Contact details

Chris Cowley

T: +44 20 7809 2498 M: +44 77 1250 8159 Email Chris | vCard Office: London

Chris Cowley Senior associate

Contact details

Chris Cowley

Chris Cowley
Senior associate

T: +44 20 7809 2498 M: +44 77 1250 8159 Email Chris | vCard Office: London

Chris has a broad corporate practice, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, private fund formations and advice, reorganisations and general corporate advice. He joined Stephenson Harwood after having spent eight years working at Slaughter and May.
  • Profile
  • Services
  • Sectors

Chris specialises in complex multi-jurisdictional mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity transactions and private fund formations and advice. He has acted for a wide variety of clients including the UK Government, Main Market listed clients, private equity sponsors, private companies, family offices and individuals. Chris has acted on a number of partnership matters.

Chris has particular experience advising in the financial services, energy, consumer and public sectors.

He spent seven months on secondment at Standard Chartered in 2013, working in the corporate team.

  • Public and private M&A
  • Private equity and venture capital
  • Joint ventures
  • Corporate
  • Restructuring and insolvency

A.J. Gallagher

Advising A.J. Gallagher on the acquisition of Stackhouse Poland from Synova Capital and management. Stackhouse Poland is a large-scale specialist UK insurance broker with over 500 employees and generating over £55 million in annualised revenues.

Bowmark Capital LLP

The acquisition of Pirum Systems from Five Arrows Principal Investments.
The acquisition of a significant minority stake in Focus Group, leading UK provider of communications and IT solutions.

Onecom

The founding shareholders of Onecom, the UK's largest independent business telecommunications provider, on a £100 million funding arrangement from mid-market private equity firm LDC and credit funds managed by an affiliate of Ares Management Corporation.

STAR Capital Partnership LLP

The acquisition of Kennet Equipment Leasing Limited, an asset finance broker and financing provider to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The acquisition of a transport group.

3i Infrastructure plc

The c. £200 million sale of its entire UK projects portfolio to various buyers, including funds managed by Dalmore, Semperian and Innisfree.

GCC Royal Family

On the sale of 50% a nationally important strategic company.  One of the largest M&A deals advised on by Stephenson Harwood. 

Premier Foods

The sale of Premier Foods' sweet spreads and jellies business to the Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

The sale of the sale of the Elephant Atta, Elephant Chakki Gold and Fassal business to Associated British Foods.

Moody's Corporation

Advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in the Copal Partners' group, a leading provider of outsourced research and analytical services.

General Electric

A share sale by a member of the General Electric group operating in the power sector.

Bloomsbury PLC

The acquisitions of Osprey Publishing Limited, the world's best known military publisher, and Cumnor Publishing Limited from The Third Alcuin Fund LP.

Manchester Airport Group

The acquisition of Stansted Airport.

Maritime and real estate

Chris has also advised on several private acquisitions in the maritime and real estate sectors.

Bell Pottinger (in administration)

Acted for BDO LLP as administrators on the sale of both the Far East and Middle East businesses of Bell Pottinger (in administration).

More: Public and private M&A

Bowmark Capital LLP

The acquisition of Pirum Systems from Five Arrows Principal Investments.

Bowmark Capital LLP

The acquisition of a significant minority stake in Focus Group, leading UK provider of communications and IT solutions.

STAR Capital Partnership LLP

The acquisition of Kennet Equipment Leasing Limited.

STAR Capital Partnership LLP

The establishment of STAR Finance Partners LP, to invest in the asset finance broker market.

STAR Capital Partnership LLP

The acquisition of a transport group.

Onecom

The founding shareholders of Onecom, the UK's largest independent business telecommunications provider, on a £100 million funding arrangement from mid-market private equity firm LDC and credit funds managed by an affiliate of Ares Management Corporation.

UK headquartered mid-market private equity fund

Advised the entire investor-base of a UK headquartered mid-market private equity fund on an investor-led action to remove the existing general partner and manager. 

Optum Ventures

Advised this lead investor on the Series A funding round of Oxford VR.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The establishment of the British Business Bank, which provides finance to small and medium-sized businesses. The project involved the transfer of creation of the corporate structure and corporate governance principles of the bank and a large number of equity and fund interests. The British Business Bank legal team won the In-House Innovation Award at the 2015 British Legal Awards for this project.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change

The creation of The International Climate Fund with the Green Investment Bank for the purpose of investing in green energy in developing countries.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority

The establishment of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. The Fund will see HM Treasury invest up to £400 million to mobilise over £1 billion of investment in full fibre broadband.

Minority investors

Acting for minority investors on the initial public offering of Parques Reunidos, a leading global operator of leisure parks, on the Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia stock exchanges.

Firethorn Trust

Advising Firethorn Trust on the establishment of a £100 million fund to invest in commercial real estate.

Covanta and GIG/Macquarie strategic partnership

Advised Covanta on its strategic partnership with Green Investment Group (part of the Macquarie group) to develop, fund and own energy-from-waste projects in the UK and Ireland. The initial investment took place into Covanta's Dublin EfW project, with the purchase price implying a total enterprise value for the project of about €700 million.  Chris has advised on further investments and joint venture arrangements in respect of plants in Earls Gate and Rookery South. The four advanced projects forming part of the development pipeline have a total estimated capital cost of US$1.6 billion.

Banco Santander

The merger of Santander Asset Management with Pioneer Investments, valuing the combined group at €5.35 billion.

Moody's Corporation

Advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in the Copal Partners' group, a leading provider of outsourced research and analytical services.

Premier Foods

Advised on Premier Foods' joint venture with The Gores Group LLC to operate its bread business.

Thomas Cook

A joint venture with the travel business of the Co-operative Group.

More: Joint ventures

Shareholders of RSM

Acted for a number of shareholders of leading accountancy firm RSM in requisitioning a shareholder meeting under the Companies Act to vote out the incumbent board of directors and to hold an election to appoint a new CEO.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The establishment of the British Business Bank, which provides finance to small and medium-sized businesses. The project involved the transfer of creation of the corporate structure and corporate governance principles of the bank and a large number of equity and fund interests. The British Business Bank legal team won the In-House Innovation Award at the 2015 British Legal Awards for this project.

General Electric

A general reorganisation of its European businesses.

BTG plc

Various corporate matters, including directors' duties, corporate governance, listing rules compliance, corporate reorganisations and directors' indemnities.

Covanta

The formation and reorganisation of its European business in preparation for its strategic partnership with GIG/Macquarie.

British Business Bank plc

Advice on its formation, corporate governance and annual general meeting.

North London Waste Authority

Advice regarding its corporate structure.

Department of Transport

Advice regarding directors' duties.

Pharmaceutical sector

Chris has also provided advice in respect of a buyback of shares in the context of a dispute between shareholders. He has also advised the directors of a Main Market listed company on their duties and corporate governance requirements.

John Swire & Sons

Various corporate matters, including its annual general meetings, revisions to its articles of association and a bonus share issue.

Bourne Leisure

Various corporate matters, including amendments to its articles of association.

Premier Foods

Various corporate matters, including its annual report and annual general meeting.

Shareholders of RSM

Acted for a number of shareholders of leading accountancy firm RSM in requisitioning a shareholder meeting under the Companies Act to vote out the incumbent board of directors and to hold an election to appoint a new CEO.

More: Corporate

Bell Pottinger (in administration)

Acted for BDO LLP as administrators on the sale of both the Far East and Middle East businesses of Bell Pottinger (in administration).

More: Restructuring and insolvency

  • Funds and financial services
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Consumer
  • Government and public sector
  • Technology

A.J. Gallagher

Advising A.J. Gallagher on the acquisition of Stackhouse Poland from Synova Capital and management. Stackhouse Poland is a large-scale specialist UK insurance broker with over 500 employees and generating over £55 million in annualised revenues.

Bowmark Capital LLP

The acquisition of Pirum Systems from Five Arrows Principal Investments.

Banco Santander

The merger of Santander Asset Management with Pioneer Investments, valuing the combined group at €5.35 billion.

Moody's Corporation

Advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in the Copal Partners' group, a leading provider of outsourced research and analytical services.

STAR Capital Partnership LLP

The acquisition of Kennet Equipment Leasing Limited.

STAR Capital Partnership LLP

The establishment of STAR Finance Partners LP, to invest in the asset finance broker market.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The establishment of the British Business Bank, which provides finance to small and medium-sized businesses. The project involved the transfer of creation of the corporate structure and corporate governance principles of the bank and a large number of equity and fund interests. The British Business Bank legal team won the In-House Innovation Award at the 2015 British Legal Awards for this project.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority

The establishment of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. The Fund will see HM Treasury invest up to £400 million to mobilise over £1 billion of investment in full fibre broadband.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change

The creation of The International Climate Fund with the Green Investment Bank for the purpose of investing in green energy in developing countries.

More: Funds and financial services

General Electric

A share sale by a member of the General Electric group operating in the power sector.

General Electric

A general reorganisation of its European businesses.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change

The creation of The International Climate Fund with the Green Investment Bank for the purpose of investing in green energy in developing countries.

Covanta and GIG/Macquarie strategic partnership

Advised Covanta on its strategic partnership with Green Investment Group (part of the Macquarie group) to develop, fund and own energy-from-waste projects in the UK and Ireland. The initial investment took place into Covanta's Dublin EfW project, with the purchase price implying a total enterprise value for the project of about €700 million. Chris has advised on further investments and joint venture arrangements in respect of plants in Earls Gate and Rookery South. The four advanced projects forming part of the development pipeline have a total estimated capital cost of US$1.6 billion.

Bloomsbury plc

Acted on the acquisition of Osprey Publishing Limited, the world's best known military history publisher, principally from The Third Alcuin Fund LP and its subsidiary Cumnor Publishing Limited.

Premier Foods

The sale of Premier Foods' sweet spreads and jellies business to the Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

The sale of the sale of the Elephant Atta, Elephant Chakki Gold and Fassal business to Associated British Foods.

Advised on Premier Foods' joint venture with The Gores Group LLC to operate its bread business.

More: Consumer

GCC Royal Family

On the sale of 50% a nationally important strategic company.  One of the largest M&A deals advised on by Stephenson Harwood. 

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The establishment of the British Business Bank, which provides finance to small and medium-sized businesses. The transaction involved the transfer of a large number of fund interests. The British Business Bank legal team won the In-House Innovation Award at the 2015 British Legal Awards for this transaction.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority

The establishment of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. The Fund will see HM Treasury invest up to £400 million to mobilise over £1 billion of investment in full fibre broadband.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change

The creation of The International Climate Fund with the Green Investment Bank for the purpose of investing in green energy in developing countries.

British Business Bank plc

Advice on its formation, corporate governance and annual general meeting.

North London Waste Authority

Advice regarding its corporate structure.

Transport for London

Advising Transport for London on corporate aspects relating to the refinancing of Crossrail.

Department of Transport

Advice regarding directors' duties. 

More: Government and public sector

Bowmark Capital LLP

The acquisition of a significant minority stake in Focus Group, leading UK provider of communications and IT solutions.

Onecom

The founding shareholders of Onecom, the UK's largest independent business telecommunications provider, on a £100m funding arrangement from mid-market private equity firm LDC and credit funds managed by an affiliate of Ares Management Corporation.

Optum Ventures

Advised this lead investor on the Series A funding round of Oxford VR.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority

The establishment of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. The Fund will see HM Treasury invest up to £400 million to mobilise over £1 billion of investment in full fibre broadband.

More: Technology

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