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Technology sector poised for comeback with two listings; BLP lands CryptoLogic flotation
Hale and Dorr and Norton Rose are celebrating their roles on the first initial public offering (IPO) of a technology company for about 18 months. Hale and Dorr partner Richard Eaton is advising Wolfson Microelectronics, which plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in an IPO that could be worth as much as £300m. Hale and Dorr advised the Edinburgh-based chip-maker on fund raisings two and five years ago. Shepperd & Wedderburn advises the company on Scottish law issues. Norton Rose partner Barbara Stephenson has scored a coup by winning instructions from book-runner and joint lead manager Citigroup and the other joint lead manager Cazenove. Norton Rose was appointed ahead of other Citigroup advisers such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Lovells, Shearman & Sterling and Slaughter and May. The Wolfson float could be the biggest IPO in the technology and electronics sector for four years, since Thus, the internet business spun off by Scottish Power, raised £1.1bn in November 1999. Software house Marlborough Stirling was the last technology company to list, in April 2001. The deal seems to have kicked off a flurry of activity in the troubled sector. Canadian online gambling software company CryptoLogic has listed on the London Stock Exchange following earlier listings in Canada and the US several years ago. Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) head of corporate finance David Collins scooped the CryptoLogic mandate following advice that betting and gaming partner Hilary Stewart-Jones gave the company on commercial contracts and regulatory issues. CryptoLogic appointed BLP ahead of Dorsey & Whitney, which advises the firm on regulatory issues and corporate work in the US. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advised on the Nasdaq listing, although the firm's relationship with the company has lapsed due to changes in management. BLP is gaining quite a stronghold over the gambling sector. It advises William Hill, Casino-on-Net and Betfair, and has advised Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays on regulatory issues and lending to betting companies. McCarthy Tetrault partner Rob Brandt advised CryptoLogic's sponsor and broker Canaccord Capital, which is also a BLP client. Collins noted the enthusiasm that Canadian companies have for listing on AIM or the main market following marketing efforts by the London Stock Exchange in Canada. This listing took advantage of relaxed rules on requirements for issuers already listed in the US.