Latham & Watkins acts for Ipswich FC investors

Latham & Watkins has won its way back into the burgeoning football club ticket receivables securitisation market after closing its second of only four deals.
The firm closed the £25m bond issue by Ipswich Town FC, advising the unnamed institutional investors in the deal.
All four of the receivables securitisations so far undertaken by UK football clubs – Newcastle United, South-ampton and Leicester City – were arranged by investment bank Lazard. Latham & Watkins London capital markets partner Bernie Nelson has a longstanding relationship with the bank.
Nelson also acted for the institutional investors on the £25m securitisation of ticket receivables for Southampton.
On this deal, Ashurst Morris Crisp international finance partner Michael Smith acted for longstanding client Ipswich Town FC.
Roger Finbow, head of Ashursts' sports practice, is also a director at the club.
The money raised from the securitisation will be used to refinance the building of the club's South Stand in its Portman Road stadium, which is shortly to be completed, and to finance the building of the North Stand, where work has just begun.
The club also plans to use the proceeds to add a restaurant, a supporters bar, an off-site training centre, a new indoor synthetic pitch, a retail store, new community and classroom facilities and a new ticket office.
The club has issued bonds, secured against ticket receipts over the 25-year life of the bonds, in two tranches.
Nelson said: “This is a relatively new type of transaction to use these techniques in the UK. There have been four transactions like this so far, using these techniques to finance either the construction of stadiums or the improvement of stadiums.”
He added that the firm is currently involved in acting on a fifth.
On the Newcastle deal the institutional investors were advised by Clifford Chance, while on Leicester they were advised by Coudert Brothers.
“On these deals they're structured as private placements so that the counsel that really runs it are whoever represents the purchasers of the securities,” said Nelson.
Latham & Watkins called in London firm Penningtons to advise on property and construction issues.
Nelson said: “These are very complex deals; you're talking about 15 principal documents that all have to interplay. A lot of it's the interplay of the cashflows and the revenue flows so that the club realises it's not going to adversely affect its ability to run the football club.”
This deal has taken around six months to complete, a similar length of time to the Southampton deal that the firm worked on.
The firm has lay experience of the type of deal, having worked on it in the US. In 1999, Latham & Watkins represented the arranging bank on the $315m (£216.6m) issue of revenue-backed notes used to build the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, home to the city's two baseball teams.