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  1. Corporate and commercial: Newcastle
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  3. Leading individuals
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Who Represents Who

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The sizeable team at Muckle LLP is ‘not easily phased by unusual challenges and provides good, timely advice’. The practice is regularly involved in the region’s most significant transactions and has particular expertise in corporate finance work. Anthony Evans and team head Andrew Davison acted for longstanding client Quantum Pharma on its £150m takeover by the Clinigen Group by way of a scheme of arrangement, while Philip Clare, who is noted for his ‘good technical skills and strong commitment’, assisted the Fairstone Group with a number of strategic acquisitions: in 2017, the team advised the client on its acquisitions of McParland & Partners, DHD Wealth Management, Hase Osborne Asset Management and Professional Partners. Clare also advised the shareholders of O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions on the sale of their entire share capital to Biffa, and acted alongside Mike Spetch for LDC Private Equity - one of several private equity firm clients - on acquiring the share capital of the Parsons Group. The team subsequently acted for Parsons Group on the acquisition of the share capital of THDA. On the commercial side, the practice regularly handles commercial arrangements for the supply and distribution of goods. Alan Grisedale assisted EDMI Europe with its contractual supply and software licensing agreements with national utility providers. Hugh Welch and associate Adam Rayner are other names to note.

The ‘very good’ team at Ward Hadaway ‘provides a superb service’ and ‘focuses on getting the right result for the client’. On the transactional front the practice handles a wide range of corporate transactions and MBOs alongside venture capital and private equity work, while the commercial group led by Colin Hewitt advises on director duties and governance matters, trading structures and commercial agreements. He works closely with the ‘pragmatic and client-focused’ Damien Charlton, who is noted for his strength in handling outsourcing and other long-term commercial contracts. In the corporate space, practice head Martin Hulls acted for the HMC Group in selling Helen McArdle Care to HC-One, comprising a portfolio of 20 care homes, while Katherine Hay-Heddle advised the shareholders of the software company Kykloud on the sale of US-based Accruent, and Tom Pollard assisted the Bannatyne Group with five corporate acquisitions. Other clients include private equity investor Total Capital Partners, the Business Growth Fund and Nissan.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s full-service corporate and commercial practice is a regular fixture on many of the market’s headline deals. In a highlight matter, managing associate Iain Pritty advised Newcastle City Council on the Science Central joint venture between the council, Newcastle University and the financial services company Legal & General. Other clients are typically drawn from the transport, retail, financial, healthcare, chemicals and manufacturing sectors and include a number of regionally based private and family-owned businesses. In an example of its work for regional clients, the very experienced’ Ben Butler, who jointly heads the team with Jamie Pass, assisted the shareholders of Vocare with the £11m disposal of the company to Totally. Butler also advised Huntsman on its acquisition of chemicals manufacturer IFS Chemicals, which involved various competition and employment law matters. Other key individuals include manufacturing sector group head Peter Snaith, who assisted Lotte Chemical UK with commercial contracts and with various issues pertaining to its global goods supply arrangements. Corporate finance partner Robert Phillips and associate Stacey Hall are also recommended.  

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP is praised for providing ‘very grounded advice’. The firm's corporate practice has a strong transactional profile, which includes handling investment mandates, and acts across a wide range of sectors, with particular expertise in the healthcare and leisure industries. John Nicholson acted for Ashok Aggarwal and his family on the sale of the entire share capital of the North East pharmacy chain Ashchem to a group of chemists. In other significant work, the team advised the Parsons Group on its private equity investment from Lloyds Development Capital and the related acquisition of THDA Limited, and acted for Cooper & Turner in the sale of its entire issued share capital to the Watermill Group, a US-based investment firm. Northern Bear received constitutional and corporate governance advice and also retained the practice to assist with the sale of its asbestos removal business, while team head Paul Hughes advised a different client on the management buyout of NTE Limited and its associated companies. Peter Robinson is well versed in handling corporate finance instructions.

The team at Sintons LLP acts for SMEs, owner-managed businesses and privately held corporates on mergers and acquisitions, buy outs, private equity and other corporate finance transactions. The ‘very focused and customer-oriented’ Matt Collen and Adrian Dye are the main contacts for PE transactions and investments; Collen acted for the entrepreneurs Graham Auld and Derek McLaren on the sale of shares in Pennine Newcastle, while Dye assisted YoungsRPS, a chartered surveyors and property consulting business, with its merger with Stanton Mortimer. Noted for her specialist expertise in the healthcare sector, Amanda Maskery advised Wellway, Lintonville and Brockwell Medical Groups on the merger of three primary care practices in Northumberland. In other work, Christopher Welch assisted Dhillon Property - a longstanding client of the firm - with the restructuring and incorporation of several general partnerships into a limited company. Team head Karen Simms provides regular assistance with corporate transactions in the energy, waste, healthcare and leisure sectors. ‘Very focused’ Senior associate Emma Pern is also recommended.

With particular expertise in the financial services, technology and education sectors, the ‘strong and well-balanced’ team at Watson Burton LLP is praised for its 'very good service and prompt replies'. It has a strong profile in private equity and venture capital transactions, university financings and mandates involving the conversion, merger and acquisition of educational establishments. The ‘very efficient and professional’ Duncan Reid leads the team and is noted for his ‘refreshingly commercial viewpoint’. Reid advised Evac Chair International’s MBO team on the acquisition of the business, which involved dealing with the purchase agreement, due diligence and the management team’s investment, and acted for Northumbrian Water on the sale of air stacking business Exova. The ‘very personable and hardworking’ Paul Wigham, who regularly handles IT-related instructions, assisted the investment fund Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) with a number of investments in technology businesses totalling £18m. Marc Allison, who joined the firm in November 2017 from BHP Law,  handles franchise matters for franchisees and franchisors.

DWF stands out for its expertise in corporate finance, including flotations and fundraising. Recent highlights include advising Cenkos Securities on a £6.5m placing for UK Oil & Gas Investments, and acting for the Cloudcall Group in a secondary AIM placing. In co-operation with colleagues from the firm’s other UK offices, the Newcastle team also handles joint ventures, M&A and private equity transactions. Team head Jeremy Swift is particularly rated for his private equity expertise and acts for a number of clients in the financial services industry alongside energy and TMT sector players.  Anne Spetch left in June 2017 for an in-house position.

Hay & Kilner is highly active in M&A transactions; in a standout matter, managing partner Jonathan Waters advised the shareholders of Van Mildert Landlord & Tenant Protection on the sale of the entire issued share capital to Adlington Capital. In an illustration of his specialist expertise in the care home sector, Waters assisted a care home group with refinancing matters. The ‘very responsive’ and ‘cost-sensitive’ team also includes the ‘practical and very competent’ Mark Adams, who advised Robson Laidler Accountants on the acquisition of Straughans Chartered Accountants, and assisted the shareholders of P F Burridge & Sons with the management buyout of the company.

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