Shepherd and Wedderburn’s corporate finance team has reported a busy first half of the 2020/21 financial year, supporting clients with strong and sustained deal activity despite the challenging environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm’s corporate finance lawyers advised on deals with a combined value exceeding £2 billion in the six months to 31 October 2020.

The team reported a particularly strong finish to the first half of the financial year, including completion of a number of significant funding deals for start-ups and scale-ups, indicating that momentum was beginning to rebuild following the initial market challenges caused by lockdown in the spring and early summer.

Notable deals during this period include standout transactions in the energy and technology sectors and capital markets, such as:

  • acting for Cairn Energy PLC in the conditional sale of its entire 40% interest in the Rufisque Offshore, Sangomar Offshore and Sangomar Deep Offshore (RSSD) Contract Area (including the Sangomar development) in offshore Senegal;
  • acting for Epic Games, a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology, in its recent acquisition of SuperAwesome, a pioneer in the ‘kidtech’ market;
  • acting as sole adviser to AIM-listed Bigblu Broadband plc in the disposal of its European satellite broadband business to Euronext-listed Eutelsat S.A., which required coordination of completion involving 11 jurisdictions;
  • acting on the takeovers of IndigoVision Group plc (acquired by Motorola Solutions, Inc.) and Glasgow-based life sciences company Collagen Solutions plc (acquired by Rosen’s Diversified, Inc.); and
  • acting for Five Estuaries offshore wind farm on the formation of the joint venture (amongst Siemens, a Macquarie-led consortium, RWE, ESB and Sumitomo) to undertake the Galloper wind farm extension project, which has a potential capacity of up to 353MW.

Commenting on the strength of the deals flow, George Frier, Head of Corporate Finance at Shepherd and Wedderburn, said activity had remained positive across several sectors, in particular technology and clean energy, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the late spring, there was undoubtedly a slowdown as transactions that were not on the verge of completion went into a holding pattern while diligence was re-verified and buyers and funders confirmed their positions,” he said. “Where fundamentals were strong and the core business was well placed to ride out the pandemic, we have seen some excellent valuations and strategic plays including by overseas buyers and investors. We have also seen a resurgence of fundraises for early stage/growth companies.”