A cross-practice team led by partners Graeme Nuttall OBE and Neil Palmer advised on the buy-out of E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers Limited from Hunting Plc, a leading international oil and gas services company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
This transaction is notable because instead of a traditional management buy-out, the sale was to all employees using an employee trust. The use of employee ownership in a spin-out from a listed company is further proof that, following the 2012 Nuttall Review, employee ownership is establishing itself as a mainstream business model.
E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers has a rich 121 year history. The firm has around 180 employees and presently operates out of London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Houston. Following the buy-out, E.A Gibson Shipbrokers is now owned by an employee trust run on behalf of and for the benefit of all the company's employees.
The rest of the team included senior associate Jennifer Martin, director David Clark and trainees Fiona Morris and Alex James. Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna also acted in relation to the transaction.
Graeme Nuttall OBE commented:
"We were delighted to be involved in this precedent setting transaction, a further example of Fieldfisher's market-leading employee ownership expertise. The team has had a busy start to 2015, also helping City PR firm St Brides Partners, two firms from the architecture sector - Hayes Davidson and Stride Treglown – and others, in their transitions to employee ownership. It was a pleasure to work with E.A Gibson and we wish them all the best for their future as an employee-owned business."
Nigel Richardson, Managing Director of E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers, added:
"E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers has completed its decoupling from parent company Hunting Plc. Whilst this split has been most amicable, there have inevitably been complications, particularly given the 121 year history together. Graeme Nuttall and his team steered the E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers' team of myself, Graeme Brook and Allan Walker through the numerous legal hurdles and provided professional leadership resulting in the successful conclusion of the deal on 31 March 2015. Both Hunting Plc and E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers Ltd are delighted with the outcome."
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