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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate tax clients in North West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Addleshaw Goddard is commended for its ‘high level of service’ and ‘pragmatic approach’. The team has ‘in-depth expertise’ in a range of private equity tax structuring and real estate-related tax matters, including joint ventures, funds and structured investments. It also handles VAT, energy sector tax issues, insolvency-related tax matters, and fund structuring. Highlights included acting for Co-operative Group on tax-related matters relating to the sale of 298 of its smaller food stores to McColls; and advising National Grid on the tax aspects of the £11.6bn disposal of its gas distribution business, which included SDLT compliance advice in relation to 45,000 property transactions. It also provided tax advice to the shareholders of Autonet Insurance Services on its sale to HPS Investment Partners. Standard Life, Siemens, Aviva and The Hut are also clients. The ‘exceptionalJustine Delroy leads the firm’s national commercial tax team and is well versed in private equity transactions as well as the tax aspects of property projects. Michael Hunter has a particular specialism in energy transactions. Managing associate Catherine Concannon is focused on corporate and employment tax matters.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s tax expertise has an emphasis on private equity transactions, as well as real estate. The team has seen an increase in instructions from US corporations with investments in the UK and EU, and also handles specialist areas such as VAT on civil aircraft, outsourcings, and international commercial contracts. Highlights included advising NTT Data on worldwide transfer tax and other indirect tax matters related to the acquisition of Dell Data Services; and advising Silicon Labs on its acquisition of Telegesis. John Menzies, Lloyds Development Capital, Walker Greenbank and Anglo-African Oil and Gas are also clients. The ‘very well-respected team’ includes the ‘superbDavid Thompson, who focuses on corporate and private equity related tax; and legal director Stephen Jones, who is experienced in corporate, real estate tax and international tax matters.

Specialist corporate tax outfit MSA Law Limited renders ‘excellent advice’ to corporates, owner-managed businesses and individuals. The ‘very experienced’ two-partner firm advises on all direct taxes in a business context, with a particular focus on M&A transactions, exit planning, succession planning, employee incentives, reconstructions and reorganisations. It also handles property-related tax matters, including SDLT. The Morston Group of Companies and Affinity Trust are clients. The ‘brilliant team’ comprises Bernard McIlroy and Fiona Sutherland, who are singled out for their ‘superb technical expertise’.

Pinsent Masons LLP fields a ‘very strong corporate tax department’ that houses ‘expert advisers’. It handles direct and indirect tax matters, tax advisory mandates, share plans and incentives, and is ‘able to add an extra edge to its tax advice’ by drawing on its ‘first-class’ tax-litigation expertise, which covers a range of issues such as residency cases and VAT disputes. Highlights included providing incentives advice to AMC on its $1bn acquisition of Odeon and UCI from Terra Firma. Other clients include William Hill, Tullow Oil and Teva Pharmaceuticals, and the team advises Imperial Brands on its share plans globally. Recently promoted partner Steven Porter has a ‘first-class litigation practice’ and ‘has an extremely good all-round knowledge of tax, and applies this extremely well in practice’. Porter is leading on a series of Judicial Review challenges brought by taxpayers against HMRC's decision to issue them with payment notices as a result of their prior involvement in tax avoidance schemes. Team head Lynette Jacobs has ‘in-depth experience’ and advises on employee share plans. The ‘brilliant’ Heather Self is a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser, and a CEDR-accredited mediator.

The ‘very responsive’ team at Squire Patton Boggs delivers ‘practical and commercial advice’ and ‘understands the needs of the client’. Its expertise spans corporate finance, private equity and property transactions, as well as employee share incentive and pensions-related tax matters. The renewable energy, chemicals, recruitment, technology, real estate, sport and leisure sectors are key areas of focus. Highlights included advising on the tax, share scheme and employee benefit trust aspects relating to the £102.2m acquisition of BDP by Nippon Koei. It also advised CitySprint, its shareholders and its managers on tax matters relating to the secondary buyout of the company, and advised AppSense and its shareholders on the tax aspects of its sale to LANDesk, which involved a pre-sale group restructure and the roll out of an employee share scheme. Team head Patrick Ford is ‘outstanding’, provides ‘clear advice’ is able to ‘explain issues in user-friendly language’. ‘Very able’ associate and chartered tax adviser Victoria Carpenter is also recommended.

The ‘experienced’ department at Brabners LLP provides stand-alone tax advisory services, as well as support on a range of corporate, real estate and employment transactions. It is particularly noted for its specialist VAT and property tax expertise, and for its retail sector experience. Recent work includes advising Restore on the tax aspects of its £83m purchase of PHS’s data solutions division, which involved UK and overseas tax issues relating to the de-grouping process. It also advised the shareholders of Quat-Chem on tax matters related to its sale to a Nasdaq-listed buyer headquartered in Michigan, USA. It also advised Neptune Developments on the SDLT issues relating to a forward funding, mixed-use development. ‘Detail-orientated’ team head and chartered tax adviser Mark Whiteside splits his time between the firm’s Liverpool and Manchester offices.

DWF fields a ‘dedicated and knowledgeable team that clearly understands the topics in question from every angle’ and which provides ‘responses in a very timely manner’. Drawing strengths from its national office network, the practice is well versed in handling the tax aspects of transactional matters, with an emphasis in employee share schemes. Recent highlights include advising Redx Pharma on its employee incentives, the tax position for individual option holders, and the exercise of employee share options; and assisting Cyprotex with the exercise of its EMI and unapproved share options in relation to a scheme of arrangement and its acquisition by Evotec. Assura, Obtala, Regus and Zuto are also clients. Liverpool-based senior associate James Cashman is also a chartered tax adviser, and advises on high-value M&A and private equity deals as well as employee equity participation. Manchester-based associate Sam Dooley is ‘very knowledgeable’ and experienced in employee equity structuring.

Weightmans LLP’s ‘extremely knowledgeable and proactive team’ advises on tax aspects of corporate acquisitions and disposals and tax-efficient corporate restructurings. Real estate-related tax is a key focus; areas of expertise include SDLT, VAT and capital allowances in relation to UK property transactions. It also advises public sector bodies on tax-efficient models for joint ventures and collaborative operations, and assists owner-managed businesses with the design and implementation of employee incentives. Highlights included advising the shareholders of Portgrade on the tax aspects of the £52.6m sale of Portgrade and its trading subsidiary, Afonwen Laundry, to Johnson Service Group. It also advised Sonoco on the tax aspects of its acquisition of Laminar Medica in the UK and the Czech Republic, from Clinimed Holdings. Bruntwood, Bibby Group and RealityMine are also clients. The ‘exceptionalHaydn Rogan has ‘a fantastic reputation’ and is also a chartered accountant. He has a particular specialism in advising owner-managed businesses and SMEs on corporate structuring and employee incentives.

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