My son rings with a prank call
A partner in the corporate department of Halliwells Liverpool office, Jonathan Brown specialises in mergers and acquisitions.
This was his working day on Tuesday, August 14, when the Eddie Stobart deal was agreed.
6.30am: I woke up in the Hilton Hotel, Manchester, as I am acting for the shareholders of Eddie Stobart in a number of corporate transactions on which contracts are due to be exchanged later today. As we only finished at the other lawyer’s after 11pm the night before, I and my corporate colleagues Craig Scott and Matt Noon stayed over in Manchester.
7am: Skip breakfast and arrive at the Manchester office of Addleshaws who, with us, are the main lawyers on the transaction. In total, there are seven firms of lawyers in England and three in Guernsey working on the deal.
7.15am: Matt, Craig and I go through what needs to be done and how we will divide the tasks up. Over 400 documents need to be approved by the end of the day in relation to the transactions, and we have 20 lawyers in our offices in Liverpool and Manchester involved today.
9.15am: BDO Stoy Hayward inform us they are happy with the completion accounts and tax aspects of the documentation.
10am: First meeting with Addleshaws to negotiate and finalise outstanding points on a wide number of matters that goes well.
11.30am: As the Eddie Stobart Group is listing on the London Stock Exchange for the first time, a prospectus needs to be issued. A 118-page draft arrives and it’s time to start reading!
1.15pm: Just as I have finished reading the 118 pages, another 110- page contract arrives. Fortunately, this one is for Craig.
1.20pm: Craig has the last laugh as a 98-page contract for the sale of Eddie Stobart for £137m arrives. That one is mine.
4pm: Things are going well. The main contracts are agreed, but still a lot to do.
5pm: A problem arises on the intellectual property licence, so I arrange a conference call with my intellectual property colleague Nikki Ferguson. Eight people are on the call and within 50 minutes the licence is agreed.
6pm: Beverley Bentley reports on banking, a £105m facility, going well and confirms rumours that one of the authorised signatories for one of the banks involved has gone home and cannot be contacted is wrong.
7.30pm: Matt and Craig start to get nervous. As Everton season ticket holders, the away match at Spurs could be tougher than what we need to do to exchange contracts.
8.03pm: Best moment of the day. Matt receives a text message from his wife. Everton one-nil up!
8.30pm: My 10-year-old rings me with a prank call, but forgets to withhold his number, which gives the game away somewhat. I realise I have not seen him now for two days, but many people in their jobs have to work away from time to time and that is a fact of modern life.
9pm: Banking is agreed, but more importantly Everton are 3-1 up.
9.30pm: Real estate matters all sorted. Midnight finish is looking good.
10pm: Addleshaws kindly order in food, but I choose badly as the lasagne portion that arrives is minuscule. Craig and Matt’s pizzas are huge, surely they will take pity on me and share?
10.15pm: An issue arises. Six phone calls ensue. No-one has said the dreaded words “deal breaker”, but we all realise it needs to be sorted.
12.45am: A telephone conference with the Stobart board is held, which approves the solution to the issue. Everyone is happy, but it has taken 2½ hours, meaning my midnight sweepstake guess for exchange is lost.
1am: The prospectus is sent to specialist security printers. PriceWaterhouseCoopers go to the printers to ensure nothing goes wrong.
1.30am: We start signing, but there is so much to sign it will take some time.
2.30am: One of the transactions exchanges and Dow Schofield Watts corporate finance advisers pop in to tease they have finished their transaction first.
3.30am: PWC are on the telephone. The printers cannot read my writing on some new changes. I cannot believe it. Everyone else can.
5.45am: Arrive home.