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Lovells and global investment bank Lehman Brothers have teamed up to advise on their first ever AIM float – the initial public offering (IPO) of advertising agency M&C Saatchi.
The instruction was a coup for Lovells because, although the City firm has a long-standing relationship with Lehman, it has never advised the investment bank on equity deals.
Lovells corporate partner Richard Brown, who is leading the team advising Lehman, said: “Thanks to a number of high-profile deals, the profile of AIM has finally changed.
“AIM is more flexible in terms of timing so companies can get to the market more quickly. The ongoing reporting obligations are also less strict.”
Indeed Lehman, which acted as nominated adviser (nomad), broker and bookrunner on the IPO deal, is among a number of leading investment banks to gain nomad status in recent months, which it did so that it could take advantage of the boom in AIM flotations. Others include Cazenove, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. Historically, the AIM market has been sewn up by the corporate finance boutiques.
Travers Smith Braithwaite corporate partner Spencer Summerfield, who advised Cazenove on the recent Dealogic AIM float, agrees with Brown. He said: “AIM has gained more prominence over the past year or so because it has a number of benefits and can be used for funky structures, such as accelerated IPOs and part-private deals.”
Linklaters’ corporate partner Charlie Jacobs said a seller involved in an auction sale could persuade potential purchasers to offer a higher price by threatening to implement an AIM float instead. He said this is only possible because the issuer and its nomad have control over the timetable on an AIM float.
M&C Saatchi was advised by Olswang chief executive officer Jonathan Goldstein and the head of the firm’s corporate practice Tony Leifer.