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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North West > Corporate and commercial > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the North West

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the North West
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • David Carr - Napthens LLP
    • John Pickervance - Forbes Solicitors
    • Nick Pickup - Forbes Solicitors

Aaron & Partners LLP's Chester-based corporate and commercial team focuses on the Manchester, Cheshire and North Wales regions, as well as working with national and overseas clients. Clients include owner managed businesses (OMBs), venture capitalists, banks and angel investors. Areas of expertise include commercial and corporate transactions, acquisitions and commercial sales contracts. Stuart Scott-Goldstone  heads the team; senior partner Simon Edwards and newly-promoted partner Jamie Hawley are also recommended.   The firm recently expanded by opening an office at Manchester’s Airport City.

Practice head(s):Stuart Scott-Goldstone

Other key lawyers:Simon Edwards; Jamie Hawley; Aaron Vandermark

Key Clients

Illingworth Seddon

Knights of Old

Blue Prism Ltd


Work highlights

  • Acted for Illingworth Seddon on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Iain MacLaverty Wealth Management and Michael Ellis Wealth Management.
  • Advised Compass Financial on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Aqua Financial Services.
  • Acted for an environmental services company on the sale of the entire issued share capital of ESI to Stantec.
  • Advised shareholders on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the Mill Hotel to Chester Mill.
  • Acting for largest shareholder on the sale of LuxuryBARED Holdings to Zurich stock exchange listed company, A Small World.

Forbes Solicitors handles acquisitions, sales, licensing, contracts and distribution agreements, data protection and procurement matters in the North West. Other areas of expertise include governance, charity law and projects. Client sectors include construction, manufacturing, engineering and high street healthcare. The firm has recently seen an increase in instructions from the SME market. Preston-based Pauline Rigby and Chorley-based Daniel Milnes head the team. Associates John Pickervance and Nick Pickup are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Pauline Rigby

Other key lawyers:Daniel Milnes; John Pickervance; Nick Pickup

Key Clients

Kepak Group Limited

WEC Group Limited

Burnley Football Club

HO2 Management Limited

CG Turnbull Holdings Limited

Mattioli Woods

Seed Property Investments

Lifting Gear UK Limited

Ronald Britton Limited

Ongo Homes Limited

Southway Housing Trust

Work highlights

  • Represented Kepak in its acquisition of 2 Sisters Red Meat Limited.
  • Provided intellectual property licensing and contracts advice to Ronald Britton on the sale of manufactured biodegradable glitter products.
  • Acted on behalf of the shareholders and partners in the sale of the entire issued share capital of Fisherbeck Management Limited and the business and assets of the Heart of the Lake Partnership.
  • Acted on behalf of an engineering company in two share capital reductions, which released in excess of £22m in distributable reserves.
  • Advised Gillett Environmental on a commercial agreement for the provision of waste removal services.

Gorvins Solicitors is adept at handling matters including mergers, acquisitions, disposals, management buyouts and buy-ins, private equity and corporate transactions. It also advises on commercial contracts and outsourcing arrangements. Its clients include owner-managed businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs, banks, corporate funders and service providers from the local region as well as nationwide. Key client sectors include media and publishing, housing and construction, finance, retail, healthcare and market research, where the firm has seen an increasing number of instructions. Andrew Curwen heads the team.

Practice head(s):Andrew Curwen

Other key lawyers:Christian Mancier; Paul Lupton; Gemma Lingard; Rowan Uren

Key Clients

Williams Motor Co

Avonside Group services Limited

B2B International Limited

Mondiale Publishing Limited

CGA Strategy Limited

Alan Howard (Stockport) Limited

ProSeal UK Limited

Pennine Air Holdings Limited

LJM Insurance LLP

Pulse Fitness

Richer Sounds plc

Rowlinson Group Limited

Computeam Limited

GPC Computer Software Limited

E-Foods Limited

John Munroe Group

Tandom Metallurgical Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Williams Motor Co on the acquisition and development finance arrangements for the company's new motor retail site at Trafford Park.
  • Advising shareholders in the sale of B2B International to Dentsu Aegis Network.
  • Advised construction company Avonside on four key acquisitions.
  • Advising market research company CGA Strategy on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of CPL Technology Group including CPL Online.
  • Advising Pulse Fitness on its investment from entrepreneur Mo Chaudry in M Investment Group.

Myerson Solicitors LLP advises local and national owner-managed businesses, banks, venture capital institutions, listed companies and individuals on corporate and commercial matters. Key client sectors include IT, IP, professional services and manufacturing. Mohammed Akeel Latif heads the team and focuses on corporate finance work, such as M&A, sales, equity investments, restructuring and capital markets. Terry Moore was promoted to senior solicitor.

Practice head(s):Mohammed Akeel Latif

Other key lawyers:Andrew Brown; Scott Sands; Carla Murray; Philip Ball; Carl Newton; Terry Moore


'Strong in all departments; a one stop legal service'.

'Responsive and proactive approach to new developments in the wider market'.

'Andrew Brown has a professional and friendly manner'.

'Mohammed Akeel Latif is a very safe pair of hands'.

'Terry Moore is a very good commercial lawyer with a hands-on approach'.

Key Clients

CDL Group Limited

Pozzoni Architecture

Customs Connect

Fairhome Group PLC

Evans Textiles

Styles & Wood


Minton Morrill


Tute Education

Escape Room

Associated Security

Joseph Holt

Stax Trade Centres

Work highlights

  • Acted for DF Optometrists on the £578,000 acquisition of Gregory M Etkin.

Napthens LLP represents larger corporates, owner managed businesses and institutional clients on corporate transactions and commercial matters. It is experienced in private equity deals and acting for venture capital funds. Keith Melling heads the team in Preston. Gareth McIntegart heads the  firm's new office in central Liverpool. Senior associate David Carr is also recommended. The firm expanded its offering with the hire of Jon Esner  as a lead partner on the commercial team from an in-house position. Grahame Love joined as partner from Taylors LLP.

Practice head(s):Keith Melling

Other key lawyers:Robert Dobson; Richard Robinson; Gareth McIntegart; David Carr; Jon Esner; Grahame Love; Rachel Atherton

Key Clients

CCN Holdings

Hope Technologies

Wyndham Destinations Inc

Vacation Rentals UK

EH Booths & Co Ltd

Heritage Great Britain Plc

Emerson & Renwick Ltd

C-MAC Partnership Plc

Joloda International

Prefix Systems

English Lakes Hotels Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Assystem Technologies on its acquisition of Stirling Dynamics Limited (SDL)
  • Acting for the shareholders of Smart Storage Holdings on its £13m sale to Scottish-based  Kangaroo Self Storage.
  • Advising on the acquisition of Cabfind from Transdev.
  • Providing regulatory and compliance advice tp Vacation Rentals
  • Acted for the shareholders of Complete Care Network in relation to the sale of the entire issued share capital of Complete Care Network Limited to NRS Healthcare.

SAS Daniels LLP has a good geographic coverage across the North West, with offices in Chester, Stockport, Congleton and Macclesfield. The firm has particular expertise in transactional work for SMEs including M&A, demergers, sales and joint ventures. Client sectors include healthcare, music and education. Chester-based Jeremy Orrell and Kaye Whitby head the corporate and commercial teams respectively.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Orrell; Kaye Whitby

Other key lawyers:Andy Booth; Paul Tyrer

Key Clients

Pentre Group Holdings Limited

Medical Air Technology Limited

Beech Developments (NW) Limited

The Challenge Group

High Court Enforcement Group Limited

TFLI Limited

Louver-Lite Limited

Fayrefield Foods Limited

Premier Care Limited

Rowlinson Knitwear Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted on the sale of Zircom to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).
  • Represented the shareholders in school wear suppliers FR Monkhouse in sale of company.
  • Acted for JDP Hotels in the purchase of Beaufort Park Hotel.
  • Acted on the sale of Flamefast Fire Systems to Marlow Plc.

DTM Legal LLP advises owner-managed businesses, SMEs and family businesses in the Cheshire and North Wales regions. The firm has recently seen an increase in instructions from alternative funding organisations, banks, investment companies, insurance, wealth management companies and private equity houses. Areas of expertise include M&A, restructurings, IP, commercial contracts and governance. Edward Barnes, who is based in both the Chester and Liverpool offices, heads the team.

Practice head(s):Edward Barnes

Other key lawyers:Alison Brennan 

Key Clients

MoJo Holdings

Village Bakery Group

Marine Specialised Technology Limited

Dee 106.3 Limited

Holiday Gems Limited

Rotex Europe Limited

Betts Associates Limited

Business by Technology Limited

Pinacl Holdings Limited

Clwydian Group Limited

TEO UK Packaging Limited

Clogau Gold of Wales Limited

Data Law Limited

D A Roberts Fuels Limited

Centegra Limited

Electricity Solutions Limited

Evolution Childcare Limited

The Marine and Property Group Ltd

Tattenhall Dairy Products Ltd

Cheshire Farm Ice Cream

Callitech Limited (Moneypenny)

The Cygnet Group of Companies

Let Alliance Limited

Calder Group Limited and Calder Industrial Materials Limited

Evoke Creative Limited

PMD Leasing Limited

Apex Industries Limited

Burry Port Marina Limited

Boardlink Group Limited

BPD Holdings Limited

Lewis Reed (WAV) Limited

KMS (Europe) Limited

Charles Own & Company (Bow) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Evoke Creative in relation to £6m investment in the company by Business Growth Fund (BGF).
  • Represented Business By Technology on its multi-million pound acquisition of Technology Solutions Group as part of its continued growth strategy.
  • Acting for Surgitrac on establishing cross-border joint venture and licensing  distribution agreements.

Hillyer McKeown LLP represents owner managed businesses, SMEs and local authorities on various corporate and commercial matters including shareholder agreements, corporate governance, employee benefits, sales and acquisitions, demergers, management buyouts, private equity, joint ventures and outsourcing arrangements. Key client sectors include the technology, healthcare and storage sectors. Anne Scheland heads the team.

Practice head(s):Anne Scheland

Other key lawyers:Steven Harvey; Michael Embra; Rachael Piggott

Key Clients

EA Technology Limited

ANSA Environmental Services Limited

Solutions Asset Finance Limited

Jolliffe & Co LLP represents entrepreneurs, private companies, SMEs and Owner managed businesses. Simon Williams heads the team and advises on transactional and non-transactional corporate and commercial work, such as M&A, reorganisations, management buyouts, private equity, joint ventures, enterprise investment scheme (EIS) advice, enterprise management incentive (EMI) advice and shareholder agreements. The firm has recently started using DocuSign for electronic signatures of contracts and EquiFax for verification of client identities. Mark Fergusson joined as partner from Aaron & Partners LLP.

Practice head(s):Simon Williams

Other key lawyers:Tom Newman; Elizabeth Judson; Mark Fergusson


'Personal service and always available'.

'Efficient and personable'.

Key Clients

Chester Zoo (the North of England Zoological Society)

HIAB Limited

La-Z-Boy UK Limited

Rhino Products Limited

Inform CPI Limited

The Armstrong Partnership Limited

Challenger Mobile Communications Limited

JA Imports Limited

Isringhausen (GB) Limited

The shareholders of Menai Holiday Cottages Limited

Socialsignin Limited

The Corbett Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for outgoing shareholders in the sale of the entire issued share capital of Pro-Vision Distribution Limited for £3m.
  • Acted for Chester Centurions FC Limited (now The 1885 Sporting Village Limited) on its £1m donation to Chester City Supporters’ Society Limited (ie Chester FC), in order to develop the club’s infrastructure and income streams and assist in its long-term growth and sustainability.
  • The practice is instructed by the zoo on all of its commercial law needs.
  • Advised HIAB Ltd on the acquisition of the business and assets of Londonderry Garage (S.E.) Limited.
  • Advise La-Z-Boy UK on commercial law needs.

Slater Heelis LLP advises a wide range of clients including life sciences companies, charities, education, professional services, healthcare, veterinary and entrepreneurial clients. Sale-based Katharine Mellor is adept at handling M&A, reorganisations and partnerships matters, particularly in the SME and OMB space. Associate solicitor Richard Riley, who is also based is Sale, deals with software development, licensing and franchising. Simon Wallwork heads the team from the Manchester office. Jim Tully joined as partner from an in-house position at Co-op.

Practice head(s):Simon Wallwork

Other key lawyers:Katharine Mellor; Richard Riley; Jim Tully

Key Clients

Kids Allowed Limited



Simpson Haugh Architects

Work highlights

  • Completed an acquisition for £1.9m for Windmill Properties and Paddock Inns
  • Represented Tre Ciccio in external investment to fund further expansion of the business.

Brabners LLP’s 'proactive' and  'knowledgeable' Preston office advises on commercial matters, corporate transactions with implications of insolvency, regulatory issues, pensions, intellectual property and construction/planning. Nicola Whittle was recently promoted to partner and heads the corporate team. Head of commercial Richard Hough works between the Manchester and Preston offices. Mairead Platt joined as solicitor from KBL Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):Nicola Whittle

Other key lawyers:Richard Hough; Mairead Platt


Extremely approachable, knowledgeable and ready to help’.

A very proactive and friendly team backed by their expertise in everything legal’.

Nicola Whittle is outstanding - always responsive, clear and has a great network of contacts to support any client’.

Key Clients

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

Eventura Limited

DCS North West Limited

Santander UK PLC

CSK Electrical Services Limited

Haroby Limited

Bowland Foods Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Haroby Holdings on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital in a target company.
  • Represented Bowland Foods on an acquisition
  • Acted for Rockport UK in an internal reorganisation prior to the ultimate sale of the parent company in the US out of bankruptcy.

Butcher & Barlow LLP 'provides the complete spectrum of legal services'. It advises on various corporate and commercial matters including share options, shareholder agreements, commercial agreements and partnership agreements. The team is headed by Gadbrook Park-based Jonathan Aldersley who specialises in enterprise management incentive (EMI) schemes. Andrew MacKenzie, Adam Shawcross and Rebecca Jepson were promoted to partner in May 2018.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Aldersley

Other key lawyers:James Hodgson; Andrew Mackenzie; Adam Shawcross; Rebecca Jepson; Rachel Martin


'A local/regional firm with the capability of much larger city firms'.

Jonathan Aldersley is very efficient in his delivery’.

A very diverse law firm which provides the complete spectrum of legal services’.


Key Clients

Joseph Holt

Higham & Higham

Conveyor Networks Ltd

Booth Charities

Fifield Glynn

SPS Viking limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for SPS Viking in acquisition of assets and goodwill from administrator.
  • Acted for Thomas Leo Murphy and Van Raam Holdings as seller in a sale of shares deal totalling £16.5m.
  • Advised Fifield Glyn on the acquisition of the business and assets of a London based surveyors.
  • Advising pension trustees on a new structure to fund pension deficit.

Farleys Solicitors LLP is 'always easy to work with', according to clients. It  advises mainly SMEs in the Lancashire market on sales and purchases, corporate restructurings, mergers and demergers. investments and joint ventures. The firm has a start-up advice program called Evolve that supports the growth of new businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises. Debbie King heads the team.

Practice head(s):Debbie King

Other key lawyers:Ian Liddle; Charlotte Mills

Work highlights

  • Advised Fat Media on acquisition of Reading Room from Idox.
  • Advised Technical Textile Services on the acquisition of two competitor companies, taking Techtex to a £20m turnover business.

Fielden Marshall Glover Strutt advises plc and SME clients in various industries including, retail, fast moving consumer goods, telecoms, media, pharmaceutical, professional services, manufacturing, consulting and outsourcing.   Other clients include trade associations, angel investors , company directors and shareholders. Areas of expertise include M&A, restructuring, venture capital work, and shareholder and investment agreements. Nicholas Fielden heads the team.

Practice head(s):Nicholas Fielden

Other key lawyers:Christopher Strutt; Craig Whittingham; Nicky Davies

KBL Solicitors LLP acts for individuals and businesses in relation to share issues, management restructurings, growth and development, sales and mergers. The practice has recently seen an increase of instructions relating to secured lending for property developments and projects. Department head Philip Stephenson focuses on corporate transactions, commercial contracts, MBOs, joint ventures and partnership work. Consultant Jonathan Shorrock is experienced in advising sports clubs on governance matters.

Practice head(s):Phil Stephenson

Other key lawyers:Anneka Traynor; Jonathan Shorrock

Baines Wilson LLP has a focus on corporate acquisitions and disposals, and also deals with broader commercial matters. Andrew Hill heads the team and is experienced in advising on initial and secondary issues, takeovers, private equity/venture capital transactions, reorganisations, joint ventures and general governance issues. Kate Parker was promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):Andrew Hill

Other key lawyers:John Wilson; Chris Kelly; Kate Parker; Samantha-Jane Amor

Key Clients

Stolle Machinery Company LLC

Lloyd Motor Group

Cumberland Building Society

Svenska Handelsbanken

Penrith Farmers’ & Kidd’s plc

James Brearley & Sones Limited

Butterfly Group Healthcare Limited

EcoRenew Group

A W Jenkinson Limited

Lake District Hotels Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Lake District Hotels on the sale of a hotel for a guide price of £2.75m.
  • Advised Butterfly Group on multiple disposals resulting in sale of entire care home portfolio.
  • Advising on the sale of a holiday park business and assets.

Corporate and commercial: Liverpool

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Liverpool
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Brabners LLP represents entrepreneurs, private companies, SMEs, owner managed businesses, family businesses, small private equity houses and AIM listed companies from its Liverpool office. The team covers a wide range of industry sectors including: sport, technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, dentistry, automotive, hospitality and housing associations. Mark Rathbone heads the corporate team and Matt Brown heads the commercial team, which is able to work with Brabners' other North West offices in Manchester and Preston.  Other key partners in the team include Colin Bell, Michael Brabner, Rupert Gill, Andrew O’Mahony, David Maples and firmwide managing partner Nik White. Senior associate Nicola Lomas is also recommended. Michael Winder was promoted to senior associate.

Practice head(s):Matt Brown; Mark Rathbone

Other key lawyers:David Seddon; Daniel Hayhurst; Colin Bell; Michael Brabner; Rupert Gill; Andrew O'Mahony; David Maples; Nik White; Nicola Lomas; Michael Winder


Quick to respond to matters and helpful during the whole process’.

 Knowledgeable, charismatic and enthusiastic’.

Key Clients

Peel Ports

NWF Group plc

James Hall and Company (SPAR)

Suez Recycling and Recovery Limited

Real Good Food Group

Business Growth Fund

Liverpool Mutual Homes (now Torus62 Limited)

Acquipeak Assets

Hillview Homes

VeCapital Limited

Promenade Holdings Limited

Ion Property Group

Work highlights

  • Advising on various commercial arrangements for the Commonwealth Games Federation relating to the games’ commercial rights and various other agreements including IT agreements with suppliers, agency and consultancy agreements.
  • Acting for Ondeo Industrial Services' in-house M&A team in Paris on the disposal of Suez Water Conditioning Services Limited.
  • Acting for Peel Ports on a wide range of commercial agreements, including the procurement of an Enterprise Resource Planning solution that will play a role in all port operations.
  • Acting for Gas Tag on its equity fund raise from Waterland Private Equity Limited and its subsequent acquisition of Millington Lord Limited.
  • Acted as lead adviser on the amalgamation of Liverpool Mutual Homes with the three registered providers that were within the Torus Group: Helena, Golden Gates and Torus.

DLA Piper UK LLP 's Liverpool corporate team acts for major UK and international corporates, as well as local clients including football clubs and government bodies, on corporate and commercial  joint ventures, international collaborations, private equity based transactions and public sector outsourcing. The firm is able to leverage its network of regional and international offices as it works on matters including M&A, management buyouts (MBOs) and group restructurings. Sarah Bell and Manchester-based James Kerrigan head the team with support from commercial expert Peter Brook. Senior associate Paddy Dwyer is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Sarah Bell; James Kerrigan

Other key lawyers:Gemma Cowap; Michael Hudson; Peter Brook; Paddy Dwyer


'Peter Brook is very keen to ensure value for the client'.

Key Clients

arvato Group

Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd t/a Barclays Partner Finance


Flywheel IT Services

Heineken UK

Hunter Boots Limited

Liverpool City Council

Liverpool Football Club

Newell Rubbermaid

PetrolValves Srl

QA Limited

Sutton & Son (St Helens) Ltd

UK Government (NHS England, Cabinet Office, Department for Transport, Natural Environment Research Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Crown Commercial Services, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)



Work highlights

  • Advising Newell Rubbermaid UK on a range of different commercial matters from commercial agreements through to corporate restructuring, consumer protection and advertising.
  • Advising UK Research & Innovation and the Natural Environment Research Council in relation to the spin out of two of their Research Centres into the private sector, as charitable-companies limited by guarantee.
  • Acted for Air Navigation Solutions on a call-off contract for the supply of project services, including works, goods and/or services in respect of the implementation of Air Traffic Management Systems and associated airspace consultancy and development activities under an overarching framework agreement with Gatwick Airport Limited.

Hill Dickinson LLP 's strong Liverpool corporate team represents national and international commercial and corporate clients including large private companies, start-ups, partnerships and private individuals. Areas of expertise include M&A, private equity and joint ventures. Craig Scott heads the team with support from Jonathan Brown, Mike Jones, Matt Noon, Sue Russell and Michael Murphy. Legal director Graeme Alder is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Craig Scott

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Brown; Mike Jones; Matt Noon; Sue Russell; Michael Murphy; Graeme Alder; Emma Colins; Elan Iorwerth

Key Clients

Stobart Group

Enterprise Ventures Growth II fund

Next Wave Partners

The Delivery Group

CRH Group

Carrs Milling Industries PLC

JLA Group

Fishawack Communications

Kuehne + Nagel

Downing Students

Work highlights

  • Acted for the management team of JLA Group on the acquisition by Cinven Private Equity from Hg Capital (and others) of the entire issued share capital of JLA New Equityco Limited.
  • Advised The Delivery Group on the sale of UK based global ecomms logistics delivery business P2P Mailing Limited to the FedEx Corporation in Memphis for a cash consideration of £92.7m.
  • Advised We Are Discounts Limited on its sale to Brinc Services Limited for £38.8m.
  • Advised Stobart Group and Connect Airways on its proposed takeover of Flybe plc for £102.2m.
  • Advised Peel Land on the creation of a joint venture for the £55m regeneration and redevelopment of Birkenhead Docks.

DWF represents a range of clients including SMEs and large corporates on corporate and commercial matters. Areas of expertise include M&A, private equity deals, negotiation of agreements, outsourcing arrangements as well as  asset and real estate management and licensing matters.  Paul Rimmer, Paul Attwood and Ben Cooke, who was recently promoted to partner, head the team. Senior associate James Cashman is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Paul Rimmer; Paul Attwood; Ben Cooke

Other key lawyers:James Cashman

Key Clients

Inflexion Private Equity

Marks and Spencer Plc

Livingbridge Private Equity

Optionis Group

ACC Liverpool Group

Liverpool John Moores University

Burton's Biscuits

National Museums Liverpool

Hobs Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Burton's Biscuits on the sale of its chocolate manufacturing plant.
  • Represented Inflexion on the creation of Comparison Technologies Limited.
  • Acting for Hobs Liver Limited in its disposal of Hobs on-site Limited.
  • Advised on the acquisition of First Freeland Limited and First Five Projects Limited.

O'Connors offers corporate, commercial, insurance and regulatory advice from its Liverpool head office. On the corporate side it covers M&A, management buyouts and buy-ins, private equity investment and restructurings. It also offers a broad range of commercial advice for companies and individuals on areas including joint ventures, public-private partnerships, as well as e-commerce and cyber security issues. Its clients, who say the firm 'treats them as part of the family' , include insurance brokers, insurers, investment funds and law firms. John Spofforth and Michael Ainsworth head the team. Firm co-founder Mark O’Connor is known for 'leading by example', instilling an 'approach of professional calm'.

Practice head(s):John Spofforth; Michael Ainsworth

Other key lawyers:David Malone; Paul O’Connor; Nigel Wallis; Christina Millan; Mark O'Connor; Natasha Collins


'O'Connors has gone from strength to strength - they remain peerless in their niche sector, with approachability, clear headed thinking, coupled with a remarkable degree of understanding of a client's needs and ambitions raising them above their competitors. To have them 'in your corner' is as much a comfort as anything else and the respect for their expertise and total professionalism from their contemporaries is unmatched. They are a stunning group of top professionals.'

'A combination of high attention to detail and quality care coupled with immediate intellectual understanding sets O'Connors apart from other firms that I have dealt with.'

'The approach of the firm as a whole is one of professional calm. Mark O'Connor leads by example in this respect and his influence is carried through into the actions of his colleagues. Considered thinking ensures appropriate response - rather than immediate reaction that requires later review/amend.'

Key Clients

Haarslev UK Ltd

Risk Services (NW) Ltd

Essential Cuisine Ltd

Intelipac Paper Manufacturing

MSB Solicitors

Weightmans LLP handles M&A, corporate governance, funding, general company law advice and commercial affairs for public and private companies. Other areas of practice include succession planning, joint ventures, shareholder reorganisations and venture capital, private equity transactions and GDPR compliance. Clients sectors include built environment, financial services, retail, utilities, transport, logistics, leisure, manufacturing, professional services and insurance. Manchester-based Sarah Walton heads the team. Laurence Pritchard and John Schorah are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Sarah Walton

Other key lawyers:Patricia Grinyer; Roland Hutchins; Gary Jones; Kieran Donovan; Sean Crotty; Laurence Pritchard; John Schorah; Rachel Owen; Rachel Coppenhall


'Laurence Pritchard gets straight to the centre of the problem and gives clear advice'.

Key Clients

OBG Pharmaceuticals Limited

Sovini Group Limited


1pm plc

All About Food Limited

NW Trading (Holdings) Limited

Greif UK International Holdings Limited

Belton Farm Group Limited

Goonhilly Earth Station Limited

Peter Johnson

George Roberts ( North West ) Limited

S Norton & Co Limited

Meade –King Robinson & Company Limited

Pilgrim Global ICAV


Lloyds Bank plc

Allied Irish Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised All About Food Limited on a licence for the manufacture, promotion and retail of certain products under the Costa brand.
  • Advising manufacturing company Greif and its wider group of parent companies in connection with Greif UK becoming a signatory to an international syndicated credit agreement.
  • Advising NW Trading  in connection with options around the end of a joint venture operation at one of its locations in the North East.
  • Advising oil & gas company H&D Fitzgerald on the establishment of a new group structure and reorganisation of the business to hive down a discrete part of the business in preparation for sale to Oil & Gas Measurement Limited, a UK subsidiary of a Russian multinational.
  • Advised BHSF on the negotiation of a contract between April UK and BHSF about a book of business to be taken over by BHSF.

Bermans 'outstanding' team is adept at handling private equity backed transactions, venture capital deals, M&A, disposals, joint ventures and shareholder reorganisations. Clients include private companies, SMEs, family businesses, entrepreneurs, management teams, professional partnerships, charities and institutional investors. The firm is increasingly dealing with cross-border transactions. Manchester-based Jon Davage heads the team with support from Anton Stirrett. Stephen Jarman joined from Taylors LLP as partner.

Practice head(s):Jon Davage

Other key lawyers:Anton Stirrett; Stephen Jarman


Outstanding commercial and technical expertise, and knowledge’.

Jon Davage has an intuitive understanding of his clients’ position and approach to risk, and their objectives from the deal. He is an outstanding team leader’.

Key Clients

M & A Beer Holdings Limited

Everbright Lodge Limited

DTM Legal LLP advises on sales and acquisitions, restructurings, international deals and private equity deals. Recently the firm has seen increasing instructions from alternative funding organisations, banks, investment companies, insurance and wealth management companies. Clients include SMEs, owner-managed businesses and family businesses. Edward Barnes, who splits his time between Chester and Liverpool, heads the team with support from Philip Whitehurst.

Practice head(s):Edward Barnes

Other key lawyers:Philip Whitehurst; Kevin Howard

Key Clients

Evoke Creative

Esterform Packaging Limited

Daisy & Jake Day Nursery Limited

Vast Visibility Limited

Heap & Partners Limited

Marine Specialised Technology Limited

UK Circuits and Electronics Solutions Limited

Future Moto Limited

KMS (Europe) Limited

Prima Business Control Software Limited

GRS Contractors

Pharmadaggio Limited

Harts Caravan Park Limited

Adapt Formwork Limited

Soundtesting Limited

HPAPI Project Services Limited

C Wynne & Sons Limited

R L Davies & Son Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Evoke and its owner managers on its £6m investment by the Business Growth Fund. This involved complex private equity document negotiation and related share structure work to support its rapid growth in the UK and overseas.
  • Acting for the owners and managers of the national children’s day nursery chain, Daisy and Jake Day Nurseries Limited, in the multi-million pound sale of the business to Busy Bees.
  • Acted for the owners of Bolton based IT and audio visual business, Information Data Network Supplies Limited (IDNS) in relation to a restructuring and multi-million pound funding arrangement and subsequent sale of the business to its key management.
  • Acting for owners of GRS (Contractors) Limited on the sale of the company for significant consideration.

Corporate and commercial: Manchester

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Manchester
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Addleshaw Goddard 's team handles M&A, cross-border transactions, equity capital markets, private equity, corporate real estate deals and IPOs. Paul Medlicott heads the team and represents private equity investors, sellers and management teams, acting for many private equity houses in the North West. The 'unflappable' Andrew Green acts on corporate transactions and also focuses on private equity, meanwhile the 'exceptional and hands-on' Roger Hart and managing associate George Danczak  are also recommended. Michael Birchall and legal director Jamie Partridge both left the firm for Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Practice head(s):Paul Medlicott

Other key lawyers:Duncan Wilson; Richard Lee; Jemma Clarke; Andrew Green; Roger Hart; George Danczak


‘Easy to deal with, hard working and focus the discussion with clients on the issues that matter most’.

Andrew Green is a real solution finder - unflappable on deals and brings a calming air of authority’.

George Danczak is a high quality lawyer who seems destined to be a very effective partner in the making’.

Extremely professional, very dedicated and committed to giving clear and timely advice, despite working to tight timescales’.

The Addleshaws team are exceptional in almost every way.  They are extremely responsive, highly commercial and pragmatic, and very client centric’.

Roger Hart is an exceptional, hands-on partner. He is always available and provides highly commercial and pragmatic support’.

Key Clients

Peel Group


Dixons Carphone

The Hut

JD Sports Fashion



PZ Cussons


Many private equity houses in the North West including Ardenton, BGF, ECI, Elysian, Endless, Equistone, Foresight, Inflexion, Livingbridge, LDC, Maven, NorthEdge, Palatine, Phoenix, Primary Capital, YFM and Waterland along with many of their portfolio companies

Work highlights

  • Advised on the $558m acquisition of The Finish Line, Inc.
  • Advised owners on the sale of the Concept Life Sciences Group to Spectris plc for £163m.
  • Advised Numis in its capacity as sponsor, financial adviser, sole bookrunner and broker to AJ Bell in respect of its IPO on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange for a market capitalisation offer price of £651m.
  • Advised Produce Investments PLC on its takeover offer by Promethean Investments LLP for £55.3m.
  • Advised The Bruntwood Group on its acquisition of Birmingham Science Park and subsequent joint venture with Legal & General, to be known as Bruntwood SciTech.

DLA Piper UK LLP handles sales and acquisitions, private equity transactions, MBOs and various commercial matters for local, national and international private companies, public companies, private equity houses, entrepreneurs and global corporate organisations from its Manchester office. Key client sectors include industrial, Fintech, retail, and food and beverage. Lee Brierley and James Kerrigan head the team. Other key partners include Jonathan Watkins, Yunus Maka and Andrew Phillips who recently joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. Senior associate David Booth is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Lee Brierley; James Kerrigan

Other key lawyers:Elia Montorio; Stephen Wright; Luke Stubbs; Jonathan Watkins, Yunus Maka; Andrew Phillips; David Booth

Key Clients

ABM Industries Inc



Beech Tree Private Equity

Biffa Group Limited


Talk Talk Group plc

Flowtech Fluidpower plc

Key Retirement Group

Lloyds Development Capital

Molson Coors

NCC Group plc


Nichols plc

The Co-operative Bank

The Hut Group

Transport for the North

Verna Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Visa Europe Services on its £142m acquisition of Fraedom Group from Hogg Robinson Group.
  • Advising Metric Capital Partners and management of YM&U Central Services Limited (formerly James Grant Group Limited) in relation to the tertiary buy-out of the group  by Trilantic Capital Partners.
  • Advising Beech Tree Private Equity on the MBO of BCN Group.
  • Advising on the £60.1m acquisition of the business and assets of Donnelley Language Solutions. The deal was structured as the acquisition of various assets, liabilities and shares in the subsidiary companies of the seller across 14 territories.
  • Advising Willows Veterinary Group on the sale of the business and assets of the group (including the share sale of Beeston Animal Health) to VetPartners Practices.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP advises on M&A, sales, joint ventures, private equity and commercial matters. The firm acts for public and private sector clients and continues to advise on major regeneration and development projects across the UK. The team, headed by  Tom Bridgford ,  focuses on client sectors including healthcare, aerospace and defence, technology, retail, real estate and chemicals.  Key partners include Alistair Cree, Daniel Hall and Michael Birchall , who recently joined from Addleshaw Goddard. Senior associate Elizabeth Tindall  and legal director Jamie Partridge are also recommended. Nicola Brookes was promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):Tom Bridgford

Other key lawyers:Nick Stubbs; Richard Hill; Kuljeet Gill; Jackie Heeds; Richard Jones; Alistair Cree; Daniel Hall; Michael Birchall; Elizabeth Tindall; Jamie Partridge; Nicola Brookes

Key Clients

Zeus Capital Partners

Manchester Airports Group

Four Seasons Healthcare Limited

Van Elle Holdings plc

Urban Splash Holdings Limited

BT Group plc


BAE Systems plc

Westrock Corporation

European Metal Recycling Limited


Superdry plc

Lucozade Ribena Suntory


Smiths Business Information Services Limited

Go Plant Fleet Services Limited

University of Manchester

Work highlights

  • Acting for Cox & Kings (Indian listed) on the sale of its Travel Education Division to Midlothian Capital Partners Limited for £488m.
  • Acting on the £237m acquisition of Minit Mart from TravelCentres of America
  • £90m sale of Russells Construction, Russell Homes and Alliance Property Asset Management to WHBO Construction and Catella.
  • Continuing to advise the university on the circa £1.5bn development of its North Campus in Manchester City Centre.
  • Advised Urban Splash House Limited in its landmark corporate joint venture with Peel Holdings in relation to the £55m development of 347 modular homes within the Wirral Waters dockside development in Liverpool.

Pinsent Masons LLP is adept at representing large corporates on strategic M&A and equity capital markets deals, as well as focusing on private equity, where it works with many buyout houses and management teams . On the commercial side the firm advises on supply chain management, franchising, advertising, agency, distribution, outsourcing, logistics, managed services, licensing, data protection and compliance. Key client sectors include manufacturing, technology and energy. Gregg Davison and Samantha Livesey head the team, with support from Helen Ridge, Kieran Toal and Amie Norris who was recently promoted to partner. Senior associate Alasdair Weir is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Gregg Davison; Samantha Livesey

Other key lawyers:Victoria Jew; Sam Hall; Helen Ridge; Kieran Toal; Amie Norris; Alasdair Weir

Key Clients

AMEC Foster Wheeler Plc

Livingbridge Equity No Partners LLP


Equistone Partners No Europe Limited

ECI Partners

UDG Healthcare plc

Sovereign Capital Partners

Linnaeus group

Co-operative Group

Aventas Manufacturing

Vaultex UK Limited

UK Sport

Innovative Vector Control Consortium

The Jockey Club

Work highlights

  • Advised AJ Bell plc on its £650m main market flotation.
  • Sole adviser to Equistone Partners Europe and the management team on the £380m private equity sale and secondary management buyout of Travel Counsellors to Vitruvian Partners.
  • Advised the shareholders of Linnaeus on its sale to Mars, having acted for Sovereign Capital on the initial investment and advising the company on all of its bolt on acquisition.
  • Advised the Co-op Group on its successful purchase of Nisa Retail for £143m.
  • Advised the Innovative Vector Control Consortium on international projects for the delivery of products for the reduction of vector borne diseases.

The expanding CMS Manchester team has a particular focus on the corporate real estate and hotels sectors. It advises national and international clients on corporate finance, fundraisings, public and private M&A, joint ventures and corporate governance. London-based Charles Currier, Iain Newman and Manchester-based Howard Gill head the UK-wide team. In Manchester the firm has added a number of associates including James Kay ,  James Crossman and Tim Dobbing ,who moved from the London office.

Practice head(s):Charles Currier; Iain Newman; Howard Gill

Other key lawyers:James Kay; James Crossman; Tim Dobbing

Key Clients Limited


Spectrum Brands Group

Bibby Line Group

Manchester Airport Group

Zeus Capital Limited Limited

Ground Rents Income Fund plc

Fattal Hotels Limited

FETTE Compacting International GmbH

International Hotel Properties Group Limited

Select Property Group

Work highlights

  • Represented shareholders of on an investment by Inflexion, which valued the  company at £405m.
  • Acted for FTSE250 listed company RDI REIT on its £162m acquisition of an 80% interest in the LSO Services Interco Limited group of companies.
  • Advising Bibby Supply Chain Services, a subsidiary of Liverpool based conglomerate Bibby Line Group, on its sale of Packaging Logistics Limited to Contraload.
  • Acted for FETTE Compacting International GmbH (FETTE) acquiring Euro-Pharma Machinery Limited which has been a distributor of the products of FETTE for 20 years in the UK.
  • Advised Manchester Airports Holding Limited on the creation of a property company (PropCo).

DWF acts for local, national and international clients on capital markets, M&A, private equity transactions and commercial matters. The 'robust' and 'commercial' team represents private equity houses, management teams, listed companies and nomads and brokers. Key client sectors include financial services, retail and technology. Craig Chaplin, Jonathan Robinson, Frank Shephard and James Lonsdale head the team. Lisa Stavropoulos is also recommended. Stuart Crook joined as associate from Stephensons Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):Craig Chaplin; Jonathan Robinson; Frank Shephard; James Lonsdale

Other key lawyers:Alasdair Outhwaite; Vicky Thomas; Darren Ormsby; Richard Meehan; Bradley Martin; Craig Chaplin; Jonathan Robinson; Frank Shephard; James Lonsdale; Lisa Stavropoulos; Stuart Crook


Commercial, detailed and  with a thorough understanding of the issues.' 

Unafraid to be robust’.

Good partner engagement, very hands on’.

Very commercial and focused on adding value beyond just legal advice’.

Key Clients

Arlington Industries Group Limited

Sovereign Capital

Moneyplus Group Limited

Optionis Group

Redx Pharma plc

Equiniti Group plc

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

Waterland PE

Lloyds Development Capital

NorthEdge Capital

Livingbridge LLP

Aurelius private Equity


RMS International Limited

Fluent Money Group Limited

Carpenter Technology Corporation Inc

Sofology Limited

Healthcare Communications (UK) Limited

Velocity Composites plc

Scapa Group plc

Together Money

Endless LLP

Palatine Private Equity LLP

Blue Bay Travel Limited

Zeus Capital Limited

finnCap Limited

Tatton Asset Management plc

Assura PLC

Vivona Brands Limited

Comparison Technologies Limited Group


NWF Fuels plc

James Cropper plc

Mission Mars Limited

Zeus Group Limited

Serco plc


Wincanton plc

Manchester City

Manchester United


Morrisons Supermarkets


British Cycling

Tangle Teezer

Mini-cam Enterprises Limited

Lookers plc

Now Healthcare Group Limited

Cardinal Maritime Limited

Zuto Holdings limited

Belle Vue aces Speedway



Marks and Spencer

Work highlights

  • Corporate acquisition of Aquila Holdings Limited by Equiniti.
  • Represented the shareholders of LPW Technology Limited on the £65m sale of LPW Technology Limited to New York Stock Exchange-listed Carpenter Technology Corporation
  • Acting for the Shareholders of Mission Mars in relation to a £10.5m investment in the company by Business Growth Fund.
  • Acting on the £30m acquisition of the holding company of Stratford Healthcare Centre.
  • Advised Schweiter on its £92m acquisition of Lucite Acrylic Sheet.

Gateley Plc represents blue chip businesses, private equity houses and management teams. On the corporate side, the firm advises private and public companies on M&A, private equity deals, MBOs, disposals, joint ventures and shareholder/member arrangements. On the commercial side it advises on core business contracts, supply chain management, brand protection, payment services and outsourcing. Charles Glaskie and Jonathan Moakes head the team. Rebecca Grisewood ,  Paul Jefferson and Stephen Roberts are also recommended

Practice head(s):Charles Glaskie; Jonathan Moakes

Other key lawyers:Mark Halliwell; Nigel Brown; Khurshid Valli; Chris Dunn; Kate Richards; Peter Budd; John Burns; Leigh Whittaker; Paul Jefferson; Stephen Roberts

Key Clients


Inspired Energy Plc

Yearsley Group

Just Childcare Limited

Foresight Group

Palatine Private Equity


Grafenia PLC

Sorted Holdings Limited

City Football Group

Lookers plc

AB InBev

Work highlights

  • Sale of Yearsley Group Limited to Lineage Logistics.
  • Sale of a stake in Betfred’s Tote business to Alizeti Capital Limited.
  • Advised the sellers on the £13.2m sale of PP Control & Automation Limited to PP Holdco Limited, backed by Ardenton Capital.
  • Advised the management team of Menzies Distribution, backed by private equity firm Endless, on the £74.5m management buy-out from John Menzies Plc.
  • Advised Grafenia PLC on a placing of shares.

Squire Patton Boggs advises global clients on M&A, private equity and capital markets and has a growing presence in the corporate real estate market. The firm has a particular focus on the chemicals and manufacturing sectors, and also the tech sector where it is introducing innovative pricing models for start-ups and early stage businesses. Clients include institutional investors, angels and founders/managers. Giles Chesher heads the team and specialises in mid-market private equity and advising large corporate clients. James Fitzgibbon and Jane Haxby are also recommended, while Darren Warburton  has a wealth of experience in the chemicals manufacturing sector.

Practice head(s):Giles Chesher

Other key lawyers:Jane Haxby; Darren Warburton; Andrea Cropley; James Fitzgibbon; Laura Green; Matthew Canipa; James Fitzgibbon; Jane Haxby

Key Clients

Miss Group Holdings

NorthEdge Capital LLP

On the Beach plc

GB Group

I.T. Labs Limited

BGF Investments LP

Maven Capital Partners (UK) LLP

Belden Inc

United States Bank

Co-operative Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Miss Group on the investment of £6.5m by BGF.
  • Advised On the Beach on its £21m acquisition of Classic Collection Holidays.
  • Advised I.T. Labs Limited on its £20m acquisition of Content & Cloud.
  • Acted for Cheshire Energy Limited on the £16m acquisition of the entire share capital of Halite Energy Group Limited and Anglesey LNG Limited.
  • Advised on the transfer of over £1 bn worth of assets.

Brabners LLP represents clients in the tech, media, automotive, healthcare, sport, entrepreneurial and social housing sectors.  Described by clients as 'always available', 'diligent' and 'approachable', the firm advises on M&A, disposals, investment structures, commercial contractual agreements and governance matters. Sam Mabon has taken over from Mark Brandwood  as head of corporate, while Richard Hough  is head of commercial. Tony Harper and Simon Lewis are also recommended. Jon Close joined as partner from Knights plc. Former head of team David Bowcock left the firm for Fieldfisher.

Practice head(s):Richard Hough; Sam Mabon

Other key lawyers:Caroline Litchfield; Ruth Hargreaves; Tony Harper; Simon Lewis; Jon Close, Mark Brandwood, Richard Hepworth


Personal service, genuine interest in and commitment to the clients’ best interests’.

Always available to provide considered advice - thorough, diligent and personable’.

Knowledgeable and approachable people who have an understanding of what we are trying to achieve with our business’.

Key Clients

Beaverbrooks the Jewellers

Typhoo Tea

Begbies Traynor Group plc (including Eddisons, surveyors)

Rhenus Logistics

AGC Chemicals

Bridgestone UK Limited (also known as Bridgestone Tyres)

VT Holdings Co. Limited

Kingsway Financial Group

The Shaw Trust

Chase de Vere

Veka plc

Nikal Investments

Work highlights

  • Represented All About Children Limited on a series of acquisitions as part of their buy and build strategy.
  • Represented Paul Deason  on his sale of a majority stake in Limited to US company, Motorsport Experiences LLC.
  • Represented NRL Limited in its acquisition of Intec (UK) Limited.
  • Represented Begbies Traynor Group PLC on its £3.7m acquisition of Springboard Corporate Finance Limited.
  • Represented Charles Clark Motors Limited in its disposal of car dealerships to Vantage Motor Group.

Fieldfisher is adept at handling cross-border M&A, private equity, venture capital transactions, and Series A and growth capital fundraisings. Other areas of focus include franchising, e-commerce, licensing, concessions, agency, distribution and strategic alliances. The firm has strengthened its practice with a number of hires including corporate head David Bowcock , who joined the firm from Brabners LLP in May 2018 to launch the practice in its current form.  Adam Jones joined from Brabners LLP as an associate and Charlotte Round joined from Brabners LLP as partner. Tom Ward was promoted to partner and relocated to Manchester from Fieldfisher's London office as part of the firm's push to grow the base and integrate its national and international corporate team.

Practice head(s):David Bowcock

Other key lawyers:Tom Ward; James Corlett; Adam Jones; Charlotte Round; Rachel Leigh


'Tom Ward is a super lawyer. Very knowledgeable and very can do.'

Key Clients

Restore plc

Marlowe plc

Jaywing plc

Gusbourne plc

Custom Gateway Limited

GHG London Holdings Limited

Allegion plc

Typhon Treatment Systems Limited

Deacon Street Partners Limited

Oasis Fashions Group

Warehouse Fashions Group

YorkTest Laboratories

Work highlights

  • Represented Restore on its £88m acquisition of TNT's document storage business
  • Represented Marlowe on its £30m acquisition of William Martin Compliance Solutions Limited.
  • Representing Typhon Treatment Systems on its series C funding round and related commercial developments.
  • Representing GHG London Holdings on the sale of its property holding company and various reorganisation steps to facilitate the sale.
  • Represented Ernst & Young Global Services on its acquisition of Riverview Law.

Hill Dickinson LLP focuses on equity capital markets, M&A, cross-border transactions, asset acquisitions and disposals, corporate joint ventures and investments. The firm has also been acting on an increasing number of private equity transactions. The 'very enthusiastic and hard working' Ian Gillis heads the corporate practice, with Mark Fitzgibbon heading the commercial and IP team.  Ian Riggs advises accountants and OMBs.

Practice head(s):Ian Gillis; Mark Fitzgibbon

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Gillow; David Mkhitarian; Tracey Sheehan; James Down; Sean Lightfoot; Katie Somerville; Ian Riggs

Key Clients

Stobart Group

Styles & Wood

Sykes Cottages


BGF Investment

Barber of Sheffield

Seneca Partners

Royal Sanders

Cenkos Securities

Parkwood Holdings

Work highlights

  • Acting for Styles & Wood Group Plc on its £42.5m take private transaction.
  • Acting for shareholders and management on £2.5m partial buy-out of ABL Health Limited supported by investment by Foresight Group.
  • Acting for Waterland Private Equity on its circa £20m investment into Gas Tag Limited
  • Acting for Royal Sanders on its £12.5m acquisition of a division of McBride
  • Placing of new shares for an AIM listed company.

JMW Solicitors LLP operates from a single-site office in Manchester and advises SMEs, OMBs, entrepreneurs, private investors, private equity houses and large multinationals. Areas of expertise include M&A, disposals, reorganisations, corporate governance work, MBOs, joint ventures, private equity, investment structures and share option schemes. Mike Blood heads the team and focuses on the sports and digital sectors. Scott Cameron joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP as a partner.

Practice head(s):Mike Blood

Other key lawyers:Damien Brown; Mark Heppell; Richard Parkinson; Vicky Protano; Scott Cameron

Key Clients

Miltibus Quanco Limited (t/a Worcester Warriors)

Air Black Box Ltd

The shareholders of Techikraft Limited

Kinetic Plc

The shareholders of Alpine Fire Limited

Ascend Estates Limited

The shareholders of Architect CT Limited

Bond Group Investments Limited


Work highlights

  • Acting on the £21m purchase of Worcester Warriors premiership rugby club.
  • Advising the sellers on the sale Technikraft Limited to private equity house, PHD.
  • Acting for Kinetic Plc, its shareholders and board on the £4m sale of 100% of its shareholding to the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).
  • Acting on behalf of the management team of Ascend Estates Limited in the sale of 50.1% of the company to Gatehouse Bank
  • The team was exclusively instructed to act on behalf of the PSL in its tender process for the media rights for all PSL competitions for 5 seasons, this was valued at £500m.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP 's 'proactive, intelligent and pragmatic' team represents clients in professional services, family businesses, healthcare, AIM-listed companies and the tech sector. Robert Buckley heads the team and focuses on M&A, joint ventures, inward investment and sports-related commercial matters. On the commercial side the team has experience in the IT, pharmaceutical, hotel, leisure and sports industries. Caroline Brennan joined as a senior associate from Shoosmiths LLP. Peter Allen left the firm for Browne Jacobson LLP.

Practice head(s):Robert Buckley

Other key lawyers:Kirsti Pinnell; Helen Mather; Robert Levy; James Wall; Jan Winstanley; Caroline Brennan


Proactive, intelligent,  pragmatic influencers who deliver assignments within all agreed parameters’.

Terrific connections with any required external resource’.

A rare mixture of youthful enthusiasm and vast commercial experience’.

Robert Buckley offers commercial and practical advice, and invariably adds value’.

Key Clients

Bagir Group Ltd

SysGroup plc

BiSN Holdings Limited

Barkby Group plc (previously Sovereign Mines of Africa plc)

GG Hospitality Management Limited (co-founded by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs; operators of Hotel Football)

Salford City Football Club

Smartkem Limited

Ironveld plc

Shaping Cloud

Montessori Nursery Group

Harnbury Holdings (San Carlo Group)

Work highlights

  • Advising on all commercial activities for the Class of ’92. A key project this year has been work in relation to the new University Academy 92 project.
  • Advised the leadership team and co-founders of fire safety and security specialist Syncro on a management buy-out, purchasing a majority stake in the business from Bowdon Group.
  • Advising the AIM-traded mining company on a further placing of shares to enable the company to further invest in its project located on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
  • Advised long-term client Bagir Group on a proposed $16.5m investment into the firm from Chinese textiles and clothing company Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co Ltd.
  • Advised a Manchester-based company, which specialises in helping public sector bodies achieve digital transformation, on securing a £1.4 million investment.

Mills & Reeve LLP 's 'responsive' and 'pragmatic' team advises clients in the media, healthcare, retail, food and beverage, property development, technology and private equity spaces. The corporate and commercial team is headed by Chris Ross, who leads on high-value corporate deals, Chris Wilkinson, who is experienced in the pharmaceutical sector, and Paul Knight who leads the commercial, IP and IT side. Vicky Protano joined as principal associate from JMW Solicitors LLP and Charlotte Lewis joined from Hill Dickinson LLP as senior associate.

Practice head(s):Chris Ross; Chris Wilkinson; Paul Knight

Other key lawyers:Vicky Protano; Charlotte Lewis


Very responsive team who make you feel valued as a client - something that sometimes gets lost in larger London firms’.

Very pragmatic, solutions focused and want to get things done; excellent at collaborating and talking through issues’.

Chris Ross in particular is stand out for advice and approach to service quality. He also has that all important sense of humour, even when the pressure is on.'

Key Clients

WHP Telecoms

Phoenix Medical Supplies Limited

Global Festivals



How Planning

Leesa Sleep

British Council

Turley Associates Limited

2CRSI Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the WHP Telecoms management team in connection with a partial exit of its existing private equity backers Palatine Private Equity Limited (PPE) and a rollover of equity into a new group structure backed by Equistone Private Equity Limited, with PPE retaining a minority interest.
  • Instructed  by Phoenix Medical Supplies in relation to the £8m sale of its 21.1% minority stake in RX Systems to Emis Group .
  • Advised Boardmasters (a subsidiary of Global Festivals Limited) on its acquisition of Vision Nine Entertainment Holdings Limited and its subsidiary Eleven Limited.
  • Acting for food & drink company Puratos in relation to UK subsidiaries, including carrying out a post completion restructuring.
  • Advising Leesa Sleep - a Manchester-based direct-to-consumer online mattress company delivering UK-made mattresses on contracts with suppliers and consumers and on data protection compliance and  online advertising issues.

Pannone Corporate LLP handles mid-market M&A and continues to grow its private equity practice. The team often deals with cross-border transactions in Europe, the US and elsewhere. On the commercial side, the firm deals with commercial agreements, supply and procurement of goods and services, distribution, outsourcing, joint ventures, compliance and data protection. Steven Grant heads the team. Harriet Sutherland joined as senior associate from Ward Hadaway.

Practice head(s):Steven Grant

Other key lawyers:Tim Hamilton; Tom Hall; Mark Winthorpe; Amy Chandler; Philippa Howard; Claire Alden; Harriet Sutherland

Key Clients

Tradebe Group

Marlborough Fund Managers (part of UFC Fund Management Plc)

NorthEdge Capital


Boels Rental

Visiativ SA


NVM Private Equity

Brother International Europe


Williamson-Dickie Europe

M&I Materials

EM&I group of companies


David Luke



SMG (UK) Limited

Packaging Automation

Seven Bro7hers Brewery

Work highlights

  • Advised Verlingue on the acquisition of Independent Commercial Broking, based in Surrey.
  • Acted for funds managed by Perwyn LLP, who invested into Percy Bidco Limited on its acquisition of Freshcut Foods Limited
  • Acted for international hazardous waste management operator, Tradebe Group, on its acquisition of Avanti Environmental Services.
  • Acted for Ventec, a company registered in Suzhou City, China on English law aspects of its proposed primary listing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
  • Advised shareholders on the disposal of a majority interest in CESL to JBW Group.

Shoosmiths LLP is adept at handling corporate M&A transactions and private equity investments. Described by clients as "always willing to assist" and "down to earth" the firm is seeing an increase in international deals. Another area of expertise is high value corporate real estate transactions. On the commercial side the firm has a focus on sports, financial services, IT and IP. Karen Procter heads the corporate team and Stephen Dawson heads the commercial team.

Practice head(s):Karen Procter; Stephen Dawson

Other key lawyers:Tim Jackson-Smith; Andrew Millar; Benjamin Dredge; Anna Kerrane; Richard Millington


Efficient, speedy, accurate, knowledgeable and responsive’.

'A down-to-earth, practical approach provided by local people who are always available’.

The same named lawyers advise throughout, building the relationship’.

Good at working to tight deadlines’.

Great attitude, always willing to assist’.

Massive capability across the board’.

Ben Dredge is down to earth, provides solid advice and is a consummate professional’.


Key Clients

Matillion Limited

ThinkSmart Limited

Malvern International PLC

Xtrac Transmissions Holdings Limited


Foresight Group LLP

James Hall & Co

NorthEdge Capital

Billington Holdings plc

Gaist Holdings Limited

Arcis Biotechnology

YFM Equity Partners

The Alchemist Bars & Restaurants

Select Property Group

Dunkeld House Hotel

Versant Hotels Limited

Consilia Investments Limited

Snap Finance Investments LLC

The Football Association

City Football Group

Thomas Cook Airlines


Three Mobile

Manchester Metropolitan University

N Brown Group PLC

Shop Direct

Footasylum PLC

Work highlights

  • Acted for LDC on the £221m secondary buy-out of supply-chain software company ByBox Holdings by a newco controlled by US-based Francisco Partners.
  • Advised Matillion in a Series B fundraise of $20m.
  • Advising shareholders of Sandcastle Care Holdings on the £35m sale of the entire issued share capital to Waterland Private Equity Fund.
  • Advising property developer Taylor Grange Developments on the corporate aspects of various high profile and high value projects including the Westminster Works and the Holloway Head development sites in Birmingham.
  • Advised Gaist Holdings on its £2.7m investment from BGF.

TLT advises on capital markets, venture capital, private equity and AIM IPOs for entrepreneurs and investors from across the UK and overseas. On the commercial side the firm deals with collaboration agreements, commercial joint ventures, data protection, export controls, outsourcing, public procurement, licensing and development. Key client sectors include retail and consumer goods, clean energy, leisure, and food and beverage. Ian Roberts and Stuart Campbell head the team. The "incredibly experienced" Stephen Devlin and Andrew Needham are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Ian Roberts; Stuart Campbell

Other key lawyers:Stephen Devlin; Andrew Needham; Elizabeth Delaney; Susan Honeyands; David Gardner; Pauline Cowie


'Stephen Devlin is measured, pleasant, incredibly experienced and has a really good mind'.

'Excellent - response times are good but if necessary, immediate action can and will be taken.'

'Stuart Campbell is very competent in drafting agreements and making sure that the client is not exposed.'

'The team provides a technically competent, reliable and personable service ensuring that they provide a timely service and have constant communication with you at all times.'

'Pragmatic, efficient and cost-effective.'

'Great team - they understand our business and are technically very strong.'

'TLT's team in Manchester is a very responsive and extremely pragmatic commercial team. They are effectively an extension of our in-house commercial contracts capability. They make sensible choices based on their in-depth knowledge of their client. This is the reason that I have continued to use them no matter what in-house role I move to.'

'Elizabeth Delaney particularly stands out as she is very commercially pragmatic and technically competent which is the winning combination for a corporate lawyer.'

David Gardner and Tim Waller are both knowledgable and approachable individuals who are able to manage complex legal matters in a coherent manner.'

'Stuart Campbell is the most responsive law firm partner that I have ever worked with. He is always on hand to assist immediately with on-point legal advice. He really invests in his client relationships and ensures the gateway into TLT is efficient as he personally oversees that I am directed to the right lawyer in the right team. He is the face of TLT for me with a great network with the firm. This is evidenced by him taking ownership to ensure that the client experience is friction-free by directly reaching out to other teams within the firm. Stuart always thinks about what else he can bring to the client relationship and he offers creative value-added services that cements the bond between firm and client. And he also happens to be one of the most pragmatic, no-nonsense commercial lawyers that I have worked with.'

'Alex Williamson is a shining star; his drafting is excellent. His attention to detail is superb. His expert guidance has developed through the years and his steer on commercial matters is nimble and on-point. He is one to watch.'

Key Clients

Examworks UK Limited

boohoo group plc

K3 Capital Group plc

Uinsure Limited

Shareholders of NWC Group and High Access Group

Sainsbury's Plc (including Argos and Habitat)

Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime

Elavon Financial Services

Close Brothers

Crown Commercial Service

Work highlights

  • Advised fashion company Boohoo on its appointment of a new CEO, John Lyttle, from Primark, to take on the role previously shared by joint CEOs and founders Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane with effect from March 2019.
  • Advised new outsourcing client Teleperformance on its framework agreement for contact centre services with KIWI.
  • Advised on a five year engagement with Clipper Logistics whereby Clipper will provide warehousing and logistics services to the firm at a centre just outside Sheffield
  • Acted for the shareholders of Nationwide Window Cleaning and High Access, both investee companies of Business Growth Fund.
  • Advised Uinsure on a group restructuring and the implementation of a group financing facility.

Weightmans LLP focuses on M&A work for owner managed businesses. Client sectors include IT, digital and creative, public sector, higher education and healthcare. Sarah Walton heads the team and specialises in M&A, private equity, investments, joint ventures and strategic projects. Other areas of expertise for the team include corporate finance, fundraisings, governance, demergers and disposals. The firm also deals with contractual and corporate structures, procurement and IP, including university spin-outs.

Practice head(s):Sarah Walton

Other key lawyers:Paul Raftery; Robert Turnbull; Haydn Rogan; Vincent King; Martin Vincent

Key Clients

MYA Cosmetic Surgery Limited

Lucideon Limited

Carey Holdings Limited

Planixs GRP Limited


Caunce O’Hara & Company Limited

Novel Technologies Holdings Limited

Mercato Limited

Dimerco Express Group

ANS Group Limited

Slush Puppie Limited

Surrey and Sussex Police

Well (part of the Bestway Group)

University of Salford

University of Lancaster

Queen Mary University of London

University of Cumbria


IKO plc


Manuli Rubber Industries

Minerals Tech Industries/Amcol Minerals

Ellis Brigham

Manchester Fertility Services Limited

Apadmi Limited



Open University

National Police Chiefs Council

British Transport Police

Northern Health Science Alliance

Locala Community Partnerships

Work highlights

  • Acted for the individual shareholders of Playground Games, the indie British game developer best known for its work on the Forza games, on the sale of their shareholdings to Microsoft.
  • Advised Lancaster University on a joint venture with ex England footballer Gary Neville and other ex players and investors to establish UA92 -  a new style of university in Manchester.
  • Acts for tech company Mercato on  corporate and commercial matters, contract reviews and negotiations and policy and governance support.
  • Advised Herefordshire Council on its receipt of grant funding from the Department for Education and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership to build a new university in Hereford, called the New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMiTE).
  • Supporting the National Police Chiefs Council on the Digital Policing Portfolio (DPP), which is a series of procurements of IT services to enable digital policing.

BLM advises property owners, developers, local authorities and funders on development, regeneration and infrastructure joint ventures. Other areas of expertise include M&A, venture capital and high-net-worth investments and restructuring. Other key client sectors include retail and e-commerce, medical, manufacturing, travel and professional services. The firm also advises on commercial matters including contracts, data protection and outsourcing contracts. The team is headed by Daniel Varney, Steve Kuncewicz and Jonathan Askin, who joined as partner from Weightmans LLP.

Practice head(s):Daniel Varney; Jonathan Askin; Steve Kuncewicz

Key Clients

Oliver James Associates Limited

St Helens Borough Council

Oldham Borough Council

Hardroad (Builders Supply (North West)

Palletower (GB) Limited

MTC Novo


Direct Line Group


Persimmon Homes

Interpublic Group

The Ardonagh Group Limited

J Parker Dutch Bulbs Limited

University of Central Lancashire

Wondrwall Limited

Saks Medical & Cosmetic Limited

Santander UK Plc

Cert Property Group

Avensure Limited

Bugler Smith Limited

Builtvisible Limited

Landscape Institute

Tangerine Limited

Raised Floor Limited

Sputnik Digital

Work highlights

  • Advising University of Central Lancashire on the £200m redevelopment of its campus.

Clarke Willmott LLP 's "responsive and engaging" team handles M&A for acquisitive clients, disposal for equity investors and management teams, cross-border transactions and also commercial contracts. Clients include SMEs, IFA groups, lenders, brokers and financial intermediaries. Recently the firm has seen an increasing number of instructions in the healthcare sector, particularly in dentistry. Ed Foulkes heads the team. Matthew Dootson joined as associate from an in-house position at IMH Group.

Practice head(s):Ed Foulkes

Other key lawyers:Matthew Dootson; Helen Tse; Susan Hall


Responsive and engaging service by lawyers who want to deliver solutions that work commercially’.

Ed Foulkes continues to provide strong leadership and is at the forefront of a team that is more adept and consistent in delivery than many big firms in the city’.

Key Clients

Andy Scott / REL

Rayner Spencer Mills Research Limited

Astute Holdings Limited

Fluid Trust PLC

Northern Provident Investments Limited

Growth Capital Group

GYR Financial Consulting Limited

ME Group

MWA Holdings Limited

Ergowealth Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for the buyer in the acquisition of shares in Bison Transport, a multiple-award winning Canadian transport company.
  • Represented the sellers in a share sale of a leading IT consultancy and expert witness business.
  • Received multiple instructions for Astute Holdings including as seller in the sale and purchase of assets in an Independent Financial Advisory practice.
  • Represented Fluid Trust on a UK mini-bond.
  • Acted for multiple founding investors in GCI Group in relation to the company's reorganisation and investment from a private equity firm.

DAC Beachcroft LLP offers a full range of corporate and commercial work from its Manchester office including M&A, equity capital markets, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, fundraisings, reorganisations and corporate governance. Its key client sectors include financial services, technology, property, healthcare, retail, energy and natural resources. Paul Ellaby heads the team.

Practice head(s):Paul Ellaby

Other key lawyers:William Pinnock;

Knights plc increased its presence in the North West by acquiring Turner Parkinson in Manchester in 2018. This move added some 45 fee earners to the growing firm which also floated on the alternative investment market (AIM) in 2018. Initially Knights plc was a commercial firm, but it has now added non-legal services such as town planning and specialist tax advice to its arsenal. In the corporate sphere, it advises on corporate transactions, mergers, acquisitions and disposals, private equity and development capital deals, corporate investments and other strategic projects, with James Sheridan heading the team.

Practice head(s):James Sheridan

Slater Heelis LLP focuses on mid-market M&A and has a particular focus on the life sciences and healthcare sectors. Its entrepreneurial clients include GPs, pharmacists, dentists and vets, with the firm focusing on taking early stage companies through from funding rounds to exits. Simon Wallwork heads the team and specialises in corporate transactional work including acquisitions and disposals. Jim Tully joined as partner from an in-house position at the Co-op.

Practice head(s):Simon Wallwork

Other key lawyers:Nicky Collins; Rhian Owen; Jim Tully

Key Clients

Deutsche Asset Management Limited

Blueberry Therapeutics Limited

Bolton Gate Company Limited

Odyssey Interact Limited

IEG4 Limited

Diono UK Limited

Phoenix Optical Technologies Limited

FCMS (NW) Limited

Imperial Associates & Consulting Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Blueberry Therapeutics on a series A investment by Chinese pharmaceutical company CMS.
  • Advising Deutsche Asset Management on the £10.5m sale of Roydon Mill Marina to Lakeland Leisure.
  • Acted on behalf of the shareholders of the Noisy Drinks Company North West - selling 75% of the issued share capital to its largest customer Vimto for around £10m.
  • Advising shareholders on the £3.5m sale of shares in Trident Fire & Security Group Limited and Trident Security Limited to French company, Scutum International.
  • Advising Phoenix Optical Holdings on the £1.3m acquisition of Orion Photonics.

Ward Hadaway focuses on the SME, OMB and family business markets, providing advice on sales, acquisitions, mergers, investments and private equity deals. Other areas of expertise include venture capital investments, disposals, reorganisations, restructurings and refinancings. Key client sectors include biomedical, recruitment, engineering and manufacturing, professional services, pharmaceutical, healthcare, media and technology, leisure and retail. Sean FitzGerald heads the team.

Practice head(s):Sean FitzGerald

Other key lawyers:Melanie Yeomans; Paul Johnson; Rachel Clarkson


Professional and positive approach to corporate transactions’.

‘Deliver the required result in a timely and efficient manner’.

Key Clients

Vodat Communications Group Limited

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP

Enterprise Ventures

Mike Colling & Company

JSA Services Limited

Neville Johnson Group

Eurocamp Limited

Kingdom Services Group Limited

Mercia Fund Management Limited

Holchem Laboratories Limited

Key Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising JSA on equity funding by Universal Partners and acquisitions of the business and assets of Kingsley Hamilton, and the entire issued share capital of Crest Plus Operations.
  • Advising TechStream on acquisitions of EarthStream Global Limited, PH.D and Voyage Global Energy.
  • Advising ProClinical on its sale to ICS Group.
  • Acting for SkyParkSecure on its sale to Manchester Airport Group.
  • Advising Catapult  Venture Managers on its investment in Rinicare.

Bermans is adept at handling M&A, disposals, joint ventures, venture capital, and shareholder reorganisations. Key areas of focus for the practice include asset based lending and private equity. Its client base includes SMEs, family businesses, entrepreneurs, professional partnerships, charities and institutional investors. Jonathan Davage heads the team. Stephen Jarman joined as a non-executive director from Taylors in 2018.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Davage

Other key lawyers:Stephen Jarman; Robin Hastings

Key Clients

1PM Group/Academy Leasing Limited

Seneca Capital Partners

ICTS (UK) Limited

H & M Distribution Group

Checkd Media Holdings

Acuity Fund

Connect Childcare Group Limited

ESRG Group of Companies (numerous)

Restoration London Group

The Start Up Factory

SRO Holdings Limited

Hippo Motor Group Limited

Freeman Fisher LLP focuses on representing entrepreneurs, OMBs and SMEs on corporate disposals. Other areas of expertise include acquisitions, MBOs/MBIs and bespoke commercial contracts. Gary Black heads the team. Daniel Rodgerson was promoted to managing associate and Melissa O’Brien was promoted to associate. Kin Lui joined as an associate.

Practice head(s):Gary Black

Other key lawyers:Daniel Rodgerson; Melissa O'Brien; Kin Lui

Key Clients

Mi Hiepa Scout

Foodwell Manchester Limited

The Gypsy Shrine Limited

Blends Limited

Big Chief Tipis

The Awning Company

Calla Shoes Ltd

Face37 Ltd

Sino International Trading Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for sellers in the £2.3m sale of the Manchester-based English language specialists Communicate English Language School.

Laytons LLP advises on corporate M&A, development, disposals and fund establishment across the North West. The majority of clients are SMEs in the retail, leisure, recruitment, fintech and technology sectors. Barney Leaf heads the team with support from John Gavan and consultant David Sefton.

Practice head(s):Barney Leaf

Other key lawyers:John Gavan; David Sefton

Key Clients

Mercia Fund Managers

Alliance Fund Managers

Party Delights Limited

Auctus Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Mercia Fund Managers in its capacity as fund manager on the establishment and management of a £23m Midlands Engine Investment Fund Proof of Concept and Early Stage Fund.  
  • Advised Alliance Fund Managers as fund manager on the establishment and management of a £27m North East (ERDF) Venture Capital Fund.

Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Addleshaw Goddard represents clients on the tax elements of M&A, joint ventures, fund establishments and real estate projects. On the contentious side, the firm deals with disputes with HMRC and the firm also advises on stamp duty land tax, pensions tax, VAT and customs duty matters. Justine Delroy heads the team and specialises in the tax aspects of structuring private equity transactions and property-based projects. Michael Hunter, who is based in Manchester and Leeds is also recommended, alongside managing associate Catherine Concannon.

Practice head(s):Justine Delroy

Other key lawyers:Michael Hunter; Catherine Concannon

Key Clients

Co-Operative Group

J Murphy & Sons

Aberdeen Standard Investments

WBHO Construction


PZ Cussons


Car Finance 247

National Grid

Many private equity houses in the North West including ECI,  Inflexion, Livingbridge, LDC, Literary Capital, Phoenix Equity Partners (and portfolio companies)

Work highlights

  • Provided bespoke tax advice to the individual shareholders of Concept Life Sciences as well as tax transactional support to Equistone in a buyout of the market leading life sciences business.
  • Advising Bruntwood on the tax structuring of a pre-sale reorganisation, as well as the disposal of a 50% interest in its SciTech business and portfolio to Legal & General, and on the joint venture and ongoing services arraignments for Bruntwood SciTech.
  • Advising Aberdeen Standard Investments on the tax aspects of a number of transactions which are at the cutting edge of the investment real estate sector involving alternative asset classes such as serviced offices, residential property, caravan parks and hotels, which bring particular property tax issues.
  • Advising the UK subsidiary of South African headquartered Wilson Balyly Homes-Ovcon on its acquisition of 60% of the issued share capital of Russells Limited for £32.8m and of 31.7% of Russell Homes for £3.25m.
  • Acting for shareholders on the sale of Deep Sea Electronics to a purchaser majority-owned by Caledonia Investments. The deal  involved a rapid auction process and negotiating key issues of tax cover with numerous bidders in a very condensed timescale.

DLA Piper UK LLP 's Manchester tax team regularly advises private equity funds, portfolio funds and management teams on private-equity related tax work. It also advises local, national and international companies on tax matters ranging from employee equity schemes, real estate finance, VAT planning and outsourcing arrangements. David Thompson heads the team with support from legal director Stephen Jones.

Practice head(s):David Thompson

Other key lawyers:Stephen Jones;

Key Clients

Flowtech Fluidpower plc

James Grant Group (now YM&U Group)

Thomas International Limited (Management)

Tangerine Confectionery Limited (Management)

Two Sisters Food Group/ Boparan Holdings

Payzone UK Limited

Crawford Healthcare (acted for owners on sale)

Sandton Capital Partners

Shareholders in Richard Wellock & Sons Limited

Carlyle European Technology Partners III Sarl

Work highlights

  • Advised the management team at Tangerine Confectionary on tax aspects of its acquisition from Blackstone by multiple brand business Valeo of Ireland.
  • Acted for Boparan Holdings Limited and its subsidiary Green Isle Food Group Limited on the sale of the Goodfellas Pizza Business.
  • Advised on the sale by Payzone UK Limited of its bill payments system to the Post Office.
  • Advised the Wellock family on tax aspects relating to the sale of Richard Wellock & Sons Limited to William Jackson Food Group Limited.
  • Advised Carlyle European Technology on tax matters relating to its acquisition of Livingstone Technologies Limited.

Pinsent Masons LLP advises on general tax issues, disputes and interventions, share plans and incentives, M&A-related tax, compliance, criminal tax offences and cross-border tax issues. Clients include major corporates, high-net-worth individuals and family offices. Lynette Jacobs heads the team from Manchester with support from Steven Porter who advises on both contentious and non-contentious tax matters, specialising in tax investigations. The team also works with Pinsents' network of offices across the UK.

Practice head(s):Lynette Jacobs

Other key lawyers:Steve Porter

Key Clients

Imperial Brands plc

Halfords Group plc

Rightmove plc

River and Mercantile Group plc

AMC Theatres

Portmeirion Group plc

Carr’s Group plc

Begbies Traynor Group plc

Norcros plc

Janus Henderson Investors


Work highlights

  • Advised Manchester based AJ Bell, one of the largest UK investment platform providers, on its IPO to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the Financial Conduct Authority and listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
  • Advised on the drafting and implementation of an Irish tax-advantaged all-employee SharesaveScheme to enable Merlyn’s employees to participate in Sharesave in the same way as Norcros’s UK employees.
  • Advised Begbies Traynor on the adoption of its new tax-advantaged all employee Sharesave Plan
  • Advised AMC Theatres on the operation of its Equity Incentive Plan in the UK and across Italy, Spain, Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden

Squire Patton Boggs caters to small and local clients, as well as large multinationals requiring tax advice on cross-border matters. Areas of expertise include the tax aspects of corporate acquisitions, private equity transactions, tax-related employment advice, employee share incentive and pensions-related tax work. Many of its clients are household names in sectors including renewable energy, technology, recruitment, chemicals, real estate and sport/leisure. Patrick Ford heads the team. Victoria Carpenter was promoted to senior associate.

Practice head(s):Patrick Ford

Other key lawyers:Victoria Carpenter

Key Clients

EDF Energy

The Co-op Group

Lucite International



Watkin Jones plc

GB Group plc




Greggs plc

LMAX Exchange

Cleveland Clinic

SmartStream Technologies

PZ Cussons Pension Scheme

BT Pension Scheme

Molson Coors

Omnio/Chronos Investments




Stobart Group

H2 Equity Partners


Grafton Group plc

Babylon Health

ICI Pension Scheme

Assetz Capital

Shield Safety Group

Work highlights

  • Advising EDF on tax aspects of the £701m sale of a 49% stake in 24 of its UK wind farms to Dalmore Capital.
  • Acting for Lucite International on the £92m sale of the client's European acrylic and composites business to Swiss-based Schweiter Technologies.
  • Advising International Entertainment Corporation, based in Hong Kong, on its £22m acquisition of Wigan Athletic Football Club.
  • Acting on the £180m sale and development of four large student accommodation sites to a Luxembourg fund advised by Round Hill Capital/KKR.
  • Advising GB Group on the implementation of a new long term incentive plan and the granting of share awards to its senior management.

Brabners LLP provides a range of tax advice to clients including VAT, real estate tax advice, tax advice for entrepreneurs, start-up companies and owner managed businesses. The firm offers transactional tax advice on fundraisings, acquisitions, restructurings and disposals. On the contentious tax side it advises on tax litigation, disputes with HMRC and claims under tax warranties/tax covenants in share sale agreements. Chartered tax adviser Mark Whiteside heads the team.

Practice head(s):Mark Whiteside

Key Clients

Peel Ports Group

NWF Group

Suez Recycling and Recovery Limited



Rhenus Logistics

Begbies Traynor Group plc

Mersten Limited

Chase de Vere

ION Developments

UK Land and Property

Peel Land and Property

Work highlights

  • Advised Begbies Traynor on tax aspects of the £3.7m acquisition of Springboard Corporate Finance Limited, a mid-market corporate finance practice operating from offices in Birmingham, London and Nottingham.
  • Advised Peel Land and Property on VAT and SDLT aspects of the £25m development of a new ferry terminal in Liverpool to serve the Isle of Man.
  • Acted for the in-house M&A and tax teams at Suez Group in Paris in relation to the disposal of Suez Water Conditioning Services Limited.
  • Advised Vista Engineering on tax aspects of the acquisition of BPC Buildings Products Limited (BPC).
  • Acted for PBSI Group Limited on the sale of its specialist earthing and safety equipment subsidiary, P&B Weir Electrical, to the French electrical business, Novarc Groupe SA.

DWF 's 'proactive team'  is adept at handling all aspects of employee incentives and share schemes, as well as providing transactional tax advice to corporates and private equity houses on investments, restructurings, disposals and management incentives. Other areas of expertise including drafting and negotiating tax schedules. The firm also advises on real estate-related tax such as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and advises on the construction industry scheme (CIS). Newly promoted partner James Cashman heads the team.

Practice head(s):James Cashman


The team are extremely proactive’.

James Cashman is extremely supportive and responsive; he is easy to work with, is technically strong in his subject matter and represents the firm very well in client meetings’.

There are not many tax professionals in the legal market in the North West, James Cashman is therefore uniquely placed to provide both tax and legal advice to clients’.

Key Clients

Inflexion Private Equity

Pepsico Inc

Redx Pharma PLC

Equiniti Group PLC

LPW Technology Limited

Argon Groupe

North Edge Capital

Adidas (UK) Limited

Keywords UK Holdings Limited (Keywords Studios PLC)

Work highlights

  • Advised Inflexion private equity on the simultaneous buyout and merger of UK Web Media Limited and Energy Helpline Limited to create an independent price comparison site through Comparison Technologies Limited.
  • Advising Redx Pharma Plc on employee incentives.
  • Advising and assisting on the tax aspects on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Aquilia Group Holdings Limited.

  • Advised LPW Technology Limited and shareholders on tax aspects relating to the exercise of US and UK share options and the subsequent disposal of the entire issued share capital of LPW Technology Limited to Carpenter Technology Corporation.
  • Advising Argon Groupe on the tax aspects of the acquisition of Crimson Consulting (UK) Limited.

Boutique corporate tax specialist MSA Law Limited acts for corporates, owner managed businesses (OMBs) and individuals. Areas of expertise include direct tax, M&A-related tax, exit planning, reconstructions and reorganisations, succession planning and employee incentivisation. The firm also advises on property-related tax such as stamp duty land tax. The team comprises Bernard McIlroy and Fiona Sutherland .

Practice head(s):Bernard McIlroy; Fiona Sutherland


Excellent communication about technically difficult matters’.

Quick service and excellent advice’.

Fiona is top class and is the best tax lawyer I have ever worked with’.

Key Clients

Morston Palatine Limited

Microgen plc

Work highlights

  • Provided tax advice to Microgen plc on its disposal of Microgen Banking Systems Limited to Bottomline Technologies Limited

Weightmans LLP handles the tax aspects of corporate acquisitions and disposals, restructurings, demergers and capital reductions. The firm focuses on the SME and owner-managed business markets where it designs and implements employee incentive schemes, in particular enterprise management incentive (EMI) schemes. Other clients include professionals, which it provides legal tax support to, developers, investors and public sector bodies, which it advises on UK real estate transactions. Haydn Rogan heads the team.

Practice head(s):Haydn Rogan

Key Clients

Playground Games Limited

Greif US Holdings Inc

Caunce O'Hara & Company Limited

Goonhilly Earth Station Limited

Planixs GRP Limited

ANS Group

Bestway Group

PHD Equity Partners LLP

Al-Mubarakia Limited

Novel Technologies Holdings Limited

Salford University

Work highlights

  • Acting for Goonhilly Earth Station Limited (GES) and its shareholders on its secondary buy out via the acquisition of a majority stake by billionaire Peter Hargreaves. The deal provided additional investment capital was used to buy out the first round debt and equity provided by Downing Ventures.

  • Provided tax advice to shareholders of the leading independent British game developer, Playground Games Limited on the  sale of the company to Microsoft for $100m.
  • Provided structuring advice on setting up the ‘DSW Angels’ network. This included the constitutional documents governing the network, the tax structuring of how shares in investee companies would be held and the  investment documents themselves.

EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

DWF specialises in advising on EU state aid, EU procurement, EU funding and regulatory matters. The firm has been undertaking an increasing number of instructions in UK merger control work and in 2018 notified three mergers through the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). Other areas of expertise include cartels, EU funding disputes, judicial reviews, and providing advice around the European regional development fund (ERDF) and Brexit.  Jonathan Branton , who splits his time between Leeds, Manchester and Brussels, heads the team. Senior associate Jay Mehta is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Branton

Other key lawyers:Jay Mehta

Key Clients


Liverpool City Council & Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund & The Arts Council

Burtons Foods

Cornwall Council

Maven Capital Partners

Birmingham City Council/ Finance Birmingham

Dairy UK

Barnfield Group

Manchester City Council & Greater Manchester Combined Authority

National Exhibition Centre Ltd



Leeds City Council

Dransfield Properties


Liverpool John Moores University

Lancaster University

Manchester Growth Company

Wirral Borough Council

Serco Plc

Work highlights

  • Long running complaint before the European Commission alleging anti-competitive conduct by third parties.
  • Handling a variety of difficult State aid issues for the major lottery fund allocations nationwide.
  • State aid advice against delivery of major fund for industrial collaborations, plus miscellaneous advice for other large public funding situations
  • State aid and related advice against delivery of major fund for stimulation of economic growth in the Merseyside region.
  • Advising in merger control notification and clearance by the Competition & Markets Authority

Weightmans LLP advises on cartel damages, competition law, state aid and procurement law. It has a particular focus on the food and drink, and insurance sectors and also advises local authorities, listed companies, universities, developers and venture funds on state aid issues with grants, loans and deal structures. Laurence Pritchard heads the team and advises on EU and UK competition law, including merger control and the control of anti-competitive agreements and practices.

Practice head(s):Laurence Pritchard

Other key lawyers:Gary Jones; Vincent King

Key Clients

UK Trucks Claim Limited

S. Norton & Co. Limited

Chiesi Limited


John West Limited

Stobart Group

Wi-Manx Limited

Washington Mills Limited

Motor Insurers’ Bureau

British Insurance Brokers Association

Lotus Bakeries UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised UK Trucks Claim Limited in relation to issued proceedings on behalf of owners and lessees of over 600,000 trucks which were sold by way of unlawful anti-competitive practices undertaken and admitted by a cartel of European truck manufacturers over a 14 year period. The claim is estimated to be worth £14 bn.
  • Advised the Motor Insurers' Bureau on the pooling of risks amongst all motor insurers for losses suffered by innocent victims of terrorist actions.
  • Advised S Norton & Co on its submissions to the Competition and Markets Authority in relation to two merger inquiries.
  • Advising Chiesi on competition law issues.
  • Advised John West Limited, the well-known supplier of branded canned fish products, on resale pricing issues.

Addleshaw Goddard advises on general competition law, competition litigation cases, state aid, damages actions and cartels. The team is also experienced in merger control, market investigations and antitrust counselling/investigations. The firm is seeing an increasing amount of state aid instructions and represents clients locally and nationally. The practice is headed by Mark Molyneux and London-based Bruce Kilpatrick.

Practice head(s):Mark Molyneux; Bruce Kilpatrick


'Bruce Kilpatrick is a superb technical lawyer'.

'Mark Molyneux is a great tactician and always thinking two steps ahead'.

Key Clients

Office Depot

Yorkshire Building Society

Leeds Building Society

Skipton Building Society

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Bruntwood Management Services

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Stockton Borough Council

NewRiver Leisure Limited

Road Haulage Association

Squire Patton Boggs 's Manchester competition practice is headed by Diarmuid Ryan, who splits his time between London and Manchester. He is assisted by local legal director Nicola Elam . The team is able to work closely with colleagues in London, Brussels, Paris, Washington and Asia to handle antitrust, private enforcement, judicial review proceedings, merger control, CMA and European Commission investigations. They also advise on state aid matters, public procurement and policy and communications law matters. It has also been advising some clients on Brexit-related planning.

Practice head(s):Diarmuid Ryan

Other key lawyers:Nicola Elam

Key Clients


Ashtead Group plc

Bathroom Brands/Crosswater Holdings Ltd

Bayer AG

Bemis Company, Inc.

BritNed Limited

Brewers of Europe

British Beer and Pub Association

Cathay Pacific

Cott Corporation

Cranswick PLC

Lane Clark Peacock LLP

Live Nation

Low & Bonar PLC

Magnox Limited

Manchester Airports Group

Marston Holdings

Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association

Neptune Networks Limited

Peninsula Business Services

S.A. Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa CIF (SAICA)

SRCL Limited

Synthomer plc

Vp plc

World Sailing

Work highlights

  • Represented BritNed in first ever cartel damages claim to go to full trial and judgment in the UK.
  • Advising Cott Corporation on the EU/UK merger control aspects of the proposed $1.25 bn sale of its traditional beverages manufacturing business to Refresco Group N.V.
  • Advised Nielsen on the CMA’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 review of Nielsen’s acquisition of Ebiquity plc’s adintel division.
  • Advising investment consultancy Lane Clark & Peacock on its involvement in the CMA’s market investigation into the supply and acquisition of investment consultancy and fiduciary management services in the UK.
  • Advised Ticketmaster, GET ME IN! and Seatwave on the CMA’s secondary ticketing investigation.

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