Biography

Neil Foster is a Partner in the Firm's International Corporate Practice Group. He serves as Chair of the Global Technology Group and as a Lead Partner in the Venture Capital Group. His practice includes mergers & acquisitions, venture capital & private equity, and corporate finance. His principal sector experience is in the areas of technology and telecommunications, media and entertainment, life sciences, and energy technology.

Neil has 25 years of experience advising on complex transactions and he represents many large US, Middle Eastern, South African, and Asian corporations on their UK and European deals.

Neil has been ranked as a "Leading Individual" by Chambers UK for Corporate/M&A every year since 2010 and has been praised for his "precision, commercially dexterous advice and cross-border knowledge." The Legal 500 UK has described Neil as "a hard act to follow in mid-market technology M&A."

Links to Neil’s recent Q&A with Aimava CEO Andrew Gaule on “Directors Role, Legal Aspects of CVC and COVID-19 Crisis” and his Global Corporate Venturing panel on “COVID-19 Crisis in the UK and Europe & Available Aid for Portfolio Companies” can be found below.

 

 

Awards

Representation

Neil closes around twenty VC, M&A, and commercial deals each year. A selection are listed below:

Technology – Advised RealVNC, a leading provider of remote access software, on its sale to Livingbridge, mid-market private equity investors.

Content Media – Advised All Perspectives and its founder on the establishment, financing, and launch of “GB News,” the first major news channel in over 20 years.

Edtech – Advised the Arbor Education Partners Group and its shareholder on its sale to The Key Support Services, part of the Darwin Acquisitions group.

Cleantech – Advised GreenSteam on its group reorganization, redomiciliation from the Faroe Islands to the UK, and refinancing. GreenSteam has technology for improving the fuel-efficiency and lowering emissions for maritime vessels.

IT Security – Advised on Europe’s largest private equity deal in the IT sector in 2010, advising Sophos plc on the sale by the founders and TA Associates to Apax for $830 million.

Digital Technology – Advised a listed Asian corporation on the sale of two of their UK subsidiaries, the first being a digital optical technology company and the second being a 3D graphics semi-conductor company.

Content Media – Advised Acorn Media Group on the acquisition of a majority stake in Agatha Christie Limited and then on the sale of Acorn Media Group to NYSE listed RLJ Entertainment for $105 million.

Alternative Energy – Advised Sasol New Energy on its £15 million corporate venturing investment in Oxis Energy, a UK batteries technology company.

Telecoms – Advised on the UK part of the complex group reorganization of a US cable company in Chapter 11, including the sale of US and Japanese cable assets by a UK intermediate holding company, the distribution of assets to its US parent and eventual winding up of the UK company.

Cleantech – Advised Recycling Technologies Ltd, a plastics to fuel recycling technology business, on its launch, growth, and four rounds of funding.

Autonomous Vehicles – Advised a UK corporate VC on its Series B investment into a Silicon Valley based sensor technology company.

Content Media – Advised a large US listed group on its acquisition of a children’s television channel, and a 10-year joint venture for the distribution of children’s TV content.

Alternative Energy – Advised a UK electric motors company on its corporate venturing funding by and joint venture with a global engineering group.

Telecoms and IT – Advised Vodafone on its joint venture with Everything Everywhere and Telefonica for digital wallet and related products and services (Project Weve).

Life Sciences – Advised Cambridge Cognition Holdings plc on its IPO on AIM and associated fund-raising.

Telecoms Hardware – Advised Mesaplexx’s private equity owners and management on the sale of Mesaplexx to Nokia Systems & Networks.

Life Sciences – Advised a UK corporate VC on its Series B investment into Owlstone, a UK-based cancer diagnostics technology company.

Robotics – Advised ABB Technology Ventures on its Series A and Series B investments into CMR Surgicial, a UK-based surgical robotics company.

*Some of the above matters were handled by Neil prior to joining Brown Rudnick.

Education

College of Law, York – Legal Practice Course, 1994
College of Law, London – C.P.E., 1993
University of Durham – B.A., 1992

Bar Admissions

Solicitor, England & Wales
Publications
Contributor, "Venture needs to tread carefully in the geopolitical world", GCV Editorial (April 2020)
"Crypto-Assets in the UK - 2018 Roundup and 2019 Outlook" (January 2019)
"Response to The Treasury Select Committee Report on Regulation of Crypto-Assets" (October 2018)
Speaking Engagements
Neil is a regular speaker at venture capital, technology, media, biotechnology and corporate finance events. He was a mentor to CEOs of emerging companies at the European Venture Academies in Copenhagen and London, concentrating on fund raising strategies and techniques
Moderator, "Convergence of Healthcare Across Industries," Global Corporate Venturing Digital Forum (January 26, 2021)
Chair, "Health Technology Pitch Event" (December 1, 2020)
Chair, "Tech Matters Event: Mental Health" (November 3, 2020)
Speaker, "COVID-19 Crisis in the UK and Europe & Available Aid for Portfolio Companies," Global Corporate Venturing Webinar (May 7, 020)
Speaker, "Directors Role, Legal Aspects of CVC and COVID-19 Crisis," Aimava (April 30, 2020)
Speaker, "CryptoLaw UK with Neil Foster & Toby Lewis," The CryptoLaw Podcast (January 16, 2019)
Professional Affiliations
Neil chairs the BBFA Crypto-Assets working group and has published numerous papers on the regulation of crypto-assets.
Neil is on the Advisory Committee for Global Corporate Venturing (GCV) magazine (2011 to date) and was a judge for GCV’s Annual Awards in 2011 and 2012. He was also the first lawyer internationally to be invited to join the "Faculty" for the Global Corporate Venturing Academy, where he teaches "Deal Execution and Terms" and also "International Directors' Duties and Governance."
Awards and Honors
Recognized by The Legal 500 UK as a Recommended Lawyer for Venture Capital and M&A (2014-2021). He is described as "awesome" and "a great partner at the negotiating table."
Ranked in Chambers UK for Corporate/M&A: Mid-Market (2010-2021). Clients report that "he's very responsive and commercial in his approach; we find him flexible and willing to work co-operatively with the other side."
Listed in Chambers UK as a Recognized Practitioner in Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment (2017)
Recognized by Chambers Europe for Corporate/M&A UK Focus (2014-2015)
Selected to the London Super Lawyers list for Mergers & Acquisitions (2013-2015)
Selected to the Super Lawyers Business Edition for Business Transactions (2013-2015)