Good Result for the Bird & Bird Team

12 March 1999

The benefits of teamwork are evident today at leading law firm Bird & Bird. Its Sports Group advised The Football Association (The F.A.) on the acquisition of Wembley Stadium and its related assets by the English National Stadium Company (ENSDC) - a wholly owned subsidiary of The F.A.

After a number of delays, including a campaign by three non-executive directors of Wembley to block the sale, the shareholders of Wembley plc voted yesterday by an overwhelming majority to approve the sale to ENSDC, who was separately advised by Masons solicitors. Formal completion of the sale is expected to take place on Monday 15 March.

But it was not only Bird & Bird's Sports Group that was involved. As with many deals in this increasingly sophisticated market, a broad range of expertise was required in order to secure the best deal for the home of football.

The financing for the acquisition price of £103 million was provided by a £120 million Lottery Grant from the English Sports Council. Bird & Bird's Banking Group advised on the terms of the Grant Agreement and the supporting security documentation. The balance of the Lottery Grant will be used (among other things) to fund an application for planning permission for the construction of a new national sporting stadium on the Stadium site.

Advice on the tax structuring of the acquisition and the Lottery funding was provided by Bird & Bird's Tax Group and accountants Deloitte & Touche.

Commenting on the deal, Felicity Reeve, partner in Bird & Bird's Sport Group said: "We are very pleased with the outcome of the deal and with the boost that the new Stadium will give the 2006 World Cup bid.

"One of the Sports Group strengths is the ability to draw on the expertise of other Groups in the Firm, especially in the more complicated deals. We find that we can provide the best advice in the quickest time - an important factor in any commercial transaction."

Key Bird & Bird personnel on the project are Justin Walkey and Felicity Reeve in the Sports Group, Trystan Tether in the Banking Group and Richard Ward advising on tax.

For more information on Bird & Bird, please contact Larry Cattle on + 44 (0) 20 7415 6156.