This article was produced by Olswang LLP, which joined with CMS on 1 May 2017.
Raconteur has today published a special report in The Times on opportunities for British Small and Medium Enterprises in 2014, including the benefits of going public. Corporate Partner Paul Blackmore contributed to the report with an article on the opportunities and challenges of floating on AIM. You can read the article and view the report here
Bringing a company to the public markets is one of the most fundamental decisions a company can make, and can be a complex and time consuming process for a business and its management.
Partnering with the right advisers is key to ensuring a successful outcome. As well as a thorough understanding of the AIM rules and process, the right advisor will also need to understand the company's business and sector in which it operates. As the management team will be heavily involved throughout the process, from legal and financial due diligence, assisting with disclosures in the admission document, negotiating with third parties, and the all-important investor marketing meetings, it is crucial that they are comfortable with and able to trust their chosen advisers. It is also essential that management seek advice on, and fully appreciate, what life will be like once the company is admitted to the public markets, with its enhanced disclosure requirements, restrictions on dealings in shares and undertaking certain transactions, and its greater public scrutiny and shareholder accountability.
Partner Paul Blackmore said: "At Olswang we have been assisting companies with this process since AIM's inception in 1995. In fact, in the six months to the end of January 2014, we advised on one fifth of the technology AIM IPOs to occur in that period."
"We help businesses achieve their goals by navigating them through the AIM admission process whilst understanding the pressures of continuing to run the core business. Working with the company's other professional advisors, we ensure a business is ready for listing by engaging in a due diligence process, including reviewing a company's key assets and ensuring it properly owns and can exploit its assets without challenge from third parties, such as key intellectual property rights or long-term valuable contracts."
"We also assist with drafting the admission document, negotiating with other advisors, and advise companies on their obligations once they have completed the IPO. The role of the team at Olswang is to simplify the process and ease the burden on management whilst ensuring the legal and regulatory standards required for a public company are met."
As originally seen in 'Funding Britain's Growth' published by Raconteur Media on 27 February 2014 in The Times.