Macfarlanes, FFW chosen to work on KRBS reorganisation

City firms Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) and Macfarlanes are advising on the proposed restructuring of Kent Reliance Building Society (KRBS).

Thompsell Nicholas
Thompsell Nicholas

FFW is advising KRBS in a deal that could see US private equity house JC Flowers pump £50m into the ­business in what is reported to be the first private equity investment into the UK mutual banking sector.

The firm was first briefed by KRBS in September 2009, when it was asked to explore ways to raise Tier 1 capital. While a company is able to raise capital by issuing shares, this route is not open to building societies.

Its solution is to transfer KRBS’s business to a ­subsidiary of a new provident society named Kent Reliance Provident Society (KRPS). The subsidiary, a bank named OneSavings, will then issue shares to a subsidiary of funds advised by JC Flowers, which will take a 40.1 per cent stake in the new business.

The FFW team is being led by corporate partner Nicholas Thompsell and includes partners Neil Palmer, Gonzalo Fernandez, Tim Bee, David Wilkinson, Nick Noble and Simon Briskman.

JC Flowers is being advised by Macfarlanes ­partner Matthew Blows. The deal is subject to a member vote and FSA approval.