Partner of the Month: Stephen Smith

stephen smith

Firm: RPC

Position: Partner, head of competition

Age: 38

Stephen Smith won a pitch to advise Ofcom on the auction of 4G spectrums. Karen Hendy led the RPC team on the corporate side, assisted by associates Hui Chen Eagles and Oliver Hincks, working closely with Ofcom’s legal team.

What was your role on this deal?

On the corporate side we helped Ofcom conduct a prospectus-style verification of the memorandum that was published to provide information to interested bidders. On the competition side, we assisted Ofcom’s review of the legal framework underpinning the auction. We also reviewed the auction regulations themselves.

How did you win the mandate?

We understood that we were one of a number of firms invited by Ofcom to prepare a proposal highlighting our expertise for this mandate. Our proposal was particularly compelling given the experience I gained on spectrum auctions while a senior legal advisor at Ofcom in 2005.

What was unique about the structuring or nature of the deal?

While not expected to reach the dizzy heights of the 3G auction (which raised just over £22bn back in 2000) the auction will pave the way for nationwide roll-out of competitive 4G mobile services, offering data downloads at speeds up to five times faster than 3G.

What was the first deal you worked on as trainee or lawyer?

I spent a considerable portion of the first six months of my training contract holed up in an old-fashioned paper data room, working on the £1bn disposal of food group Rank Hovis MacDougall by Tomkins to Doughty Hanson.

What’s your most memorable moment on a deal?

The European Commission turning up to dawn raid a client only to find that were already there conducting a ‘mock dawn raid’ training session.

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