Pinsent Masons advises Royal London on sale of Ascentric

Pinsent Masons has advised Royal London on the sale of its platform business, Ascentric, to M&G plc. Ascentric is a leading digital wrap and wealth management platform for advisers with assets under administration of £14 billion, around 1,500 adviser relationships and over 90,000 underlying customers. It has been part of Royal London since 2007.

The Pinsent Masons’ team acting on the transaction was led by Hannah Brader (Corporate Partner), Emma Dawe (Corporate Senior Associate) and Helen Siviter (Corporate Solicitor) and included Angus McFadyen and Praveeta Thayalan (TMT), Tobin Ashby and Matt Saward (Wealth), Alice Bell (Financial Regulation), Jon Fisher (Employment) and Jamie Robson and Rachel McConnell (Tax).

Commenting on the deal Hannah Brader said: “We are delighted to have worked with Royal London to successfully deliver this strategic disposal, conducted almost entirely during lockdown. This transaction reinforces our position as a leading firm in the wealth sector where we have advised on a number of the most significant recent transactions in the UK platform market, including advising Zurich on the sale of its UK Retail Wealth platform to Embark which completed in May.”

Duane Morris Joins Massachusetts COVID Relief Coalition

Duane Morris LLP has joined the COVID Relief Coalition for Small Businesses and Non-profits, a Massachusetts coalition of law firms, non-profits and government agencies providing pro bono legal support, access to emergency loans and other sources of relief to small businesses and non-profits impacted the COVID-19 pandemic.

Massachusetts small businesses and non-profits can visit covidreliefcoalition.com for access to free legal support on pandemic-related issues including real estate, tax and contractual matters. They can also apply for emergency loans and other sources of relief.

Coalition members include the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, City of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston Bar Association, The Boston Foundation, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Lawyers for Civil Rights and Lawyers Clearinghouse. Additional law firm partners include Brown Rudnick, Dechert, Fish & Richardson, Foley Hoag, Foley & Lardner, Goodwin, Goulston & Storrs, Kirkland & Ellis, Mintz, Morgan Lewis, Nelson Mullins, Ropes & Gray and WilmerHale.

About the Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team

The Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team is advising clients on all aspects of the legal issues and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic including contractual, employment, insurance and healthcare issues. Attorneys are fielding inquiries and providing advice in a wide range of areas, including human resources, travel and transportation, immigration and border entry, hospital and healthcare operations, medical and pharmaceutical supply, FDA, food handling and preparation, OSHA, ADA compliance, data privacy, HIPAA, environmental and EPA, international transactions, shipping, supply chain and logistics, financial reporting, insurance liability, real estate issues, including landlord and tenant matters, and all types of contracts and quasi-contracts.

Laka gears up for European expansion with latest $4.7m investment

Browne Jacobson’s corporate technology team has advised the founders of InsurTech startup Laka on raising $4.7m funding to fund the next stage of its growth strategy.

The round was led by leading venture capital firms LocalGlobe and Creandum, with Yes VC (the venture fund founded by Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, and Jyri Engestrom, co-founder of Jaiku and Ditto) and prominent angel investors, Nick Evans (Chairman of Rapha) and Oren Peleg (former CEO of Fitness First), amongst others, also investing.

The investment will be used by founders Ben Allen, Jens Hartwig and Tobias Taupitz to grow its footprint across Europe, establish its EU base in the Netherlands later this year and further develop its product portfolio. This will include a recovery and health product designed specifically to help cyclists who have experienced injury or accident to access the right services.

Founded in 2017, Laka specialises in insuring high-end bicycles in the UK and has developed a unique insurance model in which the cost of claims is split fairly between customers, with premiums capped at market rate for customer protection. Fewer claims lead to lower costs. On average Laka’s users have saved more than 80% compared to market prices.

Browne Jacobson’s London based team comprised corporate technology partner Jon Snade, associate Harry Pearson and senior associate Nicole Judah. Jon also led the team that advised Laka on its last successful seed round in 2018 which raised $1.5m.

Tobi Taupitz, CEO of Laka, said: “Cyclists should be able to completely trust their insurance providers – through our community-based approach, we are bringing our customers, many of whom have previously been ill-served by legacy players, a product that ensures fair treatment, trustability and transparency.

“We’ve seen a fantastic response from the British cycling community, who have become our greatest advocates, and we’re looking forward to launching Laka across Europe and beyond.”

Remus Brett, partner at LocalGlobe, added: “The beauty of Laka is it returns insurance to its pure, mutual heritage. Laka’s members and their shared interests incentivise positive behaviour which in turn benefits the entire community.

“These principles are over 300 years old, the difference being technology and increasing consumer awareness that traditional insurance models, with complex clauses, excesses and a painful claims process are fundamentally broken.”

Carl Fritjofsson, partner at Creandum, commented: “The word disruption is used all too often in the world of entrepreneurship, but with Laka it actually fits very well. This is a fundamentally unique and different approach that turns the old business model of insurers upside down.

“Laka truly improves the user experience 10x as well as lowers costs for its policyholders, all while providing a fair and transparent insurance coverage. What’s not to love?”

Jon Snade, concluded: “We are once again delighted to have used our extensive market knowledge and sector expertise to help Laka secure investment towards realising its growth ambitions outside the UK. Its business model is genuinely market disrupting and it’s a pleasure to support businesses that are truly innovative.”

Browne Jacobson has built a reputation for its innovative approach to delivering legal services to startups following the launch of the Grow programme in 2017 and which is tailored specifically for high-growth companies at any stage of the start-up journey. The firm works with over 100 high-growth businesses across a broad range of sectors but notably in InsurTech and FinTech.

NIKE, Inc. announces sale of Hurley to Bluestar Alliance

NIKE, Inc. announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to sell the Hurley brand to Bluestar Alliance LLC. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed and it is expected to be complete in December.

“We appreciate how Bob and the Hurley team have built Hurley into the world’s most innovative surf brand,” said Michael Spillane, President of Categories and Product, NIKE, Inc. “As we drive increasingly more targeted investment and focused growth through Nike’s Consumer Direct Offense, this change in ownership will allow sharper focus and intentional investment in Hurley’s growth potential.”

“We have always admired the Hurley brand as it has maintained its leadership role and premium positioning in the surf world,” stated Joey Gabbay, CEO of Bluestar Alliance. “This is a transformative acquisition for Bluestar as Hurley’s international footprint will enhance Bluestar’s reach around the world. We look forward to building upon the existing Hurley network and expanding to additional countries with the deep relationships that already exist within the Bluestar portfolio of brands. We see Hurley continuing to evolve into a 360-degree lifestyle brand, with action sports playing a key role.”

About NIKE, Inc.

NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE, Inc. subsidiary brands include Converse, which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://investors.nike.com/

Capsticks celebrate 40 years in business

Capsticks is delighted to announce that we have promoted two more lawyers, Tracy Giles and Gerard Aston, into the partnership as we continue to celebrate our 40th year in business. The new Partners represent two of the firm’s key practice areas, Contract & Commercial and Clinical Law.

Tracy joined the firm in 2009 as a solicitor and works with a range of the firm’s biggest clients across our core health business and private sector as well as within some of the emerging sectors such as emergency services. She provides complex procurement advice ranging from assisting with competitive dialogue processes and the establishment of frameworks to general advisory work.

Gerard, a clinical negligence specialist, joined the firm in 2011. His practice includes dealing with a range of high value and complex claims involving the most severe neurological injuries, he is also experienced in all forms of ADR including mediation and assists with the running of the Capsticks’ Claims Handling Service.

Senior Partner, Rachael Heenan, commented, “Both our new Partners live up to Capsticks’ ethos of being one step ahead and we are delighted to have such talent joining the partnership. It’s been wonderful to see them all develop over the past few years and I and the rest of the partners are delighted to see them moving into the next stage of their career with the firm.”

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.capsticks.com/

How to write a press release for your small business

The press release has been a mainstay of public relations since its inception decades ago.

And while it may seem a bit old-school to some, there’s a reason press releases have stood the test of time — they’re effective and produce results.

From generating media coverage to positioning yourself as a thought leaders in your industry, and ultimately help your business succeed and grow — there are a number of reasons why business owners need to learn how to write and distribute a press release.

Today, I’ll focus on part one of that process: how to write a press release.

If you’re trying to decide whether or not something warrants a press release, all you need to do is answer one question: Is it newsworthy?

For something to be newsworthy, it must be something that audiences outside of your internal organisation will care about; something that has significance to a reporter and their readers, viewers, or listeners, or to other external stakeholders (potential investors, etc).

Here are a few factors to consider when determining if something is newsworthy:

Impact: Who will this information affect? The broader and larger the impact, the more people will be interested.

Timeliness: Why does this information matter now? Does your news relate to or tie back to a significant “moment in time” or event of some sort?

Proximity: As a small business, this one should be easy to understand — proximity matters. For many small businesses or nonprofits, your news will likely matter more to local publications than to national ones, or publications that focus on other regions.

Name recognition: Clout that comes with big recognisable names (well know people, organisations, companies, etc) will likely increase the interest in your news. If you’re partnering with, or involved with a big name that might generate this type of attention, consider issuing a press release.

Now that you know when to write a press release, let’s take a look at how you actually do it.

Here, I’ve outline the four major components of an effective press release:

1. The headline

The headline should be attention grabbing and encourage the reader to want to know more, while also being explanatory. This isn’t the time to use vague language.

Formatting tip: Make sure the headline is written in bold and the subhead is italicised.

2. The body

The body of your press release should stay as concise as possible, while making sure to get all of the important information across in an engaging manner. Reporters that read your release aren’t likely going to have the time to read page after page trying to understand the news.

There aren’t really a prescriptive number of pages or word count. It can vary depending upon the information the release is covering. The key is to keep it concise and not overly verbose, but at the same time make sure that you have all the relevant info included. So, the length can really vary depending upon the announcement.

Here are other things to keep in mind when pulling together the body of any press release:

The dateline: Begin with a dateline of the city in which the press release originated and the date it was issued. This is especially important for small businesses that are distributing their press release to the local media.

Keep it factual: Your press release should focus on answering the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.

Factual doesn’t have to mean dry: While your press release should be as concise as possible and stick to the facts, it doesn’t have to be as dry as say, a research paper. Keep the language engaging.

Avoid lazy mistakes: Typos and poor grammar in press releases make your business look unprofessional, and will likely turn off reporters.

The quote: Most press release include a quote by the most relevant spokesperson for the topic of the release. The quote provides space to add some color commentary (going a bit beyond the factual basis of the rest of the release) and can also be pulled directly from the release by journalists to use in articles.

3. The boilerplate

This is the about us section where you provide background on your organisation. It should be included following the body of every press release. The language used here can be the same in every release. Don’t forget to link to your company homepage to drive readers back and provide more information.

4. Contact Info

A reporter reads your press release and is interested in getting more information — great! But how will they know where to go?

Be sure to include relevant contact info for any inquiries that may arise from your press release.

This information should be listed at the very end of the release.

It doesn’t begin and end with creating the press release.

Keep in mind that while a well crafted press release is the foundation of a great public relations campaign, your efforts should not begin and end with the creation of the release.

Press releases work when you get their information in the right hands (reporters, other stakeholders) that will further extend the reach of your news, ultimately resulting in measurable business success.

Stay tuned for part two, where I’ll explain how to distribute and get results from your press release.