Linklaters acts on Lastminute listing

Linklaters & Alliance has pulled off a coup by providing both UK and US advice on the listing of its first-time client

The firm clinched the deal to advise the internet firm – which specialises in last minute discounted bookings for everything from theatre tickets to international flights – on its initial public offering (IPO) on both the London Stock Exchange and Nasdaq for a reported £400m.

The Linklaters team is led by corporate partners Bill Hobbes and Bridgid Rentoul who are advising on the US and UK aspects of the transaction respectively, with principal support from intellectual property partner Anna Carboni.

Bird & Bird has acted for Lastminute since the company was founded in April 1998, but has had to make way for Linklaters on the IPO.

Graham Defries, a communications partner at Bird & Bird, says: “We advised on the letter of engagement with [lead manager] Morgan Stanley, but after that it said there was only one firm it would want to do the IPO and that was Linklaters.

“We remain its preferred lawyers, but Linklaters is very good at IPOs and we wouldn't want to claim the expertise in dual listings that it has. Freshfields and US firm Davis Polk & Wardwell are also reaping rewards on the listing.

“We have been supporting the IPO because we know the company inside out. After the IPO we will continue to do all its work.”

Davis Polk and Freshfields are acting for investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Simon Witty, a corporate partner at Freshfields, is leading the firm's team advising on UK aspects of the deal, with support from employment partner Jocelyn Mitchell, tax partner Tim Ling and head of IP Avril Martindale.

Lastminute was founded by entrepreneurs Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, who are selling up to 25 per cent of their stake.