The Legal 500 Highlights: Osborne Clarke – ‘Strength and experience’

    Corporate & commercial

    Osborne Clarke‘s team is known for its strength in digital business, small and mid-cap private equity and growth capital, while also possessing experience in energy, media, retail, and real estate and infrastructure, among other areas.

    Cross-border transactions expert Sara Valentine heads the Thames Valley corporate practice and acted for the selling shareholders and management team on the sale of CRM and client accounting software provider Reapit to a new company backed by management and technology-focused business investment firm Accel-KKR. Valentine was supported on this deal by associate directors Caroline Drummond and Mike Freer, who are noted as rising stars.

    National head of corporate Greg Leyshon advised the management team and selling shareholders of the Leisure Pass Group on its £35 million sale to Exponent Private Equity and Big Bus Tours, and private equity specialist Rob Wood advised all shareholders, including LDC and Octopus, on the sale of Clifford Thames Group to US trade buyer OEConnection.

    Other projects of note included India group co-head Jeff Chang handling Infosys’ £7.5m acquisition of Brilliant Basics and commercial lawyer Russell Bowyer advising Hyundai on the design and launch of its Click to Buy vehicle website.

    Banking

    Osborne Clarke has a strong reputation in the Thames Valley region and is a regular fixture among the main clearing bank panels as well as the panels of many of the second-tier lenders. Acquisition finance and syndicated lending transactions are key areas of strength for the practice, as are sectors including energy, financial services and real estate and infrastructure.

    Hugh Jones heads the team, which includes legal director Rebecca Scott, who regularly acts for clients including HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group, and Victoria Dingle, who is noted for her leveraged, project and real estate finance expertise. Recent highlights include advising RM, a supplier of resources, IT software and IT services to the education market, on a £75m facility provided by HSBC and Barclays for the acquisition of Connect Group’s education and care business. In an illustration of the team’s track record in real estate finance, Jones recently acted for Lloyds Banking Group on the £55m financing of housebuilder Bewley Homes Group. The team also acted for Santander on the financing of the Star Mayan group, which provides sterile linen and laundry management services to hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout the UK.

    Employment

    Osborne Clarke provides a ‘fantastic service, with very quick responses’ with ‘excellent industry knowledge for the technology area’. The firm has a strong following among US companies, with the firm handling many multi-jurisdictional employment matters, and has developed a particular focus on employment advice to the technology and digital business sector through collaboration with the firm’s Silicon Valley office. Experienced practice head Danielle Kingdon is ‘very responsive and always provides helpful and commercially astute advice’, with a focus on discrimination, maternity, TUPE and contractual issues. Kingdon advised longstanding client The British Standards Institution on a number of contentious employment matters and represented a leading consulting company on a sensitive grievance matter involving alleged bullying, victimisation and discrimination. Team members assisted with employment considerations in a number of corporate M&A deals, with senior associate Emma Ladley assisting lead corporate partner Rob Wood on LDC’s investment in Blue Bay Travel and Kingdon working alongside corporate team members based in Bristol on VTech’s $72m acquisition and post-completion integration with LeapFrog Enterprises.

    Commercial property

    The ‘first-class‘ Osborne Clarke ‘brings a London perspective and resource to the region’, with ‘an excellent and good value for money service’. Head of department Rebecca Tuffs handles all aspects of commercial property work, with a particular focus on servicing real estate finance and investment work. Tuffs and associate James Law acted for Halo Insurance Services on the acquisition of a new office location in Uxbridge and the negotiation of an agreement for lease conditional on the completion of the landlord’s works, as well as handling QinetiQ’s disposal of a complex legacy site in Weymouth. Elizabeth Sturgess (‘highly intelligent, focused and with a sound commercial approach’) focuses on housebuilding instructions, acting for high-profile clients including market-leading housebuilders, landowners and funds. Associate director Andrew Annette specialises in residential development and is currently acting for Rectory Homes on its executive development at Fitzgerald Park in Binfield, Bracknell.

    Technology

    Tech Mahindra, Virgin Media and Xerox are among the clients of Osborne Clarke‘s ‘outstanding team‘. Russell Bowyer heads up the technology practice in the firm’s Thames Valley office in Reading and advises sector clients including Hyundai, SMART Technologies and Vodafone on contracts, joint ventures, collaborations and outsourcings. Bowyer and Will Robertson handled DER Touristik’s cross-border acquisition of a brand reservation system from Atcore, and Bowyer also advised Hyundai on the design and launch of its Click to Buy vehicle web site. Corporate IT specialist Sara Valentine acted for the selling shareholders and the management team on the sale of CRM and client accounting software provider Reapit. Commercial litigator Peter Sheppard is the key figure for contentious IT matters, possessing experience in all aspects of technology litigation, and is the firm’s contact partner for the Redwood Group.

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