Jones Day and Olswang bag gambling IPO

Jones Day has cemented its relationship with investment bank Collins Stewart, advising it as nominated adviser and broker on WorldSpreads Group’s AIM listing.

Capital markets partner Giles Elliot and associate Sebastian Orton led the team acting for the bank. Most recently, the firm advised the bank on the listing of telecoms company First Communications, though the bank has also has turned to a range of firms such as Travers Smith, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Olswang in the past.

Olswang advised new client WorldSpreads Group on the listing, underlining its commitment to the gaming industry.

Earlier this year (The Lawyer, 29 January) the firm advised PartyGaming on the acquisition of assets and businesses from Empire Online and Intercontinental Online Gaming. Ladbrokes and Nine.com are also clients of the firm.

In the latest deal WorldSpreads, which operates in Dublin and the UK, listed with a market capitalisation of £18.9m.

Olswang corporate partner David Roberts led the team acting on the flotation, with input from associates across the employment and banking practices. Irish law aspects were handled by Dublin-based PG Flynn Solicitors.

According to Roberts, the flotation was significant as the company, which trades under a sports betting brand and a financial trading brand, took a hit when the entire gaming industry was forced to withdraw from the US last year.

“From our point of view this marks a nice twist to the gaming sector in the UK,” said Roberts. “The sector has suffered a lot since the fallout from the US position last year. Companies have been trying to do innovative things to help the sector recover.”

He added: “Non-US facing businesses like WorldSpreads that operate in an FSA-regulated environment give investors and clients the sort of confidence people are now looking for in the gaming sector.”