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Chicago firm's London office wins instruction from film finance company
The London office of Chicago firm McDermott Will & Emery is advising film finance company IAC Holdings on its flotation on AIM. The company has issued a pathfinder prospectus and expects to complete its listing by today (6 August) by way of a reverse takeover of AIM-listed investment vehicle Advance Capital Invest. The company is expected to be valued at around £40m after the listing and will be renamed IAC Film Group. Investment bank Beeson Gregory issued the prospectus on Advance Capital Invest's acquisition of IAC and fundraising for the enlarged group. Beeson Gregory is being advised by Osborne Clarke. The deal is the first that McDermotts has done for IAC Holdings after scooping the work through tax partner Tim Sanders. He joined the firm in February from Theodore Goddard, where he was head of tax, and it was his contact with IAC chief executive officer Keith Cousins that won the instruction. Cousins used to be a lawyer at Theodore Goddard, and asked McDermotts to pitch against three other firms for the work in the spring. The McDermotts team is being led by senior partner and head of corporate William Charnley. He said: "We were asked to pitch and tell them all about our prowess in reverse takeovers and flotations, and in the sorts of business that they're in." IAC is based in London, Los Angeles and New York and is an integrated film and television development, finance and international sales agency business. It is involved in raising third-party finance and acts as a worldwide sales agent on independently produced films. Since 1998 it has sourced approximately $70m (£49.1m) from third parties for over 17 films and television programmes, including Nora, which starred Ewan McGregor, and Shiner, starring Michael Caine. McDermotts has done a lot of film finance work through corporate partner Robert Rakison and media rights work through partners Phillip Rees and Rafi Azim-Khan. IAC is one of the first film financiers to list in the UK. Charnley said: "They [film finance companies] tend to be very individualistic and entrepreneurial, and to put together something significant over here is rare because most film production's done over in the States." The London office is advising on all aspects of the deal, including employment, tax, share options and intellectual property advice. Advance Capital Invest is being advised by McGrigor Donald. Charnley recently advised SG Securities on the proposed AIM listing by Chapada Diamonds, whose pathfinder prospectus was issued in June but whose listing has been delayed until September. He also acted on the listings of Inflexion, Brainspark and Domino's Pizza last year.