Simmons and in-housers advise as Abramovich invests £70m in Truphone

Simmons & Simmons has advised UK mobile telecoms company Truphone as Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich pays £70m for a 23.3 per cent stake.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich

Truphone general counsel Gregory Mappledoram told The Lawyer that he will double the size of his in-house legal team over the next 12 months as a result of the funding, which will be used to hire 500 extra staff. His in-house team currently consists of eight lawyers, with six in the UK and two in the US.

However, Mappledoram is in the process of hiring Truphone’s first Asia-based in-house lawyer in Hong Kong as the company is expected to expand into the region. The funding will also see the business open in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

The investment round was led by Mappledoram with the support from Simmons ICT partner Tom Wheadon and a team that included TMT head Andrew McMillan, data protection and commercial partner Alexander Brown and banking partner Phil Abbott.

Wheadon said: “This is a great example of what technology can bring for social and economic development. What we see here is a significant investment in a technology business in the depths of a recession.”

The legal adviser for Minden – Roman Abramovich’s investment outfit – was in-house lawyer Andre de Cort.

Background to this deal:

Truphone does not have a formal panel, instead relying on those it has a relationship with. Simmons is one of these firms, advising Truphone on corporate and finance work. Mappledoram has worked with lead partner Wheadon for almost five years.