Our Sector Focus

Our strategic sector focus sets us apart from our competitors and has helped us build a reputation for providing tailored, specialist advice.

We have focused on just a few key industry sectors for several years and have developed a reputation for understanding our clients’ businesses and for delivering innovative services that anticipate their needs. Our key sectors where we have a strong platform are:

Our sector strategy is a genuine differentiator for Simmons & Simmons and in recent years we have continued to focus on these key elements of our business. Everything we do is driven by a desire to provide a better service and greater value to our clients.

For our clients this approach means working with advisors who are fully focused on their sector, wholly understanding the challenges that they face and completely tuned in to their needs. For our lawyers, it means offering both legal and commercial expertise to clients.

Sector case studies:

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Asset Management & Investment Funds
BlueCrest
With over US$25 billion of assets under management, BlueCrest is Europe’s third largest hedge fund manager. Since it was founded in 2000, we have worked with BlueCrest in a range of areas, from funds, corporate and tax, to employment and IP matters.

When BlueCrest started the complex acquisition of Man Group’s 25.5% stake in the BlueCrest group for US$633 million, we were asked to advise them. At the same time, they also wanted to buy the remaining interests in the group owned by retired co-founder Bill Reeves. It was clear that these two acquisitions required in-depth knowledge of Bluecrest’s business.

A number of different Simmons & Simmons teams were involved in the deals, advising on corporate aspects of the acquisitions, loan and security arrangements, tax and structuring and loan notes. We also worked closely with other BlueCrest advisers to make sure the acquisitions went through smoothly.

Financial Institutions
J.P. Morgan Cazenove and Numis Securities
St. Modwen is the UK's leading property regeneration specialist. Operating across a number of property sectors, the company focuses on regeneration and the long-term development of commercial and residential property.

When the company wanted to raise around £49 million through a placing of shares, announced in February 2013, we advised the joint bookrunners, J.P. Morgan Cazenove and Numis Securities. This followed on from our role advising the same two companies on a firm placing, and subsequently placing an open offer in 2009.
LIBOR Committee
As the external legal advisor to The Hogg Tendering Advisory Committee for LIBOR, we’re working alongside the Secretariat from HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The committee’s role is to design and implement an open and competitive process to identify a new administrator to take over the administration of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Chaired by the Baroness Hogg and including senior market and banking figures acting in a personal capacity, it’s responsible for implementing one of the principal recommendations of the Wheatley Review of LIBOR, which the UK Government accepted in full in 2012.

This is a high-profile project for our lawyers that will have long-term implications for the financial services industry, so it demands extensive knowledge and expertise.
University of Hertfordshire
Students at the University of Hertfordshire will have more modern, up to date accommodation thanks to a uniquely financed deal that Simmons & Simmons is advising on.

This £190 million deal will be developed, maintained and operated as part of a 50-year agreement using a £145m index-linked senior secured unwrapped bond – believed to be the first UK project bond for a number of years. We advised RBC Europe Limited as bond arranger and Prudential Trustee Company Limited as security trustee and bond trustee in the deal.

As well as building 2,500 new accommodation units and refurbishing 500 existing ones, the scheme will provide new sports pitches, a campus gym, informal learning and social spaces and a new dedicated bus route. Phase one is due to be ready in September 2014, with the third and final phase completed in September 2016.
Life Sciences
GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, with an annual turnover of more than $40bn. When they were establishing a new $100m R&D centre in Shanghai – one of the first and largest projects of its kind in China – they chose Simmons & Simmons as their legal advisor, after a competitive tender process involving over 60 law firms. 
It was a highly complex project involving a variety of cross-practice work and a lot of collaboration between our Hong Kong and Shanghai teams. In fact, the advice we gave GSK covered a wide range of topics – everything from project and foreign investment approvals, preferential treatment for R&D centres,and environmental, planning and construction issues, to obtaining operating permits, IP ownership, and a patent filing strategy for inventions made in China and technology transfer. We also advised them on employment issues,an employee remuneration scheme for inventions, dispute resolution, competition law issues, collaboration and outsourcing agreements.
TMT
MTN Group

We’ve worked with MTN Group Limited, a multi-national telecommunications group, for a number of years, so when they wanted tosell over 1700 telecommunications towers in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, we were the obvious choice as advisors. 

The deal, with an initial payment of US$284 million, involved selling the towers to IHS Holding Limited and then leasing back space on them to continue to operate MTN’s mobile network. We have extensive experience of working on similar leaseback and infrastructure sharing deals, as well as over 20 years’ experience across Africa. We’ve also got a successful record of carrying out large telecoms deals for MTN. Drawing on all this experience, teams in our London and Paris offices ensured that MTN CMR and MTN CIV became the anchor tenants on the towers for an initial term of ten years.


NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, already held a minority interest in Kidsco Limited. In 2012, when they wanted to buy a controlling 51% stake in the company, they chose our London office to advise them on the deal.

Kidsco owns and operates the Kidsco channel, an international children’s TV channel available in 18 languages and present in over 100 territories on satellite, cable and IPTV platforms. Our advice covered the share purchase agreement and ancillary documentation, as well as the revised shareholders’ agreement between NBCUniversal and its remaining joint venture partner, Nelvana Limited (Corus).

This was a truly global deal – the companies involved were based in the USA and Canada, while Kidsco broadcasts across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East. This meant it was not only a large-scale project, but it also involved a number of complex challenges.


Telefónica purchase O2

When Telefónica made a recommended cash offer for the entire issued share capital of O2, it was the biggest ever cash deal in the UK, valued at over £17bn. Telefónica chose Simmons & Simmons to act on their behalf, in a process that involved every area of the firm. 

We advised on different aspects of the deal, including corporate finance, EC/competition, tax and banking. Such a large and complex deal meant we needed to build a close working relationship with Telefónica’s in-house M&A team in both Madrid and London – making presentations, producing documents and going to a number of face-to-face briefing meetings. This helped us to understand and adapt to Telefónica’s needs and culture, while making sure the bid met all the UK rules and regulations.

Involving a team of over 60 lawyers from four different offices, it was an exciting, challenging and highly successful deal – and one that led to a number of other projects working with Telefónica.