Gowling WLG advises Williams F1 on disposal of majority interest in Williams Advanced Engineering to private equity firm EMK Capital

13 January 2020

Gowling WLG has advised key client Williams F1 on its disposal of a majority interest in its subsidiary, Williams Advanced Engineering Limited ("WAE"), to funds controlled by EMK Capital ("EMK"). Williams F1 will continue to retain a significant minority stake in WAE.

Williams F1 established WAE in 2011 as an embryonic start up. It has since grown this to a business with many clients across multiple sectors and a workforce of more than 300 people based at Grove in Oxfordshire. 

This transaction encompassed not just core sale and purchase elements but the more future-looking partnering aspects covering key matters. This includes governance and control of WAE, commercial services agreements, branding and property, reflecting the continuing relationship anticipated between WAE and the wider Williams Group.

Mark Biddle, general counsel at Williams F1, said: “Gowling WLG manned this complex, multi-faceted transaction with a first class, highly responsive team. Advice was not only of a high calibre, but also practical and commercial and this proved critical in allowing us to close the transaction within the condensed timeframe available.”

Gowling WLG Corporate partner Stuart Young (also Williams F1 client partner), who led the transaction, said: "We were delighted to work with Williams on such an important transaction for them and which has generated important funds for the Williams Group.

"This was a challenging transaction in many ways given the speed of execution required, the fact that Williams would retain a stake in WAE and the broader partnering arrangements that necessitated a broad team of specialists (often dealing with some highly technical aspects). It was therefore fantastic to be able to achieve the desired outcome within the permitted timetable. This was testament to some very hard work by a number of members of the team and it was also very rewarding to showcase our capabilities across a broad range of legal disciplines."

Besides Stuart, the Gowling WLG team was made up of Max Moore (Principal Associate, Corporate); Lottie Brewster (Associate, Corporate); Charlotte Catton (Trainee Solicitor, Corporate); Alexi Markham (Principal Associate, Commercial), Charlotte Swift (Associate, Commercial); Luke Kempton (Partner, IP), Christopher Freeth (Principal Associate, IP), Daniel Phillips (Trainee Solicitor, IP), Tom Rank (Principal Associate, Tax); and Phil Clissitt (Partner, Real Estate) and Kristian Rogers (Partner, Public Companies).

EMK was represented by Vedder Price LLP.

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