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The ‘exceptional’ practice at Birketts LLP offers a mix of corporate and commercial services, with team lead Rafael Ruiz specialising in corporate transactions, Nigel Thompson handling M&A matters in the IT industry, and Adam Jones providing experience in restructuring and refinancing as well as the financial sector. Clients also recommend ‘excellent’ solicitor Alex Forwood. Recent highlights include advising Islandic client LBI on the sale of VCG Group to a US buyer and assisting Seetec Business Technology Centre with the acquisition of Outsource Education Group’s share capital. Ruiz’s long-term client Servest Group acquired several businesses, including a mechanical engineering group from Scotland. Nick Burnett advised Airtask Group on the acquisition of Hebridean Air Services. Jones won P2P Mailing as a new client, advising on its sale to The Delivery Group. Other active clients are Commcise Software and Ixion Holdings. While associate Laura Ryan joined Servest Group as an in-house counsel, the practice saw the arrival of associate Charles Kirk, who brings in-house experience from the Japanese offices of Deutsche Bank and Barclays, as well as solicitors Stephanie Ayre from Capita Asset Services and the ‘friendly and responsive’ Claire Hunt from Birkett Long LLP.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s corporate and commercial practice is ‘professional, friendly and easy to work with’, and is particularly experienced in the healthcare sector. The lawyers advise on NHS contracts as well as pilot schemes, partnership arrangements and business disposals. Additionally, the ‘thorough, knowledgeable and responsiveClaire Powell also specialises in advising GP practices and healthcare franchise work. The ‘first-rate’ team is also active in the financial sector as well as the construction industry, in relation to which Nick Mayles provides ‘proactive and considered advice’. The ‘incisive, cool-under-fire’ senior partner Mary Anne Fedeyko has a ‘sharp intellect and always delivers’. Recent work for Fedeyko includes assisting with the restructuring of a farming company, including a demerger and all associated documentation. She also advised on the sale of millions of shares in a property portfolio company and a joint venture spreading across France, India and the UK. Fedeyko and solicitor Caroline Nicholls, who handled the reorganisation of key client Clacton on Sea Golf Club, ‘provide sound and considerate advice with a commercial approach’.

At Birkett Long LLP, head of team Tracey Dickens in Colchester handles franchise, MBO and partnership matters, while David Wisbey is the expert for banking and cross-border work. Other focus points for the ‘personable, responsive and reliable’ practice are commercial and corporate finance, e-commerce, education and the media and entertainment industry, of which the latter two are handled by associate solicitor Stephen Avila in Basildon. Wisbey advised the shareholders of local company C A Blackwell Group regarding the sale of its entire share capital to Hargreaves Services and also supported Runwood Homes during its acquisition of three care homes in Northern Ireland. The team has longstanding client relationships with Systematic Logistics International and Wilkin & Sons, and picked up 90 new clients in 2016, including Horizon Construction, Eastern Data Group and Hawkes Brewing Company. Claire Hunt left for Birketts LLP.

The corporate and commercial practice at Ellisons Solicitors delivers a ‘superb service’. Head of department Seamus Clifford and Paul Forsyth advise on various matters, but especially sales, acquisitions and restructurings. Apart from M&A, Forsyth also holds expertise in shareholder, partnership and general commercial agreements. Clifford advised East of England Co-operative Society’s acquisition of the share capital in Ben’s Woodbridge. The shareholders of Cadman Cranes and of Arcwest are also among the firm’s clients.

Clients praise Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s corporate and commercial practice in Chelmsford for its ‘excellent support at all levels’, the ‘biggest selling point’ being ‘a broad spread of expertise across all subject matters within the dental and pharmacy sector; its knowledge is second to none’. The ‘professional’ Leah Groves is the main contact for clients in this sector, and has developed a particular reputation in the sale and acquisition of dental practices. The team also engages in transactional and commercial work for the print and repo-photographic industry, as well as the facilities management, charity and education sectors. The latter two are mostly handled by head of practice Tony Fisher, ‘a very measured individual with sound legal and commercial instincts’ who is also an accredited mediator. The ‘highly responsive’ Ashton Carter specialises in intellectual property and business finance agreements alongside the transactional work that is a hallmark of the practice. Clients include names such as VCG Kestrel, Parkside Flexibles, Cloudfm Group and the Royal Association for the Deaf.

The corporate and commercial team at Palmers operates across a wide range of sectors, including media, insurance, hospitality, construction and engineering. It delivers in a ‘quick, comprehensive and reassuring’ manner, and is ‘able to adapt to the latest updates in ever-changing industries and explain the legal implications in an understandable way to clients’. The practice also has niche expertise in e-commerce, including website terms of use, privacy policies, data protection policies and B2C distance selling regulations. Head of team Matthew Poli in Basildon advised two minority shareholders on the sale of shares in a nationwide media and marketing company during its global disposal, and also completed the due diligence on a Gambling Commission licence for a company from Hong Kong, which intended to purchase an online casino. Another highlight was the recapitalisation of a national insurance company, for which Poli advised on capital adequacy rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority. Johnson Controls Group, Shakespeare Engineering Group and Czech retail and hotel operator Transakta are all active clients. Poli and solicitor Matthew Johnson are recommended.

The ‘exceptionally responsive and out-of-the-box thinking’ practice at Wortley Byers LLP is well known for its experience in the pharmaceuticals sector, and duly gained a new client in the form of Aspire Pharma, as well as continuing to do work for the likes of Heheals Pharmaceuticals and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiation Committee. A key highlight for the ‘commercially astute and practical’ Sue Dowman is the ongoing advice to Martindale Pharma regarding acquiring developer Viridian Pharma and expanding its product range in Europe. The practice also serves the engineering industry, such the ‘excellentLucy Folley’s advice to shareholders of Skyline Tower Crane Services during the company’s joint venture with Arcomet Tower Cranes. Additionally, Dowman supported Majenta Solutions on its acquisition of Dassault Systemes from Tata Technologies Europe. Other clients include Florey Investments, AGS Oilfield Services, Kendon Packaging Group and Warneford Healthcare. The team members are based in Brentwood.

At Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors, which has offices in Loughton and Harlow, the ‘personable, competent and well-connected’ Mark Stigwood was promoted to partner. Stigwood now also heads up the corporate and commercial practice, delivering ‘great technical knowledge and excellent customer care’ alongside commercial partner Jonathan Clarke and litigator Leanne Philp. The practice focuses especially on private equity finance, M&A, management buyouts, reorganisations and joint ventures. Stigwood advised a management team on the structure of the MBO of EA Limited and the reorganisation of the group. He also represented shareholders of a cleaning company in the sale of their shares. Apart from corporate clients, the team also supports individual shareholders and entrepreneurs.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP’s corporate and commercial department is most active in the commercial property sector, but also attracts clients from the medical and care industries. The key partners are head of dispute resolution Fiona Colwell, who handles corporate matters; conveyancing and business transfer lawyer Wendy Cole; and Mark Deans, who also handles conveyancing as well as general commercial matters. Colwell and Cole are based in the Westcliff-on-Sea office, while Deans works out of Billericay. Recent highlights include multiple public procurement matters for an international supplier of medical equipment, the purchase and sale of car dealerships worth several million pounds and the handling of two share purchase agreements simultaneously during the restructure of a global company. The team also advises on the acquisition and refinancing of care homes for several clients, the restructuring of different-sized business and contractual documentation.

Pinney Talfourd LLP is a ‘very good regional firm delivering a quality product at a cost-effective price, which clients feel they can trust’. Late 2016 saw the arrival of senior associate Edward Garston from Wortley Byers LLP, who is ‘knowledgeable, very personable and always willing to help’ and specialises in corporate finance matters (such as lending and security transactions) as well as sales, acquisitions and corporate restructuring in the transport and logistics sector. The team is led by commercial and M&A lawyer Julien Pritchard (noted for his ‘speed of response’ and ‘appropriate clear advice’), who also holds expertise in telecoms leases and finance. Pritchard advised a local storage company on the acquisition of a similar business. Key clients of the practice include car dealer Hills Group Enterprises, insurer Sky Holdings and real estate company Thomas Rattenbury. While all lawyers are based in Brentwood, they frequently travel to the firm’s other offices in Upminster, Hornchurch and Leigh on Sea. Senior associate Agata Rumbelow joined Longmores Solicitors LLP, and Amy Leite joined Aquabridge Law.

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Legal Developments in South East for Corporate and commercial: Essex

  • US rules regarding offshore accounts

    The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 2010, enacted on 18 March 2010, imposes a new US withholding tax and reporting regime, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The FATCA regime applies generally to payments made after 31 December 2012, except on obligations (to be defined in future guidance) outstanding on 18 March 2012. Substantial effort is required by foreign entities to bring their worldwide operations and policies into compliance with the FATCA rules as of the effective date.

    - Jones Day

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