Goldman Sachs tip wins BuildOnline for Brobeck

Brobeck Hale and Dorr has snatched a client from under the nose of Taylor Joynson Garrett to advise on a £10m venture capital investment.

BuildOnline is an internet-based company that provides software for the construction industry. As well as the £10m financing by Swiss venture capitalist ETF Group, building giant Balfour Beatty has also taken a minority stake.

Taylor Joynson is BuildOnline’s usual legal adviser but the company drew up a list of City firms to work on the deal. Brobeck was a last-minute addition to the tender list after a recommendation from backer Goldman Sachs.

Brobeck has handled some minor commercial work for Build-Online in the past, but this is the first major transaction.

BuildOnline chief executive Mark Suster, who ran the tender along with head of legal Stuart Lander, says: “I didn’t expect to select them, but Stuart went through the criteria and Brobeck’s positioning, and the fact that they’d be with us from cradle to grave was unique.

“We felt that Brobeck had more experience in doing this kind of deal, and we had a belief that Taylor Joynson did have that going into the last transaction, but in the end we tendered to Brobeck. We weren’t displeased with the service [that Taylor Joynson provided], but we knew this one would be difficult.”

Brobeck is a US-based UK partnership, a joint venture between West Coast firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison and East Coast practice Hale and Dorr.

It specialises in providing full service law for technology companies and it has a host of high-profile new economy clients, many of which have survived recent market fluctuations.

Suster confirms that BuildOnline will continue using Brobeck on corporate deals as well as in other areas, such as intellectual property.

Brobeck partner Chris Grew led the deal. Nabarro Nathanson advised EFT, while Balfour Beatty was advised in-house.