Bird & Bird heads into space with satellite deal for EADS Astrium

24 April 2008

International law firm Bird & Bird is advising EADS Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, which has entered into an agreement to acquire the innovative University of Surrey spin-out company, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). This is the first time the firm has acted for Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of longstanding Bird & Bird client EADS.

SSTL specialises in the design and manufacture of small and micro satellites. This landmark deal provides the financial and industrial resources required for SSTL’s expansion and future development. Subject to obtaining the relevant regulatory approvals, upon completion of the share purchase agreement, SSTL will be owned by EADS Astrium NV in The Netherlands.

SSTL is joining EADS Astrium following a decision by the University of Surrey to sell its majority stake of circa 80 per cent in the small satellite manufacturer. SSTL will remain an independent UK company with its individual brand following the agreement, whilst benefiting from access to the resources of a large corporation including design, manufacturing and test facilities. Astrium will benefit from enhanced links with the University of Surrey to support staff training and development, as well as greater cooperation and increased research on space technology and systems.

The Bird & Bird team worked closely on the transaction with Astrium UK's in-house counsel Alan Shaw and Robert Fairless, and with Marie Ravanel and Thomas Rabain from EADS’ Corporate legal department.

Corporate partner Matt Dennis led the Bird & Bird team, assisted by corporate associate Helen Down; commercial/comms partner Graeme Maguire with associate Richard Graham; environment/real estate partner Linda Fletcher with Amy Johns; banking and finance partner Brett Israel; senior employee benefits associate Colin Kendon and employment associate James Froud. Travers Smith acted for the University of Surrey.

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For more information please contact:
Derek Gilmour or Ben Girdlestone
Tel: +44(0)20 7415 6079 / +44(0)20 79826470
Email: derek.gilmour@twobirds.com or ben.girdlestone@twobirds.com

Notes to Editors

About Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird is a full service international commercial law firm with offices in Beijing, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, The Hague, Hong Kong, London, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm and Helsinki*

For more information on Bird & Bird please go to www.twobirds.com

* Helsinki office open as of 1 May 2008 (following a merger with Fennica Attorneys Ltd)