Shoosmiths advises investor on Swiftkey sale

Shoosmiths advises investor on Swiftkey sale

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Author: Kara Shadbolt

Shoosmiths' corporate team acted for long-standing client Octopus Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Octopus Group, on the sale of Touchtype to Microsoft.

London-based Touchtype is a long-standing investment of Octopus and Shoosmiths has advised on funding rounds since 2010. Touchtype's best-known product is the SwiftKey artificial intelligence predictive keyboard app which is installed on millions of Apple iOS and Android devices. SwiftKey has also been part of an ambitious project to enhance the communication system used by world-renowned scientist Professor Stephen Hawking.

The company was set up by Cambridge University graduates Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock in 2008, and is the latest UK artificial intelligence (AI) firm to be bought up by a US tech company.

The Shoosmiths team, led by partner Alastair Peet and tax partner Tom Wilde, assisted by associate Al Hammerton, advised Octopus Ventures on all corporate and tax aspects of the sale.

Jo Oliver of Octopus Ventures said:

"We have a fantastic relationship with Shoosmiths - in a deal such as this, it's important to have lawyers who understand our approach and how we think. We greatly appreciated the commercial and practical legal advice they gave us, and their cool heads under pressure".

Reed Smith acted for Microsoft, and Cooley for the company and founders.

Octopus launched a new $140m fund dedicated to European businesses last October. Octopus Zenith Opportunities II has already made its first investment, joining forces with Google Ventures in July 2015 to lead a $60m financing round in luxury travel site Secret Escapes.

Shoosmiths was recently ranked joint first in the Experian Deal Review and League Tables 2015 for volume of UK deals completed (and 5th in Europe).