecutor for the Serious Fraud Office, Andrew has the unusual perspective of both 'gamekeeper and poacher' which clients certainly value, particularly on enforcement and prosecution cases and when conducting internal investigations."

The awards will be presented on 19th November at the Dorchester Hotel, London.

cloudBuy plc share placing raises £4.3 million

Walker Morris corporate team reinforce stock market expertise

Specialist corporate lawyers at Walker Morris have advised nomad and broker Westhouse Securities on the share placing by cloudBuy plc, the cloud eCommerce marketplace, to raise £4.3 million. 

Following a secondary fundraising in September 2013, on which Walker Morris also acted for Westhouse Securities, this further fundraising was announced on 2 October 2014.

Westhouse Securities acted on the fundraising by the Company by placing 10,000,000 new shares with institutional and other investors at a price of £0.43 each.

The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the placing to both strengthen its balance sheet and for general working capital purposes.  Specifically, the Company plans to invest in platform development and infrastructure, as well as hiring new members of staff.  In doing so, the Company will be able to fulfil the global opportunities that continue to arise following the signing of the extension of the Company's contract with Visa Worldwide Asia Pacific, which was announced on 15 September 2014.

Ronald Duncan, Chairman of the Company commented:

"Following the recent signing of the extension to our contract with Visa Worldwide Asia Pacific, we are pleased to have concluded this over-subscribed fundraising which has been strongly supported by existing investors. The net proceeds of the placing will strengthen our balance sheet and provide the necessary working capital to enable us to fulfil the opportunities increasingly being presented to us."

Richard Naish who led the Walker Morris team said:

"The placing reinforces Walker Morris' public market expertise having recently advised on Software Radio Technology's fundraising and the AIM IPO of Sprue Aegis."

Richard Naish (partner) and Shubhu Patil advised Westhouse Securities.