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  1. Corporate and commercial: Hampshire
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Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP fields a team that is ‘commercial and responsive, with good internal communication’, and which has a good standing across the corporate and commercial spectrum, with an extensive track record in M&A, joint ventures, data protection issues and private equity matters on behalf of clients in the logistics, banking and leisure sectors. In an illustration of its capital markets expertise, the team advised Harwood Wealth Management Group on a £13.5m institutional share placing and assisted Gresham Technologies with its £3.3m share placement on AIM, as well as its acquisition of software business C24 Technologies. In another highlight, the team advised CVS Group with several acquisitions in 2016, including purchasing Greenacres Pet Crematorium and Buttercross Veterinary Centre, for an aggregate value of £4m. Other clients include Esotec, Universe Group and Wellness Foods. James Hawkeswood heads the department and is well-versed in private equity investments and corporate restructurings. Also recommended are public company takeover expert Stephen Archibald; regulatory and compliance specialist Mary Chant; Simon Treherne, who is an expert in owner-managed businesses; private equity expert Mark Hepworth; and Sheilah Mackie, who focuses on commercial IP and IT matters.

Bond Dickinson LLP is a known player in the region for corporate and commercial matters, including cross-border M&A, data protection work and private equity transactions for lenders, borrowers and businesses. On the M&A front the the team assisted Chemring Group with its acquisition of the air countermeasures division of Wallop Defence Systems, which involved obtaining clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority. In another highlight, the firm assisted Imerys with its international joint venture with Omya, which involved multi-jurisdictional shareholder and asset sale agreements. In an illustration of its energy sector strength, the practice advised RES Group on the sale of a 60MW wind farm portfolio to Aviva Investors, and acted for Renewable Energy Generation on its sale of a majority stake to BlackRock-managed RI Income UK Holdings for £65m. Other clients include Ordnance Survey, Immediate Media and Whitbread Group. Corporate head Ian Holdenis always practical and sensitive to the commercial realities of transactions’; he is ably assisted by commercial head and outsourcing expert Nick Barwood, and head of commercial contracts Paula Bartlett. Other key figures in the team include energy sector specialist Sebastian Briggs and national head of practice Stephen Pierce, who focuses on M&A work.

Shoosmiths LLP is singled out for its track record assisting clients in the technology, financing and retail sectors with M&A transactions, disposals, de-mergers and joint ventures. The team is regularly called on handle cross-border M&A and is able to leverage the firm’s national network of tax, property and dispute resolution teams, enabling it to handle a wide range of commercial issues. The team assisted LDC and shareholders of the Property Software Group with the divestment of the latter to Zoopla for £75m, and advised CEGA Solutions on its sale to Charles Taylor Insurance Services. In another highlight, the practice advised Keysource on its sale to Styles&Wood Group for £7m. IKEA, Spring Ventures and Hitachi are also on the client roster. Key figures include Sean Wright, who is overall head of the Milton Keynes, Reading and Solent teams and is well-versed in handling private equity transactions; and Stephen Porter, who leads the team in Southampton and specialises in technology M&A matters. They are assisted by Mark Shepherd, a cross-border corporate transactions expert, and senior associate Tim Moss, who focuses on M&A work. Lynn Knight departed for an in-house counsel position in April 2017.

Excellent on every level’ according to clients, the team at Moore Blatch LLP advises lenders and businesses on data protection matters, private equity investments and shareholders agreements. It advised Adapt Services on its sale to a US purchaser, which involved assisting with the associated warranties and structuring of the transaction. Other highlights included acting for Ardbid on the £57m divestment of its Trustmarque Solutions division to Capita and advising the same client on the £43m sale of Liberata to Outsourcing UK. Other highlights included assisting the shareholders of Opus Telecom and its subsidiary Phipps Communications with the restructuring and sale of the latter to NIX Communications Group. The practice is also able to leverage the firm’s tax and employment teams where necessary. Blue Chip Data Systems, Liberata and Tilney Bestinvest Group are all clients. Roger Bailey leads the practice and specialises in joint ventures as well as M&A work. He is assisted by John Warchus, who focuses on commercial IT and IP matters; Peter Jeffery, who ‘works unbelievably hard and has a very good relationship with his clients’ and is an expert in corporate finance; and Jeremy Over, who is adept at handling capital markets work.

Paris Smith LLP is a major regional player for corporate and commercial work, with extensive experience in high-value disposals, M&A, private equity transactions and capital markets matters. Highlights included advising Diversi Foods on its acquisition of Montana Bakery as well as assisting the shareholders of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists on the company’s divestment of a 75% stake to Pets At Home Group. The team also assisted HPC Healthline with its merger with Polyco, Healthline Medical and Brosch Direct, which involved advising the client on an investing stake from Investec, and acted for Purple Parking on its acquisition of Travel Parking Group, which was financed by a £12.4m term loan facility. Other clients include Associated British Ports, TW Metals and Bowman Power Group. Sean Davies leads the practice and specialises in joint ventures and share option agreements. Other key team members include Jonathon Roy, who focuses on corporate finance and private equity matters and is ‘committed to reaching the best outcome for the client’; M&A specialist Michael Moore, commercial contracts expert Crispin Dick, and Richard Atcherley, who has expertise in the charity sector.

Coffin Mew LLP undertakes a wide variety of corporate and commercial work such as M&A and private equity investments, often acting for lenders and owner-managed businesses. The team advised GetMyFirstJob on its £1m equity investment from City & Guilds and NESTA and assisted Northwood GB on its £22m sale to Belvoir. In another highlight, the practice advised Churches Fire Security on several acquisitions in 2016 including the purchase of Uny Systems Fire Detection. BSN Social Care, KP Snacks and Santander are also clients. The firm also has particular expertise in advising individuals, such as shareholders and business owners, on corporate matters. Amanda Brockwell leads the practice and is recommended alongside firm chairman Nick Gross, who specialises in advising clients in the transport and logistics sectors.

Irwin Mitchell attracts praise for its ‘good understanding of the client’s business’. The team is well-versed in handling M&A transactions, data protection matters and private equity investments. The firm assisted Hendy Group with its acquisition of Lifestyle Motor Group, and advised Genie Care on its sale to Frontier Therapeutics. Other highlights included continuing to advise Greenwich Leisure on multiple issues including gym membership terms and its online booking software renewal terms, as well as assisting Hemming Group with its acquisitions of Alad, Executive Hires News and Executive Hire Show. Forthcastle LLP, Topcon and Sentios Technology are also clients. Practice leader John Riddick is an expert in international corporate and commercial matters, with a particular focus on the Middle East. He is ably supported by Dean Drew, who ‘is good at understanding the key issues’ and who specialises in private equity transactions.

Trethowans LLP is well-versed in handling M&A, divestments, joint ventures and corporate financing issues for clients in the logistics, insurance and technology sectors. The team advised Simmons of Stafford’s shareholders on its sale to Huws Gray, and advised the management team of Lakesmere Group on its multimillion-pound management buyout of the company. In another highlight, the firm assisted the shareholders of HE-MAN Equipment on its sale to HM Holding. Other clients include Kerryfresh, Mail Solutions Group and Saint-Gobain. Mike Watson is noted for his track record in M&A and joint venture transactions; he is recommended alongside corporate finance expert Nick Gent, management buyout specialist Paula Eckton and senior associate Lucy Grey, who focuses on EMI schemes and shareholder matters.

The team at Clarke Willmott LLPhas very good strength in depth, from the partners down’. Management buyouts, joint ventures and private equity transactions are all mainstays of the practice, which frequently advises clients in the technology, finance and telecoms sectors. It assisted Spend360 International with its disposal to US-based buyer Coupa Software, and advised OneCom Group on its acquisition of Evolve Telecom, which involved negotiating funding from lender Lloyds Bank. Buse Gases, Cognia Cloud and Organix Brands are also on the client roster. ‘Go-to lawyer’ Kevin Balmont leads the team and is recommended for corporate structuring matters. He is ably supported by the ‘impressiveRichard Swain, who focuses on joint ventures and company reorganisations, and commercial contracts and projects expert Chidem Aliss.

Pitmans LLPprovides a more personal service than larger firms’ according to clients. Its expertise extends to private equity transactions, joint ventures and management buyouts, acting on behalf of lenders, individuals and businesses. In an M&A highlight, the firm advised Premier Marinas on its acquisition of Noss Marina and assisted Specialist Tours with multiple acquisitions in 2016 including Brightwater Holidays Action Events and Dream Challenges. The team also assisted the shareholders of Technology Networks on the company’s sale to LabX Media Group. Also on the client roster are Wren Sterling, HCR Group and World of Books. Key figures include Sean Kelly, who ‘makes a strong personal commitment to his clients’ and who focuses on M&A work and private equity transactions, and Oliver Kelly, who is an expert in corporate reorganisations.

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Legal Developments in South East for Corporate and commercial: Hampshire

  • 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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