International law firm Reed Smith won the ‘Deal of the Year: Restructuring’ award at the IFLR Europe Awards 2022, for its work done as part of the restructuring of subsea services provider DeepOcean.

The DeepOcean case was the first time that a cross-class cram-down mechanism was used as part of a restructuring plan, the new restructuring tool was introduced in the UK in 2020. In a landmark judgment, the High Court in London sanctioned plans for three of DeepOcean’s UK subsidiaries, even though one of the plans had not been approved by all creditor classes, on the basis that the statutory requirements for a “creditor cram down” were met (i.e. the court was satisfied that (a) none of the members of the dissenting classes would be worse off than they would be in the event of the relevant alternative (being insolvency) and (b) that the plan was approved by at least one creditor class with a genuine economic interest in the company in the event of the relevant alternative). The first use of the cram down mechanism had been highly anticipated by the restructuring community and provided valuable insight into how the English courts are likely to assess cram down applications in the future.

The Reed Smith Restructuring & Insolvency team in London advised one of DeepOcean’s unsecured creditors. Notwithstanding the looming cram-down risk, Reed Smith was able to obtain a significantly more favourable result for the client than had initially been offered by leveraging its deep cross-border restructuring and industry expertise, utilising all available levers under the contracts and general insolvency law.

The IFLR Europe Awards took place in London on 5 May 2022 and recognised law firms, in-house teams and individuals behind the most innovative and challenging cross-border deals and financial legal work undertaken across the region. The awards showcase transactions that break new legal ground, set precedents, and develop the legal environment for cross-border corporate finance.

Reed Smith is one of five law firms that were recognised for this award.

Reed Smith was also shortlisted in these IFLR Awards for its work on the HANeft / SparkChange Physical Carbon EUA ETC and on the Starz CRE CLO in the Securitisation and Structured Finance category, alongside being a finalist for the ‘Team of the Year’ in that same category.

The strength of Reed Smith’s Restructuring & Insolvency practice in the UK was also recognised in the 2022 edition of the IFLR1000 global rankings.