13 Aug 2019

WBD's Newcastle-based corporate team advised AIT Worldwide Logistics on the acquisition of ConneXion Holdings Ltd, the holding company of the global customs and freight forwarding business of ConneXion World Cargo, which included offices in the UK, France, Canada and Hong Kong.

Corporate partner Ben Butler managed the transaction, supported by corporate lawyers Will Bonas and Oliver Rickett. WBD's corporate team were assisted by a number of specialist lawyers from the firm's Newcastle office, who advised on regulatory, employment, real estate and tax issues. 

WBD's UK involvement in the transaction was a result of the successful combination between Bond Dickinson and Womble Carlyle in November 2017, with WBD US referring the AIT relationship that had been developed by legacy firm Womble Carlyle. The Newcastle team worked closely with their US colleagues, corporate partner, Chris Gyves who was closely supported by Alyse Young throughout the transaction process and the transaction is a great example of, and testament to, the success of the Womble Carlyle & Bond Dickinson combination. 

The newly acquired company's locations will be overseen by AIT's Executive Vice President, Global Operations, Greg Weigel, with its largest office in London and four additional locations in Europe and North America. ConneXion’s team in Hong Kong merged with AIT’s existing Hong Kong office shortly after the transaction closed. The acquisition fulfils a long-term goal for AIT to establish a greater presence in the UK with a notable proportion of its customers based here.

Ben Butler, Corporate Partner at WBD, commented:

"This acquisition comes as a direct result of our combination with Womble Carlyle last year. AIT Worldwide Logistics is a client which was referred to us by our US colleagues and our cross-border, transatlantic advice meant we were able to provide multi-jurisdictional advice within one firm resulting in a better client experience. This is also a great example of our Newcastle office's capability of working with clients on a global scale while also remaining focused on the local market and delivering growth here in the North East."

Ray Fennelly, Chief Information Officer at AIT, said:

"ConneXion is an excellent fit for AIT, especially since their company culture is so similar to ours and we are very pleased that ConneXion's global team of logistics professionals have joined AIT. We are extremely grateful to Womble Bond Dickinson for their expert management of the transaction and their strength in depth on both sides of the Atlantic was apparent throughout."

Over the last eighteen months WBD's corporate team has advised on numerous international deals such as this, including the disposal of the Instrumentation & Tobacco Machinery business of Molins PLC (now Mpac PLC) but the team also remain focussed on delivering local deals across the region at the same time such as the IPO of Tekmar Group PLC (which won Deal of the Year (above £10m) at the North East Insider Dealmakers Awards 2018), the investment in NBS by LDC (which won Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year at the North East Insider Dealmakers Awards 2018), the acquisition of the Hughes Group and Vans Direct Limited by Gateshead-based Vertu Motors plc, and the recent £3.5m fundraise for Biosignatures Limited.

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD provides legal expertise in eleven key sectors from across eight offices in the UK and 18 offices in the US. The firm has a large corporate practice in the UK advising national and international clients on a broad range of corporate transactions, particularly M&A, IPOs, private equity investments as well as growth and development capital fundraisings.