£70m Truphone Investment
08 Feb 2013
Simmons & Simmons Supports Truphone on Pace-Setting £70m Mobile Telecoms Deal
Simmons & Simmons has advised Truphone, the international mobile telecoms company, on a £70m investment in the company by Roman Abramovich. The funds will be used to increase headcount by around 500 in the next 18 months, continue its innovative product development programme and finance the opening of businesses in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Poland, Germany and Spain.
Truphone's service currently works in 220 countries and is available as a local service in the UK , USA and Australia. This means that, through Truphone's unique technology, travellers in the US, the UK and Australia are able to use a mobile to call, text and access the web at local rates without having to change handset or SIM card. 2011 brought a change in management and fresh funding driven by new investment from Alexander Abramov which has now been supplemented with Roman Abramovich taking a 23.3% stake for £70m.
This new investment round was led by Truphone’s General Counsel, Gregory Mappledoram with the support from Simmons & Simmons’ ICT partner Tom Wheadon and his colleagues.
Simmons & Simmons provides general support to Truphone in two distinct ways, by providing legal advice in relation to MVNO Agreements, customer contracts, global commercial agreements, share schemes to incentivise employees, acquisition structures and documentation and debt and equity fund raising documentation; and providing a wide range of supporting services including introductions to other service providers and Trade Associations, training and office space for off-sites and other business gatherings.
Led by ICT partner Tom Wheadon, the Simmons & Simmons team providing support to Truphone in these two ways has included Andrew McMillan and Lesley Olsen (Corporate), Alexander Brown and Lawrence Brown (Data Protection and Commercial), Phil Abbott (Banking) and Monica Ma (Employee Incentives) in the UK and colleagues from France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Dubai and Hong Kong. The team worked closely with lawyers in other countries where Simmons & Simmons does not have offices such as in the US and Australia.
Gregory Mappledoram, said: “Truphone has overcome many challenges. From protecting its IP, building its network and incentivising its employees, to meeting the constant need to raise and manage carefully the funds required to bring it to profitability. These issues are not uncommon for early stage technology companies, but in addition as our business is international we have had to address the impact on these issues of variable law, regulation and policy as we go from country to country, and of course by its nature that will change over time as the markets in each country develop.
“Simmons & Simmons has provided an excellent legal service, with a full range of legal skills available domestically and internationally. However what has distinguished their service is that these guys really understand the business, take the time to listen to my requirements and it has been great fun working with them. I have always found the team responsive, creative and solutions driven - it really makes a difference having support from people who are reliable and on top of their game, as it makes it an enjoyable experience working with them.”
“For this £70m investment transaction it was great to have Simmons & Simmons available to support me as I engaged with the new investor. I found I could readily draw on their specialist advice and wider resources to help get the job done properly, rapidly and cost effectively.”
Commenting on the transaction, Tom Wheadon said: “Truphone is a great example of how new technology continues to be developed successfully even in the face of a severe economic downturn. This investment sets the pace for others seeking to generate the social and economic benefits that can come from the creative technology sector.”
“Gregory Mappledoram has shown remarkable levels of stamina and resilience to patiently work his way through a very wide range of complicated and demanding issues. We have been delighted to work alongside him and his colleagues. The business finds itself in good shape and with a very exciting future ahead of it. We wish it every success,” he added.
Notes to editors:
1. Founded in 2004 by serial British entrepreneur, James Tagg, Truphone’s services are particularly attractive to financial services companies as it has an associated call recording service designed to assistance such firms meet their regulatory requirements. The company has been through a number of funding rounds to support the development of its application software and mobile communications network infrastructure from scratch and the establishment of the necessary MVNO relationships to enable it to provide its expanding global mobile service.
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