Norton Rose has completed one of its most complex media deals to date by advising on the merger of seven European Internet service providers.
The companies are forming a new group called EUNet International, which intends to seek a public listing on the Nasdaq Exchange in New York.
“This was a most complicated transaction given that the companies were spread around Europe, each within a separate jurisdiction,” said Keith Hyman of the firm's media group.
The companies decided to merge their operations after being linked in a loose Pan- European confederation, trading under the EUnet brand name. Until the merger, each group had been owned by a myriad of different shareholders in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Norway and Switzerland.
Hyman said that the move represented an attempt to consolidate in a market where big players such as Virgin and US phones group AT&T have announced plans to launch Internet services of their own.
Venture capital group Advent International has paid about £8 million for a stake in EUNet International.
Said Hyman: “This complex acquisition involved more than 40 shareholders around Europe and required local corporate and taxation considerations.”
The Norton Rose team was headed by Francis Sumner, a senior corporate finance partner, assisted by Jeremy Barton and Trevor Ingle.
Sumner said: “The injection of money from Advent gives the company access to new capital with which it can expand its business.”
Norton Rose's growing media group has advised on a number of high profile City deals which include the £2.9 billion merger of United News & Media and MAI.