Healthcare Enterprise latest in string of Norton Rose AIM deals

In the latest in a string of small AIM transactions, Norton Rose is to advise soon-to-be-formed US-based company Healthcare Enterprise Group on its flotation on AIM.

“It [AIM] is not an area we're particularly targeting,” said corporate finance partner Richard Sheen, who led the recent deal. “I think it's just that in the current climate there are a lot of smaller company deals around.” The firm has won a number of referrals for AIM work from brokers with which it has strong relationships, such as West LB, Panmure and Charles Stanley.

Other recent AIM transactions include the £35m flotation of Peter Hambro Mining, acting for the nominated advisers on the £25m flotation of Celtic Resources Holdings, and the £32m listing of Parkdean Holidays.

Healthcare Enterprise Group is being created through an acquisition by US-based Interactivity Group of London & Pacific Healthcare (L&P), a California-based private equity and advisory company to the healthcare industry.

Norton Rose is first advising Interactivity Group on the reverse takeover.

Interactivity is currently a cash shell which has been “dormant” for about a year, said Sheen. The company disposed of the main core of its business about a year ago, and current directors Rodger Sargent and Graham Perske have been looking for a suitable acquisition with which to launch a new business.

Sargent and Perske are serial entrepreneurs who have turned around a number of troubled businesses. The pair called in Norton Rose for the job, having worked with the firm on previous deals.

L&P provides investment and advice to start-ups in the healthcare sector.

Assuming that the takeover goes ahead (it is conditional on approval of Interactivity's shareholders, which is expected to be given, on 10 March), the new company, to be renamed Healthcare Enterprise Group, will go on to list on AIM.

The firm looks set to continue advising the newly formed company. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the management of Healthcare Enterprise Group and assisting them with the development of their business,” Sheen said.

Most of L&P's work has been US-based, although it is now looking to boost its international presence. “The company is looking to do more in Europe generally and in the UK,” Sheen added. “It's going to be quite an acquisitive company.”

The Norton Rose team also included employee benefits partner Nicholas Stretch and US securities partner Tom Vita.

L&P was advised by its in-house US counsel Kenneth Denos.