Freshfields and OC scoop key roles on Friends Reunited deal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Osborne Clarke have scooped roles on the acquisition of community website Friends Reunited by television broadcaster ITV.

Freshfields acted for ITV having won its first instruction from the broadcaster earlier this year when it de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange.

Corporate partner Simon Marchant, who led the Freshfields team, told The Lawyer: “There is a lot of interest around the internet at the moment. These companies are no longer start-ups but high value businesses.”

ITV will pay up to £175m for the website. This includes an initial payment of £120m followed by up to £55m after three years depending on EBITDA performance. The purchase is being funded through a combination of cash, loan notes and ITV shares.

Marchant’s team which included IP partner Chris Forsyth. ITV general counsel Andy Griffiths was also deeply involved in the deal. Osborne Clarke corporate partner Adrian Bott acted for Friends Reunited.

Osborne Clarke also advised Friends Reunited on its acquisitions of Sydney-based “schoolfriends.com” and of Top Dog Jobs and the 1901 Census business earlier this year.