In 2010, Slaughter and May acted for Liverpool Football Club on its sale to New England Sports Ventures. With the national press camped outside our office during the fortnight before the deal completed, this was one of the most closely followed stories of the year - and an exciting experience for the trainees involved. Emma Whyte was one of those trainees. Here she talks about her role in the process.
What kind of work were you doing?
"Some of my earlier tasks included:
- assisting with drafting various research notes, which involved looking at specific areas of law relating to the sale of an entity to a purchaser when an insolvency event is looming
- assisting with drafting several sets of board minutes, including those used at the board meeting when the Club decided who to sell to
- preparing - within a short time frame - detailed memoranda on potential purchasers as they came into the fold. This was important because our team and the client needed an overview of new bidders as soon as they came to light
- looking for useful precedents to use in conjunction with the sale documentation
As the deal progressed, and work became more time-pressured, I assisted with various jobs including:
- compiling documents for meetings that would be used to evaluate the bids as the terms of the bids changed
- drafting further sets of board minutes to be used at the completion meetings
- drafting applications to the Premier League to obtain the required clearances for the new owners
On the day of completion, I also assisted the associates with finalising the sale documentation and ensuring that all of those documents were organised and ready for signature."
What was it like working on such a high-profile deal?
"Very exciting. The working day was a long one but, because so much happened within such a short time frame, time passed very quickly. Despite being tired, the adrenaline kept us going. Also, as a Liverpool fan, the deal was particularly special for me."
Did the prominent nature of the deal make you feel particularly pressured into getting everything right?
"It certainly helped me focus. At crucial board meetings it was really important to stay focused as it was essential that everything was well documented. The documents that were being drafted the night before were often scrutinised in court the next day, which meant that note-taking had to be meticulous."
Were you able to attend any of the court proceedings?
"Yes, I did get to attend court on one occasion to deliver some papers to counsel - it was great to experience one of the most interesting aspects of the deal. The courtroom was so full of reporters and members of the public that I practically had to push my way in to reach the bench where the Slaughter and May lawyers were seated."
How did you feel when the deal completed?
"Relieved and satisfied. We all felt a huge sense of accomplishment. The deal was signed at about 4pm on Friday 15 October. The team of advisers and respective clients were then able to enjoy a well-earned glass of champagne before the Liverpool FC chairman, Martin Broughton, and the new owner, John W Henry, announced the deal in our reception. It was quite a remarkable scene - I had never imagined that you could physically get that many people into such a small space! It was a great way to end a rather busy but exciting couple of weeks."Back to top