Camerons, Linklaters secure work on Wellcome Trust bond issue

CMS Cameron McKenna and Linklaters are working on the final stages of the landmark bond from the Wellcome Trust, the first of its kind in the UK market.

The proposed £500m note is the first corporate-style bond issue by a not-for-profit organisation in the UK.

The Wellcome Trust is hoping to attract pension funds through the 30-year fixed-rate note, which received a triple-A rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The note is guaranteed by the trust’s assets, which are valued at around £13bn.

Camerons corporate partner Niall McAlister and capital markets partner Jason Harding advised the Wellcome Trust, working closely with group legal counsel John Stewart.

McAlister told The Lawyer: “This is a groundbreaking transaction for a charitable organisation. Trusts aren’t legal entities, so we had to deal with that issue as well as liaising with the Charity Commission to make sure everybody was comfortable with the bond.”

The lawyers also had to establish a special purpose vehicle called Wellcome Trust Finance to issue the note. Roadshows took place last week and the bond was expected to be issued as The Lawyer went to press.

Camerons has a longstanding connection with the Wellcome Trust dating back to the trust’s inception in 1936, when Cameron Markby Hewitt was instructed to act on Sir Henry Wellcome’s will.

Linklaters partner Jane Brown, assisted by Anna Ngan and Grace Oon, acted for the joint bookrunners, Barclays Capital, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.