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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP’s team has ‘breadth and depth of experience, which is hard to find elsewhere in Scotland’. It handles key industry matters for clients in a multitude of sectors, including technology, education, food and drink, and financial services. Gill Summers, who is particularly knowledgeable about the fishing and maritime industry, has more than 20 years’ experience advising on acquisitions and disposals of businesses (and assets), corporate governance and directors’ duties, as well as vessel-related issues. Tom Boulton-Jones acts for blue-chip clients such as Dana Petroleum and Drum Property Group, and led the advice to Cooke Aquaculture on its acquisition of Balta Island Seafare. Other key individuals include Clare Munro, Greg May and Sonia Love, who are heavily involved in oil and gas matters; May has 20 years of oil and gas contracts experience. The ‘dedicated and professional’ associate Shona Tennant, and senior solicitors Caroline Deveney and Hamish Blair are also highly regarded. Douglas Crawford, who joined from CMS in 2016, heads the private equity practice.

Burness Paull LLP has standout capabilities in oil and gas services sector work, which includes M&A, MBOs and corporate restructurings. Helen Dickson and director Gary Chapman acted for Subsea 7 in its acquisition of Swagelining Limited and Pioneer Lining Technology. The firm also has an active private equity practice, where it acts for investors and management teams in buy-in or buyout transactions. Outside of oil and gas, highlights included assisting Bluegem Capital with its investment in Jack Wills and advising Hattington Capital on its investment in Dobbie’s Garden Centres. Other private equity clients include Maven Capital Partners and Simmons Private Equity. Stark, who succeeded Ken Macdonald as practice head (following the latter’s retirement from private practice), is at the forefront of the firm’s work for Norwegian businesses, which is a notable growth area of the practice. Also recommended are Alasdair Freeman, who specialises in corporate and commercial work in the oil and gas and IT sectors, and director Arran Mackenzie.

CMS combines strong transactional experience in areas such as energy (oil and gas, and renewables) and consumer products (including food and drink) with expertise in related specialised issues, including competition and planning issues. Reflecting the firm’s outstanding track record in big-ticket corporate and private equity matters, in 2016 Helen Machin and senior associate Niall Polson acted for NBGI in the merger between Centurion Group and ATR Group, a transaction involving the merger of two private equity backed groups. In another matter, Frank Fowlie was the lead adviser to LDC, Epi-V and the management team of Darcy Technology in the sale of Darcy to Halliburton. Other notable clients include Norvestor VII LP, ConocoPhillips and Graphite Capital. Also recommended in the team are Norman Wisely, a go-to for domestic and international upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions, recently promoted partner Graeme Clubley and Lorna Dawson. Judith Aldersey-Williams advises UK and international clients on a wide ambit of commercial contracts in the energy industry, as well as regulatory and competition issues.

Pinsent Masons LLP undertakes a particularly significant amount of corporate and commercial work in the oil and gas arena, where it acts for clients such as oil majors, services companies and private equity funds in high-value, multijurisdictional transactions. Practice head (and head of the Aberdeen office) Roger Connon acts for clients such as Statoil and Wood Group Plc. In 2016, David McEwing and senior associate David Millar were part of an international team which acted for Simmons Private Equity II LP in its acquisition of LEAP Group. In another matter, McEwing led the advice to Zennor Petroleum on its acquisition of subsidiary companies First Oil & Gas Limited and Antrim Resources Limited from the joint administrators of First Oil & Gas Expro. Martin Ewan is knowledgeable about oilfield technology exploitation, and also acts for upstream operators and service sector clients in acquisitions and disposals, and corporate restructurings, among other areas. Legal director Jonathan Kirkwood is also recommended. The practice also has clients in other industries, such as renewable energy, infrastructure and technology.

Blackwood Partners LLP is particularly active in M&A and private equity transactions in the oil and gas service sector, where it acts for corporates, management teams and fund sponsors. Despite challenging market conditions, the practice advised on a significant number of mandates in 2016, including acting for oil services company Centurion Group in its merger with ATR Group, and advising Eclipse Intervention Holdings on its acquisition of Wellbore AS. Another highlight involved acting for Maven Capital Partners during its investment in Whiterock Group. Managing partner Alastair Wyper leads the team, whose other clients include Ashtead Technology, Consilium AB and Proserv Group. Corporate partner Judith Quinn and solicitor Ross Fair are other key individuals in the team.

Aberdein Considine’s team, which undertakes work across a wide range of sectors for clients Scotland-wide and internationally, mainly focuses on acting for SMEs and investors in the oil and gas and marine service space. Led by managing partner Jacqueline Law, the group advises on issues such as start-up and fundraising, expansion strategies, joint ventures, restructurings, acquisitions and disposals. A specialist financial services team advises on corporate benefits and pension schemes for company directors and business owners. The firm was increasingly active outside of oil and gas in 2016, and added to its presence in the food and drink sector with new clients such as Porter’s Gin and Dark Matter Distillers. In other notable work, Ritchie Whyte acted for the management team of Atlas Lifts and Services during an MBO of the business, and advised Baird’s Pharmacy on its acquisition of The Caring Chemist.

Blackadders LLP provides ‘excellent and to-the-point advice’ to high-growth businesses, private companies and multinational organisations. The group fields two partners who have attained the Signet Accreditation in corporate law: practice head Campbell Clark, and the ‘extremely conscientious and knowledgeableKirk Dailly; the latter focuses on acting for companies in the technology, creative, healthcare and education sectors. A recent highlight involved acting for games entrepreneurs and investors Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns in their investment (along with Lloyds Development Company) in Team17. In another matter, Clark advised Gillies of Broughty Ferry Limited on its acquisition of two furniture businesses, namely Ogilvies of Inverness and West End Furniture. Director Susan McFadyen has expertise in the timeshare and vacation ownership sector.

With offices in Inverness, Lerwick and Thurso, Harper Macleod LLP has a sizeable presence in the north of Scotland. Chris Kerr leads the Highlands and Islands team, which handles a broad spectrum of matters for clients in sectors such as marine, food and drink, manufacturing and engineering, and tourism, among others. Work for privately-owned businesses is a core pillar of the practice, particularly for family-owned and owner-managed businesses of various sizes. In addition, the firm undertakes a significant amount of work for early-stage and high-growth companies through its role as exclusive legal partner in Scotland to Scottish EDGE and Entrepreneurial Spark. In 2016, Kerr and Craig McKerracher acted for the selling shareholders of Balta Island Seafare in the sale of the company to Cooke Aquaculture Scotland. In another highlight, McKerracher was the lead adviser to Waas Bakery on its acquisition of Walls Bakery. Associate Lesley Wisely joined the Inverness office from Ledingham Chalmers LLP. Commercial contracts expert Jill Fryer is also knowledgeable about public procurement and a wide range of competition law issues, including those involving merger control, state aid and anticompetitive agreements.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP’s team has a longstanding track record in the oil and gas service sector, where it acts for clients such as Tendeka, Plexus Ocean Systems and Ramco Oil Services. Led by Peter Murray, the team handles a broad spectrum of mandates, including M&A, joint ventures and corporate restructurings, as well as providing commercial contract advice. Rod Hutchison is advising Total Waste Management Alliance on corporate and contractual issues connected with its global energy services activities. Other names to note are Rod Hutchison, Neil Anderson, Fiona Neilson and Jody Mitchell, as well as senior associate Sarah Londragan.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP combines an experienced, full-service practice with specialist knowledge about ancillary disciplines, such as competition law and corporate tax. The firm’s extensive workload spans mergers and acquisitions, MBOs, private equity fundraisings and commercial contracts, among other areas. In the energy arena, it has a strong track record in upstream oil and gas, as well as on the supply chain side; key clients include Peel Gas & Oil, Premier Oil and Gulfstream Services. Kirsti Olson is the chair of Oil & Gas UK’s decommissioning work group, which is currently producing the first LOGIC standard form contract for decommissioning projects in the North Sea. Other industries in which the firm is particularly active are food and drink, where clients include salmon farms and start-up micro-breweries, and renewable energy. Bill Fowler, Nicola Rae and others are assisting The European Marine Energy Centre with all aspects of its €11m Interreg North West Europe FORESEA project; recent work includes advising the client on establishing partnership arrangements with various other entities across Europe, such as SmartBay and Tidal Testing Centre. David McGrory divides his time between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Gordon Hobkirk, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP, succeeded Andy Lowe as the Aberdeen corporate practice head, following the latter’s recent departure from the firm.

Shepherd and Wedderburn enhanced its footprint in Aberdeen, and the wider market in North East Scotland, following its recent high-profile acquisition of The Commercial Law Practice LLP; Keir Willox was among the key individuals to move across. In addition, the Aberdeen corporate team includes consultants John Rutherford and Charles Scott, who joined in 2016 from Pinsent Masons LLP and Mackinnons respectively. Rutherford heads the practice, which handles matters such as acquisitions and disposals of SMEs and shareholder investments, among other areas.

Stronachs LLP is well known for acting for clients in the oil and gas industry (both in the upstream and supply chain sectors), particularly in complex multijurisdictional transactions. It also undertakes corporate and commercial work in other areas, such as renewable energy, healthcare and leisure, food and drink, and technology. Led by Neil Forbes, the team acts for a broad base of organisations, including listed companies, with a particular sweet spot in advising owner-managed businesses and management teams. In 2016, Ross Gardner and others acted for the shareholders of Aberdeen Drilling School in the disposal of a 25% stake to Falck Safety Services Holdings. In another matter, Malcolm Donald was the lead adviser to the shareholders of Capture Group (Holdings) in the company’s takeover by Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Limited. David Rennie and Inverness-based senior associate Ross Linn are also recommended. Callum Murray moved to Morton Fraser.

Thorntons Law LLP’s corporate practice is split between offices in Dundee, Perth and St Andrews. Its 13-strong team (which includes four dedicated corporate partners) handles a varied workload, which includes M&A, private equity and other fundraising transactions, business start-up and structuring, and corporate governance advice. Michael Royden heads the practice, which marks an uptick in work from high-growth technology and spin-out companies seeking investments, as well as angel investment syndicates and universities spinning out companies. Other team strengths include acquisitions and disposals of dental practices, and matters arising from the computer games and golf industries. In 2016, Alistair Lang acted for Intelligent Growth Solutions in a £500,000 series B equity financing round. Lang has ‘the very rare ability to blend an innovative approach, commercial business realism, and strategic and visionary thinking, with legal expertise’. DC Thomson group, Carnoustie Golf Links and Design Dundee are among its key clients. Chris Allan and Jack Robertson are other notable partners. Robbie Francis, Alison Stevenson and Chris Byrne are highly regarded associates.

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