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Editorial

Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Brodies LLP handles a full spectrum of notable and high-value matters for private and listed companies, high-net-worth individuals, and third sector clients. In 2015, Shuna Stirling and Tom Boulton-Jones acted for Scottish homebuilder Tulloch Homes on its MBO. The team’s excellent investment funds capabilities were bolstered by the arrival of Karen Fountain from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. William McIntosh, Julian Voge, Andrew Akintewe and Neil Burgess are among the other notable individuals. Derek Stroud joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

In 2015, Burness Paull LLP’s workload included private equity investments and equity capital markets transactions. Mark Ellis advised KKR, as lead investor, on the $275m Series E equity fundraising by FanDuel. The group also handles oil and gas sector mandates and renewable energy transactions. Other key practitioners include Robert Burns (‘incredibly committed’), Grant Stevenson (‘brilliant all-round adviser’), Jonathan Heaney and Peter Lawson. Chris Gotts is also recommended.

Active not only in the Scottish market, but also the UK and internationally, CMS handles M&A, private equity and equity capital markets transactions. In 2015, David Davidson acted for the non-institutional shareholders of Worldmark International Holdings in the company’s £126m sale to Canada-based CCL Industries. Colin Lawrie’s team also includes Wendy Colquhoun, Michael McAuley and Laurence Ward. Graeme Bruce’s experience includes public company takeovers, secondary share issues and IPOs.

In 2015, Dickson Minto WS handled acquisitions and investments made by US-headquartered clients, including Charles River’s $212m acquisition of Celsis International. Elsewhere, it advised the management shareholders of Wood Mackenzie on the company’s £1.8bn sale to Verisk Analytics, and acted for Dunedin LLP on its £80m secondary buyout of Alpha FMC. The Edinburgh-based team houses seven specialist corporate partners, including Ewan Gilchrist, Colin MacNeill and Bruce Minto.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team is led by Barry McCaig and includes Alan Diamond, who assisted Skyscanner with its £128m private placement of shares, which was the largest ever by a tech company in the UK. The firm also attracts mandates from sectors such as energy and infrastructure; Rosalie Chadwick and others assisted Total with the £585m sale of its North Sea midstream business to North Sea Midstream Partners. Celtic plc, Ithaca Energy and Aberdeen Asset Management are among its other notable clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn handles work across various sectors, including energy and natural resources, financial services and real estate. In 2015, Stephen Trombala assisted FanDuel with its $275m Series E equity financing. In another highlight, Daniel Lee acted for the shareholders of PNE Wind UK in the company’s £103m sale to Brookfield. Andrew Blain’s team also includes Paul Hally, Tom Swan and Joanna Monaghan.

Key figures at Anderson Strathern include Simon Brown, who has more than 30 years of experience in corporate work and M&A; and John Kerr, who was lead adviser to the shareholders of MacLean Electrical Group in its sale to DistributionNOW. In 2015, Mark Cowie joined from McClure Naismith LLP and Douglas McLachlan was hired from DWF.

Private equity buyout transactions are a core area of strength at DLA Piper Scotland LLP. In 2015, Simon Rae assisted Energy Ventures with the institutional buyout and growth capital funding of Hannon Westwood. Other notable clients include Lockheed Martin, Skyscanner, First Reserve and Scottish Equity Partners. Alasdair Wood is recommended.

DWF’s workload spans corporate restructurings, M&A, joint ventures and investments across a wide range of sectors. The team, which is led by Wayne Lawrence, advised Capita plc on its £37m acquisition of Electra-Net Holdings in 2015. Other key individuals in the group include Paul Pignatelli, Tom Maxwell and Damien Bechelli.

HBJ Gateley acts for clients such as Souter Investments, Maven Capital Partners and Saltire Taverns. David Kirchin’s team handles a varied workload, which includes M&A, corporate structuring and capital markets. Andrew Ley advised LR Senergy on the sale of 45% of the company to Lloyds Register Group. Anna Brown recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP and Helena Brown was hired from Burness Paull LLP.

Harper Macleod LLP handles private company M&A, early stage investment transactions, group reorganisations and share buy-backs for clients across Scotland and the UK. Chris Kerr was lead adviser to the shareholders of Contact Advantage on the company’s sale to Reynolds & Reynolds. Scott Kerr joined from McClure Naismith LLP in 2015 and Stephen Chan was hired from Tods Murray. Donald Munro’s team also includes Craig McKerracher, who made partner.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s strengths include M&A, private equity and venture capital fundraisings and investments, and equity capital markets transactions. In 2015, Guy Norfolk and Brian Moore handled Ennismore’s acquisition of Gleneagles Hotels Limited from Diageo. Elsewhere, Iain Sutherland and David McGrory assisted Scottish Equity Partners with its £10m investment into Peppermint Technology. Derek McCombe made partner. Corporate head Michael Hughes is recommended.

MacRoberts LLP’s practice handles Scottish small and mid market M&A, advice to UK businesses expanding overseas, and assistance with inbound investments from overseas-based companies. In 2015, Neil Kennedy acted for the owners of Reid & Robertson on its sale to Carrs Billington Agriculture. Alan Kelly advised the Scottish Government on its acquisition of Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

Morton Fraser advises owner-managed and family businesses on acquisitions, disposals, fundings and restructurings. It also assists entrepreneurs with forming businesses, and has expertise in crowdfunding and establishing investment funds. Austin Flynn’s team includes Adrian Bell, who advised eVestment on its acquisition of TopQ. Joyce White, Iain Meiklejohn and Iain Young are also recommended.

At BTO Solicitors LLP, recently promoted partner Scott Wyper advised Scott Timber on its acquisition of a competitor. Jeremy Glen leads the team, which also includes Alastair Dunn, Andrew Sleigh and Gary Booth.

April Bingham’s team at Bellwether Green has a strong following in sectors such as healthcare, financial services, hotels and leisure, and technology. In addition to M&A and private equity transactions, the group is experienced in corporate structuring and dealing with commercial contracts.

Davidson Chalmers LLP acts for Scottish SMEs and also advises large international clients such as Sony and Jabil Circuit. Stuart Duncan’s team is particularly active in the renewable energy sector, and recently handled the sale of £40m of renewables projects to Zouk Capital for Urban Wind. Craig Stirling is recommended.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP specialises in renewable energy and land-related deals for clients such as SMEs, private equity funds and high-net-worth individuals. Christopher Smith has expertise in the corporate structuring of renewables projects, and in issues concerning family businesses. Derek McCulloch is also recommended.

Alan Stewart’s group at Kergan Stewart LLP has expertise in private company M&A, full list and AIM stock exchange flotations, and reconstructions. Stewart recently advised GT4 Group on its acquisition of TPL Labels. David Allan joined from Brodies LLP.

David Wood leads the team at Lindsays, which focuses on the SME and family business space. It draws work from the Central Belt, and from further afield including Dundee and the Scottish Borders. Wood led the advice to Close Asset Management Holdings on its purchase of Mackay Stewart & Brown. In 2015, Douglas Roberts joined from MBM Commercial. David Lindgren and Alastair Smith are other key names.

Stuart Hendry, Kenny Mumford and Sandy Finlayson are key individuals at MBM Commercial, which acts for high-growth technology companies and their investors. Its workload includes equity investments, debt finance transactions and company exits. In 2015, it advised the selling shareholders of GoodPractice on the company’s sale to Emerald Publishing.

Macdonald Henderson, which has ‘a growing reputation’, advises on MBOs, M&A and private equity. Noted for its 'expertise in all sizes and complexities of transactions', a significant amount of the firm's work has a cross-border component. In 2015, Fraser Morrison joined David Beveridge's team from Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP. Beveridge is 'extremely knowledgeable and professional'.

ShoosmithsAlison Gilson has expertise in areas such as M&A, MBOs, disposals and joint ventures. Also recommended is Stuart Murray, whose workload spans a wide range of sectors, including retail and technology.

In 2015, Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP was bolstered by the arrival of Colin Millar and two other lawyers from McClure Naismith LLP. In a notable mandate, practice head Ken Long led the group’s advice to LSE-listed Macfarlane Group in its £2.75m acquisition of One Packaging.


Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in Scotland

Burness Paull’s Ken Gordon, who has ‘unrivalled experience in private corporate M&A in the oil and gas sector’, assisted Simmons Private Equity with its acquisition of HL Technologies. The firm handles private equity transactions in Scotland and UK-wide, as well as equity capital markets matters. Helen Dickson and Jamie Stark are other key names.

In the oil and gas arena, CMS’ clients include private equity houses and oilfield service companies. Other industry strengths are renewables, hotels and financial services. Frank Fowlie advised Belltown Power on its £66m acquisition of a 50% interest in the Frodsham Wind Farm project from Peel Energy. Helen Machin and Norman Wisely are recommended. Douglas Crawford joined Brodies LLP in April 2016.

Noted for its oil and gas sector focus, Roger Connon’s ‘very hands-on’ team at Pinsent Masons LLP acts for clients such as KCA Deutag Drilling and Statoil. In 2015, Martin Ewan was lead adviser to Ithaca Energy Holdings (UK) Limited on the $90m sale of a subsidiary to MOL Nordsjon. David McEwing and Jonathan Kirkwood are recommended. John Rutherford joined Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Aberdeen office.

Blackwood Partners LLP’s practice primarily focuses on the oil and gas sector, although it does take on mandates in other areas. It acted for Lloyds Development Capital in its investment in the MBO of PDG Helicopters. Judith Quinn is a key member of the team, which is led by Alastair Wyper.

Noted for its strong oil and gas capability, Brodies LLP’s practice was bolstered by Douglas Crawford’s recent arrival from CMS. Tom Boulton-Jones, who made partner in 2015, relocated to the Aberdeen office from Glasgow. Boulton-Jones and Clare Munro acted for INEOS in its acquisition of DEA UK E&P Holdings. The firm’s other sector expertise includes food and drink, fisheries and financial services.

Oil and gas sector mandates form the bulk of Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s workload in Aberdeen. Rod Hutchison, consultant Malcolm Laing and others assisted Steven Whyte and other family shareholders with the sale of North Sea Stores to Strachans Ltd. Fiona Neilson is a key name in Inverness. Peter Murray heads the practice.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP undertakes corporate work in the oil and gas sector as well as in areas such as renewables, and food and drink. Andy Lowe’s team, which includes private equity specialist David McGrory, was recently bolstered by the arrivals of Jill Reid, who came from Dana Petroleum, and Nicola Rae, formerly of KCA Deutag.

Stronachs LLP undertakes M&A, private equity transactions and other corporate matters for clients ranging from owner-managed businesses to large corporates. Neil Forbes was lead adviser to Aurora Petroleum regarding a significant investment made by an overseas investor. Ross Gardner joined from Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace.

Ritchie Whyte and Jacqueline Law are recommended at Aberdein Considine, which advises SMEs in the oil and gas and marine services industries. Law acted for the shareholders of Survival Craft Inspectorate in the sale of the company to Survitec Group.

Blackadders LLP’s Campbell Clark assisted Glendola Leisure with its acquisition of Saltire Taverns. Other clients include Strathmore Foods, Vascular Flow Technologies and 4J Studios.

Harper Macleod LLP’s team advised shareholder David Alexander Stephen on the sale of Safety Welding and Lifting Holdings Limited (and its subsidiary) to Rosskeen Holdings Limited. Chris Kerr, who heads the firm’s Highlands and Islands team, splits his time between Glasgow, Inverness and the recently opened Lerwick office. The firm’s Thurso office also generates work. Craig McKerracher made partner in 2015.

Thorntons Law LLP’s Alistair Lang has particular expertise in early-stage investment and high-growth companies, and recently assisted Intelligent Growth Solutions with its £790,000 Series C1 equity funding round. Christopher Allan is another name to note in the Michael Royden-led team.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s Gordon Hobkirk has a first- rate reputation in the fields of oil and gas service, exploration and production, and renewables. His workload includes M&A, joint ventures and corporate reorganisations.

The Commercial Law Practice LLP’s team advises clients ranging from individuals in business to SMEs to professional practices. Its diverse range of work includes joint ventures, capital restructuring, and company acquisitions and disposals. Keir Willox and Charles Sandison are recommended.


Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Brodies LLP’s Isobel d’Inverno is noted for her Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) knowledge, and has also been at the vanguard of Scotland’s new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), having advised the Scottish Government on its introduction. Alan Barr handles the full range of business and personal tax issues.

In addition to undertaking advisory work across the spectrum of direct and indirect taxes, Gwen Souter’s team at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP handles the tax planning and structuring aspects of Scottish and UK-wide corporate deals. It also recently assisted clients with commercial property transactions falling within the SDLT or LBTT regimes. Lorna McCaa advised Aberdeen Asset Management on the tax aspects of its acquisition of Parmenion Capital Partners and its sister company, Self Directed Holdings.

Burness Paull LLP advises businesses on tax issues at every lifecycle stage, from start-up and expansion to acquisition, divestment and exit. John Finnick’s team not only acts for Scotland-based clients on tax issues concerning domestic and outbound activities, but also inbound investors. In 2015, Finnick acted for Standard Life on its acquisition of Pearson Jones from Skipton Building Society.

MacRoberts LLP’s Ainsley MacLaren advises on a wide range of taxes, including SDLT and VAT, for commercial and property clients. MacLaren advised Idox plc on the tax aspects of its acquisition of Reading Room. Carillion plc, Johnston Press and W&J Knox are other clients.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Karen Davidson advised the selling shareholders of By the Bridge Limited on the tax aspects of the company’s sale to Cambian Group for £36m. Christine Yuill dealt with tax issues arising from an energy company’s disposal of its North Sea assets.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s team advises on a range of corporate and personal tax issues, including SDLT, capital gains tax and VAT. It has particularly notable expertise in tax issues arising from corporate and property transactions. Stephen Miller advised iomart Group on the tax aspects of its acquisition of United Communications Limited. Rodger Cairns is also recommended.


EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Leading individuals

In 2015, Brodies LLP’s Rod Lambert and Roger Cotton successfully assisted Abellio with obtaining European Commission merger clearance in connection with the ScotRail franchise award. In her capacity as a solicitor advocate, Christine O’Neill regularly represents the Scottish government in public procurement and EU law cases. Charles Livingstone made partner.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s practice operates across the UK and beyond, and Dublin-based C&C Group plc is a notable client. Michael Dean and Catriona Munro are advising Kenman Holdings on possible state aid and public procurement issues arising from the award of the contract to operate Lews Castle as hotel accommodation.

Burness Paull LLP’s David Goodbrand assisted Healthcare Environmental Group with a CMA investigation into its acquisition of GW Butler. Goodbrand’s team also advises on potential merger control issues with prospective deals, and handles state aid and public procurement matters for public and private sector clients.

CMS’ Graeme Young, who splits his time between Edinburgh and London, advises on a wide range of UK and EU competition law matters, including state aid and public procurement. Young’s main sector strengths are in financial services, energy and utilities. The firm’s clients include SSE plc, Scottish Water and National Grid. Aberdeen-based Judith Aldersey-Williams is recommended.

Noted for its strength in the utilities sector, particularly energy and water, Shepherd and Wedderburn deals with a range of transactional, behavioural, state aid and public procurement matters. Gordon Downie’s team includes John Grady, who is experienced in competition investigations in the energy industry.

At DWF, Colin Miller is experienced in CMA cartel investigations, while other strengths of the firm’s practice are EU public procurement and state aid. In 2015, the firm advised Transport Scotland on matters arising from the award of the franchise for railway passenger services, including public procurement and state aid issues. Wayne Lawrence, Martin Gallaher and Euan McSherry are names to note.

Harper Macleod LLP’s James McMorrow acts for public and private sector clients in various matters, including public procurement, state aid and abuse of dominance. In 2015, McMorrow advised Shetland Islands Council on state aid compliance issues associated with its sale of two shipping vessels.

David Flint’s team at MacRoberts LLP advises on competition law compliance and investigations for clients in industries such as construction, food and drink, and transport. John Reid is recommended for cartel investigations and state aid cases.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles state aid cases, as well as contentious and non-contentious public procurement matters. Notable clients include CalMac Ferries Limited, Glasgow City Council and National Library of Scotland. Caroline Ramsay has expertise in state aid and public procurement aspects of major regeneration projects.


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