Neil Foster’s is a corporate technology Solicitor with over 20 years advising on complex transaction. His practice covers 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. As well as advising UK companies, venture funds and intermediaries, Neil represents many large U.S., Middle Eastern, South African and Asian corporations on their UK and European deals. Neil qualified in 1996 amd became a partner in 2003.
Neil is experienced in complex cross-border transactions. This work is balanced between in-bound deals for large international corporates and deals for UK companies especially where IP and/or technology are the key assets.
Within the technology sector, Neil’s practice covers the whole range of hardware, software, security and data usage, online assets, IT services, blockchain, engineering assets, environmental technologies, cleantech and alternative energy. In the media and telecoms industries, Neil’s practice covers digital media, online and offline brands, mobile and other telecoms, broadcasting, games, television channels, distribution and content. His practice in the life sciences sector covers discovery and therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, services and software.
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.
Neil is a member of British-American Business, Inc., the transatlantic trade body, and sits on their Information, Communications and Entertainment Committee. He wrote the chapters on UK-U.S. mergers and acquisitions in their 2007 and 2008 editions of its Guide to Investing in the UK.
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".
Neil has been ranked as a “Leading Individual” by Chambers for Corporate/M&A every year since 2010. In Chambers UK 2014, clients report that Neil Foster is a “seriously delivery-focused lawyer” and “a real deal closer.”
The 2015 Chambers UK directory stated that “they put heart and soul into it. The team went above and beyond to make sure everything went smoothly” and that “they really know our business and are able to provide advice tailored to what we need.” Neil Foster provides “a huge amount of added value” for clients, owing to his “commercial knowledge and professional insight.”
Legal 500 described Neil as a "very driven deal closer" in the M&A reaction of its 2015 edition and that he has an "excellent reputation in the tech and cleantech sectors" and was "praised for his great expertise in corporate venturing in the Venture Capital section of Legal 500, 2015.
Chambers highlighted Neil's "precision, commercially dexterous advice and cross-border knowledge" as key aspects. Legal 500 stated in its 2018 edition that the "smartly highly competent" Neil Foster "uses his sector expertise well" and "is a hard act to follow in mid-market technology M&A".
- 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 reorganisation of a U.S. cable company in Chapter 11, including the sale of U.S. and Japanese cable assets by a UK intermediate holding company, the distribution of assets to its U.S. parent and eventual winding up of the UK company
- Cleantech - Advised a UK plastics recycling technology business on its launch and three 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 U.S. 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 Cambridge Medical Robotics, a UK-based surgical robotics company
Awards & Community
Ranked by Thomson Reuters’ “Super Lawyers-London” 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Mergers & Acquisitions
Ranked by Thomson Reuters’ “Super Lawyers-Business Edition” 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Business Transactions
Recognised by Chambers UK, 2010-2018, as a “Leading Individual” for Corporate/M&A: Mid-Market
Listed in Chambers UK, 2017, as a "Recognised Practitioner" in Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment
Recognised by Chambers Europe, 2014 & 2015, for Corporate/M&A: UK Focus
Recognised in The Legal 500 UK, 2014-2017, for both M&A: Mid-Market and Venture Capital
Publications, Speeches & Presentations
Financier Worldwide Magazine
Speaker - Baker Botts partner, Neil Foster
Baker Botts Corporate Partner Neil Foster will be a panellist this year at Ecosummitt London, serving on a panel entitled 'Fueling the cooperation between startups and corporates with open innovation and corporate venturing'
Brexit: Good or Bad for UK & EU Startups & Investors - Hosted by Rubicon Venture Capital and Baker Botts
Baker Botts London office will host a VC panel networking event featuring a panel of London VCs moderated by Andrew Romans.