Simmons steers Ministry of Defence through £257m QinetiQ share sale

Simmons & Simmons advised the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the £257m sale of its entire ­ordinary shares in defence technology ;company ­QinetiQ.

The sale was the final stage of a process that was first announced as part of the Strategic Defence Review in 1998.

Simmons has advised the MoD on the QinetiQ PPP since the launch of the review, including on deals such as QinetiQ’s £1.3bn IPO. This is despite the firm’s projects practice being ditched from the Government panel in 2006.

Simmons partner Chris Horton, who co-led the team on the shares sale, said the MoD will retain its share in QinetiQ. The special share allows the Government to veto any buyout of QinetiQ ;by ;overseas investors ;due ;to ;the ­conglomerate’s access to sensitive information.

Horton said the banks involved on the block trade of shares used their in-house legal teams on the deal.

The banks included Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Cazenove and Merrill Lynch.
“The ;documentation ­didn’t have to be drafted from scratch so the banks could do it in-house,” said Horton.

Partner Richard May co-led the Simmons team with Horton. Partner Daniel Winterfeldt provided US securities advice.