City firm Simmons & Simmons has won the position as sole European legal adviser for Nokia Ventures – a new media investor set up by the global telecommunications giant.
Nokia Ventures has been clinching a deal a month in the US, but has instructed Simmons to help it start making European investments.
It was set up by Nokia Corporation with a $100m (£63.5m) venture capital fund to invest in early stage ventures in the internet, e-commerce and new media sectors.
Simmons has just completed its first deal for the company, advising it on a £3.9m investment in the world’s first auction shopping service via mobile phone – dubbed 12snap.
Simmons corporate finance partner Charles Fuller says he won the client through one of his colleagues in the firm’s telecoms department.
He says: “The relationship started through Tom Wheadon, one of my partners in telecoms. Someone he knew from Nokia in the States before they came to Europe put us in touch with the head of Nokia Ventures. We went to meet him and got along well – there was no beauty parade.
“What has been very good about [the 12snap deal] is that it wasn’t an investment in the UK, it was in Germany, but they wanted us to be the lead legal advisers.
“I would hope that we will get a reasonable deal flow from them now, and we will be able to work alongside our other European offices on it.”
Simmons worked with Mark Hoenike of Feddersen Laule Scherzberg & Ohle Hansen Ewerwahn in Germany, who advised on the German aspects of the deal.
Dr Christoph von Einem of Haarman Hemmelrath & Partner advised 12snap.
Fuller says the firm has been getting a lot of private equity investment work in the communications sector, and that nearly all the corporate finance partners have been getting involved.
“There is a lot of private equity work out there at the moment, but it is not all of the high quality that this is,” he says.
The firm expects to get a deal every couple of months from the company as it expands its interests across the continent.
Simmons does not act for Nokia Corporation, and Fuller says that would mean a separate pitch.