Home / People / David Roberts
Portrait of David Roberts

David Roberts

Partner

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London
EC4N 6AF
United Kingdom
Languages English, French, German
Corporate

David is a corporate specialist with 25 years' experience advising on private M&A, private equity, venture capital and restructuring transactions.  Over his career, he has advised clients across a range of sectors including technology, media, life sciences, retail, financial services and sport (football) but concentrates more and more on the hospitality and leisure sector where he heads the firm’s leisure practice and is acknowledged as one of the country’s most respected advisers and commentators. 

His leisure practice spans the vast leisure spectrum to include acting for hotel, restaurant, gym, theatre, travel, bar, private members club, visitor attraction and catering (stadium and corporate) clients as well as tech companies involved in the virtual / cloud kitchen space.

In particular, his restaurant practice involves him representing owners, operators and investors of some of the most iconic premium dining, casual dining and early-stage restaurant and bar brands in the UK. 

David is qualified both in the UK and Australia, where he earned his BA/LLB and worked with Corrs Chambers Westgarth . 

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"David is extolled by sources as "incredibly well connected in leisure matters and excellent at brokering deals." He advises on the corporate finance aspects of the leisure industry for both funders and owner-operators."

Chambers 2017

"David is "very proactive, enthusiastic and responds very quickly," say sources. He advises on corporate matters for hotels and leisure industry clients. Another interviewee enthuses: "He is extremely well known in the sector and knows a lot of the key protagonists, especially in the hotel space"."

Chambers 2016

"David is recommended for his "great technical ability, unparalleled people skills and superb client advice." He is further praised for his industry knowledge, with one client noting: "He knows the sector and everyone in it - he's very useful for building up a stronger presence in the market because he will introduce you to the right people and knows where you're heading in the future"."

Chambers 2015

"David (Spotlight table) is a key contact for India-related work. Sources note that "we're always impressed with his understanding of on-the-ground intelligence in India - he's always clued into what's happening in the market"."

Chambers 2013

"Sources observe that "he always has the client's best interests in mind, appreciates when advice is needed promptly and ensures he meets set deadlines." He is the lead partner handling many of the firm's highlights, and recently advised Michelin-starred London restaurant Hakkasan on its Indian master franchise agreement."

Chambers 2013

"David was selected to the 2015 "London Super Lawyers" in the Corporate Finance category and was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2016 Fifth Edition of The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom in Leisure & Hospitality Law.

London Super Lawyers/Best Lawyers

"CMS have a fabulous reputation in the leisure industry and David Roberts never ceases to deliver ideas and leadership to our relationship. It has been great to work with his team which impressed across the board with their dedication and commitment. We look forward to growing with them going forward."

Des Gunewardena, D&D Chairman and CEO

"Madison occupies a stunning site and I am sure will prove a fabulous investment for us. The circumstances surrounding the transaction were complex and made the acquisition process a bit more protracted than we are used to. Our lawyers needed to have cool heads and a real can do attitude to get the deal done- and that's what we got from David Roberts and the team at CMS."

Des Gunewardena, D&D Chairman and CEO

"The Company has not done many M&A deals and thus it was a great comfort to have David Roberts and his CMS team on board following them playing a key role on our IPO. They guided us through the process from start to finish which led to a very successful completion."

Andy Naylor, CFO and Commercial Director, Tortilla Mexican Grill plc

"We were recommended to talk to David Roberts and CMS by our corporate finance advisers who suggested he was one of the leading corporate lawyers in the restaurant sector and we were pleased to ultimately appoint him and work with his team, who really looked after us and our interests on this key deal.”

Clive Hetherington, Co-Founder Vacherin Limited

"This was by no way an easy transaction and the shareholders and management felt comforted to have CMS on board as they really have become the go to advisers in the London restaurant space for deals like these. David Roberts and Gordon Ker have the right blend of hard-won deal experience and the soft skills to make complex transactions like this enjoyable."

Alex McLauchlan, Finance Director, Hawksmoor

"As a fast growing business rolling out concepts simultaneously in the UK and the US, SOP has a complex capital structure and needed a legal team that understands the leisure sector and is confident of raising multi-denominated capital under pressure. For me David Roberts and his team at CMS are the market leaders in our space and once again they were excellent."

Toby Harris, CEO of State of Play Hospitality Limited

"David and CMS are acknowledged to have one of the leading leisure teams in the country and they did not disappoint. We are very excited to have been able to close our first deal as a team and we look forward to many more deals together."

Paul Campbell, founder of Hill Capital

"The sale of the Club has been a drawn out affair due to the complexities involved in all football sales. We chose CMS on the back of their specialist football M&A expertise and I have got to say that, man and boy, they were fabulous."

Russell Bartlett, Owner of Hull City Tigers

"We know David and his CMS team have a huge presence in restaurants and are one of the leading IPO firms in the country, so we found their combination of skills to be compelling. The whole team worked tirelessly and were an integral part of what we feel has been a very successful debut in the listed environment.”

Richard Morris, CEO, Tortilla Mexican Grill plc

Relevant experience

  • The company on the acquisition of Chilango Ltd by Tortilla Mexican Grill PLC.
  • The company on the IPO of casual dining group Tortilla Mexican Grill PLC.
  • The shareholders and management team on the sale of D&D London to LDC.   
  • The shareholders and management team on the sale of Hawksmoor to Graphite Capital.
  • The company on a Series B investment for State of Play Hospitality Limited. 
  • The company on a Series A and secondary sale by Slerp Limited.
  • The company on F&B management contracts for White Rabbit Projects in St Andrews, Troon, Slieve Donard.
  • The company on the acquisition by Seminole Tribe of Florida of Hard Rock Café.
  • The company on a VC funding round for Vagabond Wine bars.
  • The company on a VC funding round for Crosstown Dough.
  • The company on the CVA of Wasabi restaurant Group.
  • The company on a rollout of licence and consultancy agreements by Time Out Markets in gateway cities around the world.
  • The shareholders on the sale of The Good Life Eatery restaurant group.
  • The company on a crowdfunding round for Daisy Green restaurant group.
  • The company on the acquisition by Sun Capital of Strada restaurants. 
  • The shareholders on the sale of Vacherin Limited (the contract catering business) to CH&Co.
  • Deliciously Ella in relation to various fundraising and strategic projects.
  • The company on the acquisition by dnata www.travelrepublic.com.
  • The company on the acquisition by dnata of Alpha Flight group from Autogrill.
  • Hill Capital on its acquisition of a stake in New World Pub Company.
  • Calculus Capital on investments into Chop'd and Benitos Hat.
  • The owners of Hull City Tigers on the sale of the club.
  • Purchase of majority stake in Hibernian FC to US businessman Ron Gordon.
  • The purchaser on the acquisition of Hibernian F.C. by US Businessman Ron Gordon.
  • The purchaser of a controlling stake in Italian football club Pisa S.C.
  • Setanta Sports on the sale of Setanta Australia to Al Jazeera.
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Publications

  • David publishes thought pieces regularly in M&C Report in relation to corporate leisure topics
  • How to buy a Football Club, Wold Sports Law Report
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Education

  • 1993 – Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law, Sydney, Australia
  • 1992 – Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Laws, University of NSW, Sydney Australia
  • 1986 – Rotary International Scholarship, Canada
  • 1985 – St Leos College, Sydney, Australia
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Hotels & Leisure

David is a corporate specialist with 25 years' experience advising on private M&A, private equity, venture capital and restructuring transactions.  Over his career, he has advised clients across a range of sectors including technology, media, life sciences, retail, financial services and sport (football) but concentrates more and more on the hospitality and leisure sector where he heads the firm’s leisure practice and is acknowledged as one of the country’s most respected advisers and commentators. 

His leisure practice spans the vast leisure spectrum to include acting for hotel, restaurant, gym, theatre, travel, bar, private members club, visitor attraction and catering (stadium and corporate) clients as well as tech companies involved in the virtual / cloud kitchen space.

In particular, his restaurant practice involves him representing owners, operators and investors of some of the most iconic premium dining, casual dining and early-stage restaurant and bar brands in the UK. 

David is qualified both in the UK and Australia, where he earned his BA/LLB and worked with Corrs Chambers Westgarth

more less

"David is extolled by sources as "incredibly well connected in leisure matters and excellent at brokering deals." He advises on the corporate finance aspects of the leisure industry for both funders and owner-operators."

Chambers 2017

"David is "very proactive, enthusiastic and responds very quickly," say sources. He advises on corporate matters for hotels and leisure industry clients. Another interviewee enthuses: "He is extremely well known in the sector and knows a lot of the key protagonists, especially in the hotel space"."

Chambers 2016

"David is recommended for his "great technical ability, unparalleled people skills and superb client advice." He is further praised for his industry knowledge, with one client noting: "He knows the sector and everyone in it - he's very useful for building up a stronger presence in the market because he will introduce you to the right people and knows where you're heading in the future"."

Chambers 2015

"David was selected to the 2015 "London Super Lawyers" in the Corporate Finance category and was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2016 Fifth Edition of The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom in Leisure & Hospitality Law.

London Super Lawyers/Best Lawyers

"CMS have a fabulous reputation in the leisure industry and David Roberts never ceases to deliver ideas and leadership to our relationship. It has been great to work with his team which impressed across the board with their dedication and commitment. We look forward to growing with them going forward."

Des Gunewardena, D&D Chairman and CEO

"Madison occupies a stunning site and I am sure will prove a fabulous investment for us. The circumstances surrounding the transaction were complex and made the acquisition process a bit more protracted than we are used to. Our lawyers needed to have cool heads and a real can do attitude to get the deal done- and that's what we got from David Roberts and the team at CMS."

Des Gunewardena, D&D Chairman and CEO

"The Company has not done many M&A deals and thus it was a great comfort to have David Roberts and his CMS team on board following them playing a key role on our IPO. They guided us through the process from start to finish which led to a very successful completion."

Andy Naylor, CFO and Commercial Director, Tortilla Mexican Grill plc

"We were recommended to talk to David Roberts and CMS by our corporate finance advisers who suggested he was one of the leading corporate lawyers in the restaurant sector and we were pleased to ultimately appoint him and work with his team, who really looked after us and our interests on this key deal.”

Clive Hetherington, Co-Founder Vacherin Limited

"This was by no way an easy transaction and the shareholders and management felt comforted to have CMS on board as they really have become the go to advisers in the London restaurant space for deals like these. David Roberts and Gordon Ker have the right blend of hard-won deal experience and the soft skills to make complex transactions like this enjoyable."

Alex McLauchlan, Finance Director, Hawksmoor

"As a fast growing business rolling out concepts simultaneously in the UK and the US, SOP has a complex capital structure and needed a legal team that understands the leisure sector and is confident of raising multi-denominated capital under pressure. For me David Roberts and his team at CMS are the market leaders in our space and once again they were excellent."

Toby Harris, CEO of State of Play Hospitality Limited

"David and CMS are acknowledged to have one of the leading leisure teams in the country and they did not disappoint. We are very excited to have been able to close our first deal as a team and we look forward to many more deals together."

Paul Campbell, founder of Hill Capital

"The sale of the Club has been a drawn out affair due to the complexities involved in all football sales. We chose CMS on the back of their specialist football M&A expertise and I have got to say that, man and boy, they were fabulous."

Russell Bartlett, Owner of Hull City Tigers

"We know David and his CMS team have a huge presence in restaurants and are one of the leading IPO firms in the country, so we found their combination of skills to be compelling. The whole team worked tirelessly and were an integral part of what we feel has been a very successful debut in the listed environment.”

Richard Morris, CEO, Tortilla Mexican Grill plc

Relevant experience

  • The company on the acquisition of Chilango Ltd by Tortilla Mexican Grill PLC.
  • The company on the IPO of casual dining group Tortilla Mexican Grill PLC.
  • The shareholders and management team on the sale of D&D London to LDC.
  • The shareholders and management team on the sale of Hawksmoor to Graphite Capital.
  • The company on a Series B investment for State of Play Hospitality Limited.
  • The company on a Series A and secondary sale by Slerp Limited.
  • The company on F&B management contracts for White Rabbit Projects in St Andrews, Troon, Slieve Donard.
  • The company on the acquisition by Seminole Tribe of Florida of Hard Rock Café.
  • The company on a VC funding round for Vagabond Wine bars.
  • The company on a VC funding round for Crosstown Dough.
  • The company on the CVA of Wasabi restaurant Group.
  • The company on a rollout of licence and consultancy agreements by Time Out Markets in gateway cities around the world.
  • The shareholders on the sale of The Good Life Eatery restaurant group.
  • The company on a crowdfunding round for Daisy Green restaurant group.
  • The company on the acquisition by Sun Capital of Strada restaurants. 
  • The shareholders on the sale of Vacherin Limited (the contract catering business) to CH&Co. 
  • Deliciously Ella in relation to various fundraising and strategic projects.
  • The company on the acquisition by dnata www.travelrepublic.com.
  • The company on the acquisition by dnata of Alpha Flight group from Autogrill.
  • Hill Capital on its acquisition of a stake in New World Pub Company.
  • Calculus Capital on investments into Chop'd and Benitos Hat.
  • The owners of Hull City Tigers on the sale of the club.
  • Purchase of majority stake in Hibernian FC to US businessman Ron Gordon.
  • The purchaser on the acquisition of Hibernian F.C. by US Businessman Ron Gordon.
  • The purchaser of a controlling stake in Italian football club Pisa S.C.
  • Setanta Sports on the sale of Setanta Australia to Al Jazeera.
more less

Publications

  • David publishes thought pieces regularly in M&C Report in relation to corporate leisure topics
  • “How to buy a Football Club”, World Sports Law Report
more less

Education

  • 1993 – Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law, Sydney, Australia
  • 1992 – Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Laws, University of NSW, Sydney Australia
  • 1986 – Rotary International Scholarship, Canada
  • 1985 – St Leos College, Sydney, Australia
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20/06/2022
High­lights of our ex­per­i­ence in Travel
Neilson Act­ive Hol­i­days - Buy­out of Neilson Act­ive Hol­i­days from Thomas Cook and sub­sequent sale to LDC. Tri­pAd­visor - Ac­quis­i­tion of Ni­umba.com, a Mad­rid based hol­i­day rent­als web­site. APS-Se­lect -...
24/05/2022
CMS sup­ports Tor­tilla on ac­quis­i­tion of Chil­ango
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised long-term res­taur­ant cli­ent Tor­tilla Mex­ic­an Grill Plc (Tor­tilla), on the ac­quis­i­tion of all the is­sued shares of Chil­ango Lim­ited (Chil­ango) for a total of £2.75m...
08/10/2021
CMS ad­vises on Tor­tilla IPO
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised long-term res­taur­ant cli­ent and Quil­vest backed, Tor­tilla Mex­ic­an Grill plc (Tor­tilla), on its suc­cess­ful list­ing and ad­mis­sion to trad­ing on the AIM mar­ket of the...
20/05/2021
CMS Hos­pit­al­ity Bites­ize series - The growth in pop­ular­ity of Man­age­ment...
A lively pan­el dis­cus­sion on the grow­ing pop­ular­ity of man­age­ment agree­ments out­side of the tra­di­tion­al hotel in­dustry – where the res­taur­ants, gyms, bars, mem­bers clubs and the wider leis­ure sec­tor...
22/01/2021
CMS ad­vises in­vestor on cross bor­der foot­ball club ac­quis­i­tion
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised New York-based cor­por­ate fin­an­ci­er Alex Knas­ter on the ac­quis­i­tion of a 75% stake in A.C. Cal­cio Pisa 1909 S.r.l, the own­er of Tuscan-based foot­ball club AC Pisa...
22/10/2020
M&A op­por­tun­it­ies in a post-COV­ID world
The COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic has cut a swathe through glob­al eco­nom­ies, in­dis­crim­in­ately af­fect­ing not only busi­nesses but live­li­hoods and, with that, pla­cing on hold the plans of thou­sands of in­vestors, lenders...
04/03/2020
CMS acts on the sale of Va­cher­in to CH&Co
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ac­ted for the share­hold­ers of high-end in­de­pend­ent con­tract ca­ter­ing com­pany Va­cher­in Ltd on its sale to Equistone backed CH&Co.Va­cher­in is a mod­ern and pro­gress­ive hos­pit­al­ity...
26/11/2019
CMS helps com­pet­it­ive so­cial­ising lead­er SEV raise growth cap­it­al
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ac­ted for mar­ket lead­ing com­pet­it­ive so­cial­ising busi­ness So­cial En­ter­tain­ment Ven­tures Ltd (“SEV”) on a second fun­drais­ing in in six months.The fun­drais­ing in­volved...
20/11/2018
Hos­pit­al­ity Mat­ters - Au­tumn/Winter 2018
Wel­come to Hos­pit­al­ity Mat­ters, our reg­u­lar bul­let­in for the ho­tels and leis­ure in­dustry.We are go­ing to press with the busi­ness world fa­cing un­cer­tain times, per­haps more than usu­al. No Brexit deal has...
14/08/2018
CMS acts for Vag­a­bond Wines on $3.4 mil­lion in­vest­ment by leis­ure in­vestor...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised Vag­a­bond Wines Ltd on se­cur­ing a £3.4 mil­lion in­vest­ment from spe­cial­ist hos­pit­al­ity and leis­ure in­vestor Im­biba. Vag­a­bond Wines will use the fund­ing to ex­pand...
02/07/2018
Find­ing the bal­ance: hu­man touch versus high tech
Ho­tels and res­taur­ants are in­creas­ingly ex­pec­ted to de­liv­er a new and dif­fer­ent ex­per­i­ence; one that leaves a last­ing memory, dis­tin­guishes them from their com­pet­it­ors and em­braces not just tech­no­logy...
08/11/2017
CMS ad­vises glob­al hos­pit­al­ity and food ser­vice lead­er Delaware North on...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised in­ter­na­tion­al food ser­vice and hos­pit­al­ity com­pany, Delaware North, on the ac­quis­i­tion of Ma­gic­goal Ltd, the own­er of quick-ser­vice UK con­cepts Prime Bur­ger, Ro­tis­ser­ie...