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United Kingdom > South East > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Greg Leyshon - Osborne Clarke
    • Andrew Peddie - Pitmans LLP

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘strong team’ is singled out for its ability to deliver ‘very thoughtful responses, a good perspective on issues and fast response times’. The group has been highly active in the technology and private equity spaces; highlights included acting for Maven Capital Partners and Mobeus Equity Partners, as well as individual management members, on a high-value disposal of Westway Service Holdings. The group also advised The Mission Marketing Group on its acquisition of Chapter Agency. Corporate practice head Michael Stace splits his time between Oxford and Reading and has strong M&A expertise, while Reading-based Alison Patten-Hall leads the commercial team. Also recommended are Guy Constant, who acts for clients in the health sector, and Penny Rinta-Suksi, who regularly advises on commercial contracts.

Freeths’ ‘high-calibre team’ is noted for its ‘swift, efficient management of the transaction process’. Corporate head Leon Arnold is ‘an exceptional lawyer who ticks all the boxes’ and ‘fully understands the client’s business’; Arnold recently acted for the shareholders of Oxford Technologies on the sale of shares to Kurion, and advised the shareholders of Two Circles on the sale of a majority stake to WPP. Malcolm Sadler’s clients include Adestra, The Brunsdon Family and Oxford Cryosystems.

Osborne Clarke provides ‘a high quality of service at Reading rates’ and is noted for its international expertise, along with its strength in the digital business, financial services and real estate sectors. Highlights included advising Funding Circle on its $150m equity fundraising; acting for Majestic Wine on its £70m acquisition of Naked Wines; and assisting Lloyds Development Capital with its £500m disposal of United House Developments. M&A expert Sara Valentine heads the corporate practice, with Russell Bowyer focusing on commercial work. Private equity partners Greg Leyshon, Robert Wood and James Massy-Collier are also recommended.

Clients of Shoosmiths LLP cite its ‘personalised approach’ as well as its ‘willingness to take the time to understand the client’s industry,’ as key factors in its success. Department head Emma Gibson handles private equity, venture capital and M&A work, and recently advised Magma Global on a £40m funding round involving the introduction of a new investor. Paul de Vince is the key contact for commercial matters. Adam Dowdney joined IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) in April 2016.

Boyes Turner stands out for its ‘knowledgeable, researched responses’ and for its ‘good understanding of the client’s business requirements’. The firm has a strong client base within the IT, media and transport sectors; commercial and technology head Mark Blunden has acted for Panasonic, Ampegon and EPossibilities on various cross-border corporate and transactional matters. Highlights for Bill Gornall-King included advising the National Association of Goldsmiths on governance and compliance issues. Senior associate Sarah Williamson is also recommended.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP advises on the full gamut of transactional matters, and practice head Penelope Garden has notable expertise in private equity and venture capital work. The firm acted for Thames Valley Capital on its £1.5m acquisition of Real Engineering, and advised the management of Whistl on its management buyout. Jeremy Parkes and Ian Wood-Smith advise corporate clients on high-value transactions.

Penningtons Manches LLP has a particular focus on the technology, life sciences, media and publishing sectors, advising clients on M&A and on all stages of the equity investment cycle. Will Axtell acted for Bush & Co Rehabilitation on the £28m sale of share capital to NAHL Group, and Rob Hayes advised Veryan Holdings on an £18m fundraising by a syndicate of international investors. Simon Bickerdike heads the corporate practice, which includes technology expert Nicola McConville, who recently joined from Blake Morgan LLP.

White & Black Limited combines ‘excellent value for money’ with ‘strong business acumen and a wide breadth of expertise’. Practice co-heads Phil Riman and John Allen advised Fresh Holdings on its private equity-backed joint venture with Brakes, and Riman is also acting for an e-commerce business on a range of mandates, including two funding rounds and mezzanine debt totalling £45m. The group’s strong technology practice acts for clients including Concorde Software, Data Certainty and The Numerical Algorithms Group.

Herrington Carmichael LLP stands out for its ‘unique blend of industry knowledge and experience, as well as its in-depth knowledge of the client’s business’. Practice head Yavan Brar is ‘knowledgeable, reliable and quick to respond’, and is recommended alongside the ‘commercially astuteMark Chapman. The practice has acted on numerous cross-border deals for a client base that includes financial services companies such as Metro Bank and Ascot Lloyd Financial Services.

Pitmans LLP advised on numerous acquisitions and disposals throughout 2015, and has notable strength in the banking, automotive and technology sectors. Andrew Peddie has strong expertise in joint ventures, equity fundraisings and reorganisations, alongside transactional M&A, and Roger Gregory has significant cross-border experience for clients across Europe and the US. Highlights included acting for the sellers of ITP Group and its subsidiaries. Other clients include Starflight Aviation, Ridgeway Group and New York Bakery Company.

At Blandy & Blandy LLP, practice head David Few acted for the shareholders of Stontronics on its £6.5m sale to Stadium Group, which involved a preliminary group restructuring. Few also advised Lloyds Bank on a loan to Wharton Park Golf and Country Club. Nick Burrows and Debbie Brett, who head the charity and IP practices, respectively, advise on a variety of corporate, commercial and contentious matters.

At Clarkslegal LLPAshan Arif advises a wide range of clients on private equity, M&A, restructurings and asset finance, among other matters. Highlights for Jon Chapman included acting for OASIS on its acquisition of a company based in the North East of the UK. Carillion, Laser SA and the University of Reading are also clients.

Gardner Leader LLP’s team ‘exceeds all expectations’. Key figures include Emma Ladd, who is ‘extremely good with SMEs and partnership conflict’; practice head Greg Humphreys, who specialises in property work; and Richard Buckeridge, who advises on various acquisitions and disposals. Highlights included advising JEB Europe on a new distribution arrangement.

Headed by ‘outstanding commercial lawyerJohn Spratt, Spratt Endicott’s practice provides ‘accurate and timely advice’ and ‘always seeks to understand the client’s objectives’. Hitendra Patel’s expertise spans M&A, joint ventures, franchises and insolvency. Kärcher (UK) and De Boer Group are key clients.

Royds Withy King’s Richard Baxter has substantial experience in high-value M&A, and has also advised on numerous insolvencies and restructurings. Associate Rishi Ladwa is the other key contact. Clients include HSBC, InvestUK, Oxford Ventures and Bespoke Distribution Aviation.

Brethertons LLP is noted for its ‘commercial approach to transactions’, and for its ability to ‘accommodate the needs of local businesses’. IT and technology-focused Brian Auld is the key figure.

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors stands out for its ‘thorough responses, good value for money’, and for its ‘attentiveness’. Bill Annan has ‘great depth of knowledge’, and Barry Niven is an ‘expert problem-solver with extensive knowledge’.

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