Bird & Bird Advises toptable.co.uk on Deal With Diageo

30 September 2002

Innovative deal strengthens on-line bite

International law firm Bird & Bird, has just advised Europe’s leading on-line restaurant booking and advisory service, toptable.co.uk on an innovative deal with the world’s leading premium drinks business Diageo. The deal will lead to a significant equity investment in the business including various support services. toptable.co.uk’s other main backers include Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Rhodes.

Using the strapline, “restaurant booking with bite”, toptable.co.uk was launched only two years ago and at a time when many on-line business models were embryonic. Since then the business has defied subsequent downturns, operated a steady level of growth and has developed a powerful on-line brand.

The arrangement with premium drinks business, Diageo, which owns leading brands such as Guinness, Johnnie Walker, J&B and Smirnoff to name a few, will provide toptable.co.uk with invaluable expert support and resources to continue its impressive development. In turn, Diageo will gain from toptable.co.uk’s on-line experience, strong competitive position and entrepreneurial culture and will also open up new opportunities for its wine brands.

Bird & Bird advised on all aspects of the deal. Partner, Matt Dennis led the work assisted by Mark Cummings. Commenting on her choice of firm, Karen Hanton, toptable.co.uk’s award winning founder and managing director said:

“We went to Bird & Bird because we found that they have the right expertise in the right areas as well as providing a personal service, which is very important to us”.

Commenting on the deal, Matt Dennis added:

“This was an innovative deal because a leading on-line restaurant booking service has teamed up with a leading premium drinks business. It’s also an unusual route for Diageo and says a lot for the success of toptable.co.uk particularly at a time when market conditions are difficult. We were very glad to have played our part in this exciting new relationship.”

SJ Berwin advised Diageo.

For more information on this please contact Matt Dennis on +44 (0) 20 7415 6000 or Larry Cattle, Director of Marketing, on +44 (0) 20 7415 6156.