Fladgate LLP’s ‘first-class team’ provides the full spectrum of commercial contracts advice to broadcasters, hotel owners and operators, universities and sports governing bodies (national and international), among a broad base of clients. Team head Eddie Powell combines commercial contracts expertise with knowledge about related intellectual property, technology and competition law issues; his varied work includes technology transactions (such as IT procurement, supply and development), manufacturing arrangements and licensing agreements. In a recent highlight, Powell and Alex Haffner (an addition from Dentons in 2017) acted for Glorious Brands Limited in the negotiation of an exclusive distribution agreement with US-based Astral Brands Inc for the distribution in the UK and Ireland of beauty products under the PUR brand. In addition, Haffner advised Mermaid Conferences & Events Limited on an agreement with White Light Limited (WLL) for WLL to provide audio-visual and other services to customers using the Mermaid Centre in central London. Also recommended are Alan Wetterhahn, James Earl, Jan Hoppe (a recent hire from Gordon Dadds LLP) and senior associate David Quinlan.
Fladgate LLP, whose team is led by Grant Gordon, undertakes a wide ambit of purely AIM-related work for domestic and overseas-based companies, as well as NOMADs and brokers; its particular areas of sector strength are technology, energy and natural resources, and life sciences. David Robinson acted for Baskerville Capital Plc in its £1.8m placing and admission to the Standard list segment of the Main Market. Paul Airley advised PennPetro Energy Plc on its acquisition of oil and gas assets in Texas, and on its Main Market admission. Airley also handles Anglo-Canadian capital markets transactions. Avram Kelman has expertise in Anglo-Israeli matters. Nigel Gordon, whose experience of the AIM market dates back to its inception in 1995, acts for a number of companies that are dual-listed in the UK and South Africa. Senior associate Zehra Kofturcu is another name to note.
Grant Gordon heads the team at Fladgate LLP, which acts for clients from the sports and entertainment, energy and natural resources, technology, hospitality and hotels sectors, among others. Ian Brent advised a school communication service on its sale to a private equity-backed provider of educational software solutions; Julian Lewis acted for automotive component and system supplier Magal Group on its sale to Arlington Industries; and Graham Spitz advised Zouk Capital on its investments in Green Hedge, InstaVolt and Huddle. SME market specialist David Robinson, Alex Kaufmann, who is particularly experienced in cross-border M&A transactions, and Mythily Katsaris, who co-heads the firm’s India desk, are also noted members of the team.
Fladgate LLP is ‘developing an excellent reputation for fraud litigation’ and offers ‘comprehensive coverage in this area across the range of industries and sectors where civil fraud claims can arise’. The firm continues to represent Jean-Pierre Schenk in a CHf 3m claim against advisers who attempted to defraud him, defendants were served in Sweden and Switzerland and freezing orders imposed. Simon Ekins heads the team, supported by Sophia Purkis who is ‘an outstanding litigator; totally committed to her clients’ and has ‘superbly tuned antennae for the nuances of a complex fraud case and a vast talent for absorbing the detail of a case’.
Fladgate LLP is known for advising owner-managers of betting and gaming businesses on various corporate, financial and IT issues. Highlights included advising Saw Close Casino on the real estate aspects of its sale to Austrian based Century Casinos Europe, and advising Aspers UK Holdings Limited on a joint venture with Stride Gaming plc to set up Aspers Online Limited. Department head Grant Gordon advises on key licensing and regulatory issues arising from the due diligence process, and the ‘commercial, proactive and pragmatic’ Stephen Lewis specialises in property acquisition and disposal work.
Fladgate LLP’s disputes group includes pre-empting potential claims or defences; recovery litigation, including disputed security and enforcement; insolvency matters; fraud; and payment systems. Other areas of strength are mis-selling claims, including swaps; claims against professionals, including surveyors, accountants and solicitors; and disputes between banks. Representative experience includes acting for a financial services firm in the prosecution of its claim for commission against its former client, an international maritime group. Steven Mash is a specialist in civil fraud matters and Bree Taylor has acted for claimants in actions against major banks. Other names to note are Simon Ekins, Simon Brew and Alexander Wildschütz.
Fladgate LLP’s ‘excellent firm is frequently involved in major litigation’. The practice specialises in acting in complex, high-value disputes, which are internationally focused or sourced; and being largely conflict free, the department is able to sue most banks and act in financial services litigation. It acted for Castex Technologies in proceedings in the Commercial Court, brought by various hedge funds, which alleged rigging of stock prices in connection with the conversion of foreign currency convertible bonds. Simon Ekins is department head; the ‘switched-on and easy-to-work-with’ Steven Mash is ‘at home across the range of commercial disputes’; and Bree Taylor is ‘professional and shows broad-based thinking’. Mark Buckley, Alexander Wildschütz and Eugene Matveichuk are also highly rated.
As well as regularly receiving work from IPs including BDO and Begbies on formal insolvency matters, Fladgate LLP also handles more transactional work as highlighted by its recent representation of Privet Capital Special Situation Fund on its distressed acquisition of Vivid Toy Group from Phoenix Equity Partners. Bree Taylor regularly handles contentious insolvency work as a function of her broader disputes practice and is a key member of the team that also includes Jeremy Whiteson.
The team at Fladgate LLP advises non-Islamic banks on their expansion into Shari’ah-compliant products, in particular commodity murabaha and ijara lease structures. Head of team and investment fund expert Eleanor Leonard and Seetal Mohdi are recommended for their ‘invaluable knowledge of Shari’ah financing arrangements,’ as well as their ‘professional manner and patience when dealing with a complex structure.’ The majority of the practice’s work involves establishing Shariah compliant lending platforms and inter-bank or treasury documentation for clients, as well as advising large Middle Eastern and Asian family offices on loan facilities for residential and commercial property acquisitions in London.
With ‘a personable and practical approach’, Fladgate LLP is recognised for its strength in transactional work, often with an international element; it recently advised Penguin Books on the employment aspects of the sale of its travel guide business to APA Publishing. Build-a-Bear Workshop, Audiobloom, Parkway Entertainment, Opus Group and Soothe Massage are also clients. Taj Rehal leads the department following Nick Tsatsas’ departure to Keystone Law; client praise Rehal as ‘an incredibly practical and commercial lawyer who is very business focused and pragmatic’. Michael McCartney and Mike Tremeer are also names to note.
Fladgate LLP provides a ‘personal’ service and regularly acts on behalf of high-net-worth individuals, who are often high-profile, as well as their families and businesses on a range of complex immigration mandates. It also regularly handles human rights and asylum claims, particularly for individuals who are the target of politically motivated extradition. Sarah Gogan is ‘extremely personable, insightful and able to think quickly on her feet, creating appropriate recommendations and solutions for clients’. Kelly Whiter, who joined from PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP in 2017, is also a key member of the team.
Fladgate LLP is praised for its ‘excellent communication skills’ and the team regularly handles high-value claims for high-net-worth individuals and companies in disputes against solicitors, accountants and construction professionals. It also defends claims for clients such as Deloitte, the Medical Defence Union and Zurich. Team head Simon Brew acts for claimants and defendants in claims involving accountants, solicitors and construction professionals, and represented a Hong Kong-based company in a $1m claim against its former solicitors for professional negligence, breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. Litigation head Simon Ekins, Janet Keeley, Sophia Purkis, Jonathan Hibberts and Digby Hebbard are also key members of the department.
Teresa Cullen at Fladgate LLP is an ‘extremely safe pair of hands at the helm. She is empathetic and always tries to resolve cases amicably’. Cullen deals with high net worth cases with ease. Associate Anna Wakeling has an ‘excellent manner with clients’. The family practice ‘is going from strength to strength’.
Matthew Bennett at Fladgate LLP is ‘academically top drawer but also commercial and responsive’. Bennett advises UK and foreign individuals and their families on the management of their wealth and personal affairs with an emphasis on tax efficiency. Neal Todd heads the team. The well-regarded Todd acts for individuals, intermediaries and family offices in circumstances where the individuals have substantial assets. John Ford recently joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP. Clients include international trust companies, fund managers, individuals and families with significant personal assets, domiciled and non-domiciled trustees of family and charitable trusts as well as the personal representatives of substantial estates.
Fladgate LLP intervenes in significant secondary market PFI transactions, project restructurings and the development of energy and rail projects both in the UK and internationally. Infrastructure investment fund Innisfree appointed a team led by David Weare to represent its interests in ten education projects comprising 260 schools, namely with regards to disputes. Practice head Andrew Bessemer Clark is currently leading the advice to four project companies on their role in the updating of street lighting in Dorset, Islington, West Sussex and Nottingham to LED lights, and Alan Erwin assisted BTS Biogas as contractor with its EPC contract with Mapledurham AD for the development of an anaerobic digestion plant in South Oxfordshire. In the rail sector, Alan Woolston has been representing the Go-Ahead group in a range of construction, regulatory and contentious mandates regarding the delivery of new passenger service lines and a new station near Coventry Arena, among other projects.
Fladgate LLP has a particular expertise in mining transactions in Africa and Eastern Europe. In recent highlights, practice co-head Nigel Gordon assisted Xtract Resources with a capital raising by way of placing and acted for Papua Mining in its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of BGM Investments and a conditional placing to raise up to £2m. Tri-Star instructed a team led by David Robinson to handle a series of transactions to restructure its balance sheet, including the conversion of loan notes into equity, and Paul Airley oversaw Opera’s acquisition of Kibo Gold from Kibo Mining and the admission of the new group to the AIM. Senior associate Zehra Kofturcu is also name to note.
With a particular strength in corporate transactions in Africa and Eastern Europe, the oil and gas offering at Fladgate LLP is spearheaded by Paul Airley who recently advised Roxi Petroleum on the proposed merger of its key assets, including the BNG project in Kazakhstan. David Robinson assisted PowerHouse Energy with a £2.5m placing and loan note conversion, and Grant Gordon and Nigel Gordon handled Eco Oil & Gas’ admission to AIM and £5.09m placing. Also notable is consultant Neil Vickers who acted for Cantor Fitzgerald, GMP FirstEnergy and Stifel Nicolaus as joint bookrunners on a $40m accelerated bookbuild to enable TSX and SDX Energy to acquire the oil and gas assets of Circle Oil in Egypt and Morocco.
Fladgate LLP’s multi-disciplinary real estate group operates across property, finance and corporate real estate mandates and performs each of these services to ‘the highest professional standards’. Headed by Richard Reuben, the department is especially active in the retail and leisure sectors and has a varied corporate tenant client base. Of note, Reuben assisted Turner Broadcasting System Europe with its pre-let of 98,000 ft in a new development at Old Street. Further, Gideon Dabby-Joory advised Mindspace, a European co-working space provider, on all the property aspects of the opening its first facility in London, marking the client’s entry into the UK market. The team has acted for Odeon Cinemas for over a decade, and Mark Saunders recently assisted the client with the opening of a 10-screen cinema in Bournemouth’s BH2 leisure complex. Additional retail and leisure sector clients include Monster Energy Europe, Paul Smith, Beaverbrooks the Jewellers and YO! Sushi. In the investment and development space, Matthew Williams advised US-based Madison International Realty on the property aspects of its £200m acquisition of a 50% stake in the Paternoster Square EC4 campus. Also recommended are Amanda Hado-Bodfield and Stephen Lewis.
Fladgate LLP fields ‘experienced personnel, who know how to tailor their approach depending on the client, the other side and the facts of the case’. Alan Woolston heads the construction team, with expertise in hotels, energy (particularly offshore), rail and PFI/PPP projects. David Weare represented a substantial PFI fund on £30m worth of claims arising out of defects in the passive fire protection systems across 50 or more education sites. Digby Hebbard advised Chapman Lang Ltd and successfully resisted enforcement of a £160K claim over a refurbishment works dispute concerning a house in Central London; the case at Technology and Construction Court has refined and developed the law on breaches of natural justice. In the transactional space, the firm continue to advise Go-Ahead Group Plc, the owner of one of the UK’s largest collective transport franchises, on a range of construction works and professional appointments worth £70m. Hebbard led an instruction to draft and negotiate the £30m building contracts and associated documents in relation to the new Medicine galleries, groups entrance and Wonderlab acoustic ceiling for the Science Museum, South Kensington, as well as advising on the £50m new Exhibition Road Quarter project, the V&A’s largest ever capital project. Barry Hembling is also recommended.
Fladgate LLP has been busy in the high-rise development space, with Mark Harnett leading the team advising CNM Estates on planning matters related to the proposed £300m redevelopment of Tolwoth Tower; he also advised Manhattan Loft Gardens on the development of a 42-storey building with a hotel, 400 flats and 222 sq m of retail and restaurant floorspace.
Fladgate LLP’s ‘responsive, attentive, commercial’ team is led by Kim McMurray, who offers ‘client service par excellence: she is can-do, invested, and creative’. McMurray recently acted for Hodson Developments on the £150m financing of the acquisition and development of Chilmington Green, a mixed-use community in Ashford; other significant work for borrower clients included Gary Smith advising London & Regional on the refinancings of the London Hilton on Park Lane and L&R’s office building on Baker Street, and Seetal Modi assisting a property developer with the £42m financing of a historic site in the South East to be developed into housing. The team also acts for a number of lender clients, including Bank of Ireland, Bank of Singapore and Europe Arab Bank. Other key members of the team are Luke Morris, Jenny Sargeant and newly promoted partner Amanda Hado-Bodfield.
Fladgate LLP provides an ‘excellent legal service augmented by a real commercial understanding of the sector and client needs’. Thekla Fellas has expertise on the Electronic Communications Code and heads a team with ‘particular strength in substantial landlord and tenant disputes including the retail and leisure sectors’. Fellas is representing Point West GR Limited in a high-value service charge dispute at a building containing 399 residential units. Another highlight saw Alison Mould acting for the Trustees of the first Lord Brocket in relation to disrepair issues and various breaches of a tenant covenant at a Grade 1 listed estate. Tim Foley’s arrival from Clyde & Co LLP has bolstered the group which also consists of Janet Keeley who is ‘analytical, thorough and very robust’ and Jonathan Hibberts who ‘always goes the extra mile to deliver for his clients’.
Partner Richard Kaufman is regularly instructed by overseas clients, particularly form Israel, on the purchase of UK property and for advice on tax-efficient structures.
Fladgate LLP’s growing practice frequently handles athletics, boxing and cricket as well as football, and counts event management, commercial rights deals and corporate matters as particular strengths. Group head James Earl acted for London 2017 on corporate governance, funding agreements, insurance issues and regulatory matters relating to its delivery of the IAAF World Athletics and Para Athletic Championships. He also advised Sponserve on licensing agreements, including with the Premier League, regarding a new software solution to help clubs and governing bodies manage and deliver their sponsorship assets. In July 2017 the department welcomed competition expert Alex Haffner from Dentons; he brought with him clients such as the ECB, which he advised on selling broadcast rights in Africa to Econet.