Allen & Overy assembled a firm-wide team to advise on the complicated structuring of this deal – one of the most unusual it has undertaken out of its financial services and investment structures group.
Bear Stearns is an established client of Allen & Overy. This piece of work came in through corporate partner Andrew Baltheimer in New York when he heard the investment bank was looking to set up a fund in Europe.
The venture capital fund is rare because the investment bank is working alongside Virgin Media to run it, with former BBC director-general Lord Birt having been appointed as non-executive chairman. The regulatory aspects of bringing the three parties together, as well as the tax, corporate and private client issues, led to the deal taking more than six months to complete.
The financial services and investment structures group, part of the banking department at Allen & Overy, has focused on investors rather than fund managers, although both are serviced.
This euro150m (£86.4m) new media venture capital fund was set up as an English limited partnership, in line with UK Venture Capital Association guidelines, with Bear Stearns acting as investment manager. Virgin Media will provide consultative and deal-flow assistance in respect of the fund.