Chris Towle

Chris Towle helps clients to stay in control of their acquisitions, disposals, restructurings, strategic investments and joint ventures, in order to ensure that they are successfully delivered while maximising value and minimising risk.

While Chris regularly advises on all forms of corporate transactions, restructurings and governance, he has particular experience in major corporate restructurings, private equity and indirect real estate (specifically complex corporate transactions involving real estate assets and property-rich companies).

Chris' clients benefit from his deep appreciation and experience of cross-border transactions. The majority of his work involves international corporates, funds or other cross-border elements and so, while he advises on English law, he is well used to managing teams of lawyers in Europe and beyond, and coordinating work streams in multiple jurisdictions, in order to deliver integrated cross border advice and to ensure a consistent approach to the delivery of that advice, no matter where a client is doing business.

A firm believer in hard work, proactivity and responsiveness, Chris aims to make the whole process as efficient and painless as possible for his clients and to work in a way that genuinely compliments and responds to their needs.

Chris enjoys spending time getting to know the people within his clients' organisations and immersing himself in their businesses in order to genuinely understand their culture, business needs and the way that they operate. In doing so he strives to work alongside his clients, as an extension of their wider team, in order to offer the most appropriate commercial and legal advice and expertise.

As well as heading up the firm's UK sales team alongside our senior partner, Chris sits on the firm's US desk and works closely with our US clients and contacts on a wide range of transactions, spending several weeks each year in Washington and Philadelphia. Both are roles which he greatly enjoys and which enable him to build strong relationships with UK and US based organisations, promoting the firm and assisting with winning high-profile new clients.

Highlights

From 2011 to 2013, at times on an almost daily basis, Chris led our team advising on the UK aspects of an £18 billion global restructuring for a US-led major corporate client. The restructuring spanned 35 jurisdictions, three consecutive years, and as well as requiring a great deal of technical expertise, also called for an extremely significant amount of project management and cross-border interaction. Of the 35 jurisdictions involved, only the UK end was delivered on time and on spec – something which both the clients and we were very pleased about. In the client's words, they demanded a lot and Chris delivered!

Another particularly challenging highlight for Chris was acting on behalf of a UK-based biotech company, which we had previously advised on significant funding rounds and biotech collaborations, in relation to its £91 million cross-border acquisition by a NASDAQ-listed US pharmaceutical corporation. The deal was highly complex and, as well as involving a UK scheme of arrangement, required wide-ranging international M&A experience and in-depth life science expertise.

One further example would be Chris' involvement, from start to finish, in the £1.2 billion restructuring and cross-border sale of various industrial and retail elements of a European real estate developer's business. The transaction required the team to work tirelessly on a daily basis for almost a year. The restructuring and sale completion meetings alone ran for almost a week and it was ultimately a truly firm-wide effort, pulling out all the stops to ensure a successful outcome.

Clients

Chris advises a wide range of global mid-sized and major corporates, private equity investors, fund managers, real estate investors and developers. Examples include JP Morgan Asset Management, Lloyds Development Capital, Hill & Smith Holdings PLC, the Cummins Group, Prime Public Partnerships and Harbert European Real Estate Fund.

Recognition

"Despite the urgency of the matter when we first instructed you it did turn out to be a marathon rather than a sprint. Chris stuck with us through some difficult challenges on the company side when it all seemed to us to be coming off of the rails but his calm measured approach always got us through."
In-house Counsel, Local Government

Experience

Leading the team which advised on the UK aspects of an £18 billion global restructuring for a US-led major corporate client. The restructuring spanned 35 jurisdictions, three consecutive years, and as well as requiring the requisite level of technical expertise, called for an extremely significant amount of project management and cross border interaction.

Working for private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital on several transactions, including its recent investments in leading lifestyle brand Joules and internationally recognised rimfire ammunition manufacturer Eley.

Advising JP Morgan Asset Management on several corporate real estate transactions, including the recent £82.5 million sale of Exchequer Court, London, to the Queensland Superannuation Fund and the sale of Capital Business Park to the Henderson UK Property Unit Trust.

Supporting FTSE 100 client Hill & Smith Holdings PLC on strategic investments, disposals and joint ventures, as well as providing advice in relation to general matters and corporate governance. Chris strives to act as an extension to the Hill & Smith team and to offer advice which shows a genuine understanding of the key needs and drivers within their business.

Acting on the £1.2 billion restructuring and cross-border sale of various industrial and retail elements of a European real estate developer's business.

Advising on a US$500 million collaboration agreement and equity investment in a UK-based biotech company, and the subsequent scheme of arrangement and reverse takeover of that company by a US-based NASDAQ listed pharmaceutical corporation.

Advising on the US$3 billion divisionalisation and restructuring of a UK-based energy group.

Advising on the sale of a healthcare focused corporate, specialising in the ownership of freehold or long leasehold interests of modern purpose-built healthcare facilities, to a real estate investment trust. As well as successfully delivering the primary transaction, Chris' in depth knowledge of his clients' business enabled him to ensure that it was structured and delivered in a way which enhanced the scope for both parties to explore opportunities to continue to work and collaborate together post sale.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2016

    • Career
      May2016
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, partner
    • Career
      2016
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, director
  • 2014

    • Career
      2014
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, director
  • 2013

    • Career
      2013
      Wragge & Co LLP, director
  • 2004

    • Career
      2004
      Wragge & Co LLP, trainee and associate