Ropes & Gray Named Legal Business Finance Team of the Year 2017
Ropes & Gray has been named Finance Team of the Year at the 2017 Legal Business Awards, for the pioneering advice it provided the Virgin Media group on two ground-breaking financings: the first-ever issuance of receivables financing notes and the UK’s first ever handset securitisation.
In the first deal, which raised £350m, Ropes & Gray advised on the structuring of the first-ever issuance of receivables financing notes (RFNs). The RFNs are secured on accounts payable by the Virgin Media group, while the Issuer’s excess cash is lent to the Virgin Media. The structure is a significant development in the supply chain finance market since it allows corporates to term out their accounts payable until the maturity of the RFNs – in this case eight years.
The London-based Ropes & Gray team that advised on this deal was led by high yield partners Jane Rogers and Robert Haak, who act for Virgin Media’s parent, Liberty Global plc, on all of their high yield issuances across their operating businesses.
Separately, Ropes & Gray also advised on the first-ever handset securitisation seen in the UK, which provides up to £125m of ‘AA’ equivalent senior funding. As the first securitisation of this asset class in the UK, the deal posed a number of unique legal and commercial challenges and Ropes & Gray worked closely with Virgin Media to develop solutions to these issues while maintaining operational flexibility.
Ropes & Gray has also been shortlisted for the High Yield and Structured Finance & Securitisation Teams of the Year at the forthcoming IFLR Europe Awards, being held in London in April. In addition, both of the Virgin Media group financings have also been nominated as deals of the year, in the high yield and structured finance & securitisation categories.