A dozen Olswang lawyers, including senior partner Simon Olswang, were treated to a night on the town by DJ Chris Evans last week after he pulled off his takeover of Richard Branson's Virgin Radio.
According to Evans, the team set off for a celebratory pub crawl in matching pink shirts which soon became stained with vodka and tomato juice – but Simon Olswang would only say: “If we were wearing pink shirts I didn't notice.”
For £85m, Evans' Ginger Group scooped the radio company from under the nose of Capital Radio, whose earlier £87.5m bid had been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
Olswang led a team of 12 lawyers and the firm unusually acted as corporate financier as well as legal adviser for Evans, getting Apax Partners to back Evans with a £23m equity stake and convincing Banque Paribas to provide a £42.5m loan. Part of the team's job was to convince City sceptics that Evans had a cool business head.
Denton Hall partner Lynn McCaw, who acted for Apax Partners, said: “He [Evans] does have more to him than originally meets the eye…How much remains to be seen.”
She said Evans had been “put through his paces” by the Apax board and Virgin, with them asking him some “tough questions…so that they were satisfied he wasn't just a flake”.
But McCaw added: “You have to balance the usual controls that you seek in the operation of a financial scheme against the need to give Evans artistic room. It was a new experience for us as lawyers.”
Corporate partner Julian Long led the Freshfields team advising the unsuccessful Capital Radio. Corporate partner Kevin Tufnell at Macfarlanes represented Virgin in the initial talks with Capital and then later in the talks with Evans.