TJG breaks legal ground with flotation sponsorship

Taylor Joynson Garrett has become the first law firm to sponsor a company flotation on the Stock Exchange (SE) Official List.

The firm acted as both sponsors and solicitors to the placing of the shares of four-year-old Toy Options Group, valued at £13 million.

The flotation is another major achievement for the firm's corporate team, headed by ex-Stock Exchange legal chief Tom Mackay who joined the firm two years ago.

TJG became the first law firm to act as sponsor to a company from the Unlisted Securities Market (USM) eight months ago. Mackay, one of the partners handling flotation work, says: “This is a niche market in which we are well-qualified, and in which we can offer a high level of service for smaller companies.”

TJG leads the field among a number of firms seeking to take advantage of 1993 rule changes in the amended SE Yellow Book, which governs flotations. The amended rules, which Mackay helped draft, allow solicitors and accountants to act as sponsors for the first time, and so compete with banks and stockbrokers.

The Toy Options flotation is the more significant, as it involves more work by the flotations team.

Since it was decided to close the USM several years ago, the new rules aimed to make it easier for the 220-odd USM companies to obtain a full listing. A full flotation by solicitors was thought to be harder, because most firms lack fund-raising or financial “placing power”.