Amstrad turns to Herbies for BSkyB takeover

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Herbert Smith have landed key roles advising on BSkyB’s purchase of Sir Alan Sugar’s Amstrad.

The proposed £125m cash acquisition sees Herbert Smith acting for Amstrad, although the firm has longstanding relationships with both companies. It is understood that Amstrad was the first client to contact the firm.

As a result BSkyB, whose wholly-owned subsidiary Sky Digital Supplies is buying Amstrad, turned to A&O, which has acted for the company in the past. Last year, the firm represented BSkyB when it bought £940m of ITV’s shares (, 22 November 2006).

At Herbert Smith, corporate partner Mike Kingston led the Amstrad team. He said the expectation is that the deal will go through without any hitches.

“Sir Alan has a 28 per cent interest in Amstrad through his holding company Amshold,” said Kingston. “Amshold has given an irrevocable undertaking to accept the offer and almost 45 per cent of shareholders have already indicated that they are in favour of the acquisition.”

Kingston was assisted on the deal by corporate associate Bob Moore, while tax partner Derek Hill acted alongside associate Russell Berry.

Kingston recently advised Amshold on the disposal of its remaining share interest in Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

At A&O the team representing BSkyB was led by corporate partner Richard Hough, alongside associates Seth Jones and Katherine Chainey.

The reason for BSkyB making the acquisition is to save money through having an in-house design and development capability. In the financial year ended 30 June 2007, Amstrad supplied approximately 30 per cent of set-top boxes purchased by the Sky Group, which accounted for around 75 per cent of Amstrad’s revenue.