Baker & McKenzie leads Cisco into first UK takeover
Legal Week Reports
Scottish firm Biggart Baillie and Baker & McKenzie have advised on the first UK acquisition by the world’s largest company, Cisco, of the £115m acquisition of Glasgow-based software manufacturer Atlantech. The deal, finalised on 1 May, is one of nine acquisitions made by the US giant this year, but is only its third takeover outside the US and is part of an aggressive European expansion plan.Biggart Baillie partners David Allan and Margaret Feechan led the deal advising long-standing client Atlantech, which has developed software to help configure and monitor network hardware, and had the backing of investors from Singapore (Vertex Technology), Scotland (3i and Scottish Enterprise), Switzerland (Vision Capital) and the US (General Atlantic Partners).Allan said the deal was “exciting, challenging and innovative, because Cisco had never done a deal like this before”.He said that while Cisco came to the deal with its own blueprint for the terms and conditions of any acquisition it was unfamiliar with how specific UK legislation and documentation would apply.In particular, he negotiated directly with any Atlantech employees who held share options to persuade them to accept the common US company practice of a vesting schedule – which prevents share options being cashed before working at the company for four years. He previously advised Atlantech on Cisco’s initial 10% investment in the company last July. “When Cisco bought an initial 10% stake, its intention was always to acquire Atlantech,” he said. Cisco has new premises in Glasgow, which is expected to be up and running in the next few weeks with a staff of about 100. Cisco instructed London-based corporate partner Charles Whitefoord at Baker & McKenzie. His team worked alongside Palo Alto-based corporate partner Therese Mrozek from Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, who advised on US law.
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