Herbert Smith advises e-bank

Herbert Smith and Irish firm Arthur Cox are advising on what they claim will be the first global online bank.

Herbert Smith, in conjunction with Spanish law firm Uria & Menendez, is advising Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and the largest European and South American-quoted internet company, Terra Networks.

The bank and the internet company are forming Uno-e, which will merge with existing Irish internet financial services company First-E. Arthur Cox is advising First-E.

The online bank created will be called Unofirst. Its value is estimated to be £1.5bn.

The Herbert Smith team acting on the deal is led by corporate partner Chris Parsons. His assistants are Brian Scott and Camilla Sacrini.

Kathleen Garrett and Padraig O'Riordan are leading the team from Arthur Cox.

They are assisted by Brian O'Gorman.

Partner Jose Perez Santos is leading the Uria & Menendez team. Teresa Paz-Ares is his assistant.

Parsons says: “Unofirst is the first global online bank. I think a lot of banks are declaring their internet intentions, such as Barclays. But this is the first one that has done it on a global scale.”

Eugene McCague, managing partner of Arthur Cox, says: “This is a very significant deal. It is likely to have a considerable impact on traditional banks because here was a relatively low-profile company, First-E, which has gone into merger with BBVA, the second largest bank in the Eurozone.

“This may lead to other strategic alliances and mergers between traditional banks and internet companies. Lawyers will soon have to engage with these new types of businesses and the law that goes with them.”