The frantic close of the football transfer window saw lawyers working late into Monday night on some of the Premiership’s biggest ever deals, including the £200m sale of Manchester City FC.
A Hammonds team led by corporate partner David Hull (pictured) represented the club in the sale, which was sold by former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra due to FA regulations after his assets were frozen following corruption allegations.
The same Hammonds team advised UK Sports Investments, Shinawatra’s investment vehicle, on its £81.6m takeover of the club last summer (TheLawyer.com, 22 June 2007).
A Shearman & Sterling team led by City-based M&A partner Laurence Levy acted for the buyer, Abu Dhabi United Group, which is a consortium led by Arab businessman Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim.
Teacher Stern partner Graham Shear advised Manchester City in the last-minute action relating to the transfer window, acting on the surprise transfer of Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.5m – the most expensive player in Premiership history.
Elsewhere, the sports practice at Brabners represented Manchester United on the protracted transfer of Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur for £30.75m, complicated by the last-minute loan of Man Utd striker Fraizer Campbell to Spurs.
Brabners also advised Liverpool on the transfer of Albert Riera from Spanish league club Espanyol for £8m.
“It was a late one,” said one partner who worked on the Berbatov deal. “Some people think it’s glamourous work because it’s football, but it’s still just ploughing through contracts long into the night.”
A Slaughter and May team led by partner Andrew Jolly advised Arsenal on the signing of French international Samir Nasri from Marseille, Welsh international Aaron Ramsey from Cardiff City, Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United and Francis Coquelin from Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC.
In addition, the firm advised Arsenal on the sale of Alexander Hleb to Barcelona, Justin Hoyte to Middlesbrough and Gilberto Silva to Panathinaikos, as well as the loan of Phillipe Senderos to AC Milan.