🏦 Metro Bank needed saving
In today’s email:
Paris vs London
Infinite cute cats
Can lawyers do maths?
A bank that needed saving
McDonald’s burgers are legally fine
Latham advises Liverpool FC’s investor
What does a real estate lawyer actually do?
… and more!
EDITOR’S RAMBLE 🗣
Gowling WLG have another of their awesome events coming up — this time talking to the firm’s real estate lawyers.
Obviously, I’ve had to drop a few real estate puns in the promo section (scroll down to see it).
But I want to see if anyone can spot them all — reply with a list of all the puns you spot!
FEATURED REPORT 📰
🏦 Metro Bank needed saving
What’s going on here?
Metro Bank (a major UK retail bank) has saved itself by agreeing a multi-million pound rescue deal with investors. This comes after reports suggesting the bank needed to raise cash to sort out its finances, which sent its share price plunging last week.
Metro Bank’s share price over the last few months — you can see where it dropped a couple weeks ago
The rescue deal means the bank avoided being acquired by a bigger bank (well, at least for now).
What went wrong at Metro Bank?
🗺️ The bank’s strategy: You may have noticed that your bank has closed a lot of its bricks and mortar locations — especially since Covid. That’s because running real-life branches is expensive, so they’ve been switching to online banking solutions. A lot of people don’t like this (especially older users who aren’t comfortable with online banking).
Metro has always tried to be the customer-focused bank. They kept their 76 UK branches open, often seven-days-a-week. They even provide water bowls and dog biscuits for their customers’ pets. It’s a nice strategy that sets it apart from others — but it’s been very expensive.
💸 Financial pressure: Metro Bank had an impending repayment of £350m due because of some loans it received. This looming obligation created a pressing need for the bank to secure funds.
💎 Capital hold issues: Metro Bank had requested permission from the UK banking regulator to hold less capital against its mortgage assets (effectively asking if it could lend out more of its money to help it make profit) — but this request was denied.
❌ Regulatory fines: Metro Bank was fined £10m for not providing accurate information to investors. The bank was also slapped with a penalty of more than £5.3m for submitting subpar financial reports between 2016 and 2019. These hurt the bank’s pocket and its reputation with customers and investors.
Who jumped to the rescue?
Enter Spaldy Investments and Caius Capital, two investment firms.
Spaldy Investments (which was already the bank’s largest shareholder) is the biggest investor of the two. As part of the rescue deal, it will contribute £102m, taking its stake in Metro Bank from 9% to around 53%.
In total, Metro Bank’s restructuring plan (essentially a scheme to streamline its finances and operations) is worth £925m.
This is made up of £150m from selling new shares (equity), taking on £175m as new debt, and a whopping £600m in debt refinancing (essentially replacing existing debt with new debt, often with better terms).
There's also chatter about the bank selling off assets amounting to £3bn.
Which law firms were involved with this?
Two big guns: Linklaters and Herbert Smith Freehills.
Linklaters have been the long-time lawyers for Metro. Here, they guided Metro’s fundraising process. They’ll also assist in the proposed £3bn asset sale.
Herbert Smith Freehills represented Spaldy Investments — the main investor. They would have conducted due diligence on the bank to make sure there weren’t any skeletons in its closet. They’d also have negotiated the documents to ensure that Spaldy’s rights as shareholders are protected.
Did the market react to the rescue package?
Yes — Metro Bank's shares took a dip initially but bounced back by almost 16% post the announcement.
As for other stakeholders and the general public, some applauded the bank's proactive measures — the bank is now saved and will continue to run independently.
But critics remained wary, pointing out Metro's past financial missteps (see ‘What went wrong at Metro Bank?’ above to remind yourself of those).
TOGETHER WITH GOWLING WLG* 🤝
What does a real estate lawyer do? Let’s lay the foundation of your knowledge.
As part of its series of events, Gowling WLG’s sharing the blueprint to the intricate world of real estate.
On 17 October, 3 partners from the firm will explain how they survey their real estate sub-teams and cement their collaboration throughout the life-cycle of a project.
👀 Spoiler: Cross-team synergy is the key to unlocking success for one of the UK's largest Real Estate practices.
Ready to elevate your understanding of real estate?
P.S. There’s only 6 weeks left until the end of the Gowling WLG application window. If you’ve not done it yet, get started on your application now.
* This is sponsored content
A BIT OF FUN 😄
who can tell me what this is? 👇️
IN OTHER NEWS 🗞
🇬🇧 London’s close to stealing back its title from Paris as Europe's top stock market. Less than a year ago, Paris casually pushed London off the throne. But now, London’s gearing up for a comeback. As of September's end, London's stock market was valued at $2.90 trillion, just a hair behind Paris's $2.93 trillion. Why the swing back? Two reasons: (1) Energy is booming in the UK with oil prices soaring, while France's luxury brands are having a bit of a rough time. (2) The British pound's dip is actually boosting earnings for many UK companies that earn abroad.
🤐 PayPal's on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit, brought forward by consumers. They're alleging that PayPal's "anti-steering rules" aren't just steering clear of competitors like Stripe and Shopify, but they're forcing consumers to pay more. By making sure that merchants don't promote or offer discounts for other (often cheaper) payment methods, PayPal's essentially keeping competition in the rearview mirror.
🍔 McDonald's and Wendy's recently beat a lawsuit that accused them of tricking hungry customers by showcasing beefier burgers in ads than what's served. A US judge didn't find any evidence that the chains gave diners tinier burgers than promised. The judge said brands using attractive images to lure customers isn't new or deceptive. Burger King and Taco Bell are still in the hot seat as they face similar complaints (here are your thoughts on the Taco Bell case).
🌐 The EU is checking if Microsoft's Bing and Apple's iMessage should follow new tech rules. It’s deciding if these platforms should be labelled as ‘core platform services’ within the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA pushes tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, and others to open their platforms more widely.
⚽ Liverpool FC's got some new shareholders — Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has sold a minority stake in the club to US private equity firm Dynasty Equity. Dynasty Equity were advised by Latham & Watkins. This deal isn't about buying new players, but rather paying off debts and handling capital expenses.
AROUND THE WEB 🌐
🎥 Video: If you need a cool, short video to watch while you’re having your lunch, watch a super-interesting random video.
⚽️ Sports (without the mansplaining): The GIST is a free sports newsletter led and written by women that covers the biggest headlines, including the social and cultural impact of sports. Sign up for free.*
😻 Cute: If you love cats, you’ll love these infinite random cat pics.
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