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Corporate and commercial: Bristol

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Bristol
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Burges Salmon LLP stands ‘toe to toe with London firms’. It regularly advises on cross-border transactions for clients in the leisure, healthcare and financial services sectors, and in 2015 acted on a number of big-ticket acquisitions for clients in the energy sector. Practice head Richard Spink is praised for his ‘good negotiation skills’; he leads the ten-partner team, which includes Camilla Usher-Clark, whose ‘level of insight to both broader market norms as well as the minutiae of each individual transaction is excellent’. Mark Shepherd, Chris Godfrey and Nick Graves are also highly recommended.

Outstanding in every way’, Osborne Clarke’s team is headed by Alisdair Livingstone and is praised for its ‘extremely pragmatic approach and responsiveness’. David Ferris led the team advising RWE Innogy on the sale of a 50% stake in the Triton Knoll offshore wind farm to Statkraft and the negotiation of associated joint venture agreements. Mark Wesker is ‘extremely commercial in his approach’. Tim Simmonds, Conrad Davies and Emily Jones are also recommended.

The lawyers at TLT are ‘diligent, knowledgeable and creative in trying to find specific solutions’. Highlights for the practice included Jon Gill’s advice to the shareholders of Sub10 Systems on its merger with Fastback Networks; and Andrew Webber’s advice to Francis Flower on its acquisition of a blast-furnace slag plant from Hanson Cement. Retail specialist and ‘first-rate lawyer’ Perran Jervis has assisted with a number of high-profile outsourcing transactions. John wood and Bill Hull are also highly recommended.

The ‘knowledgeable and extremely professional’ Andrew Betteridge leads Ashfords LLP’s team, which is praised for its ‘very high level of service’ and focuses on advising clients in the tech, retail and energy sectors. In 2015 it advised Eden Ventures on a syndicated £19m investment round in NewVoiceMedia. Chris Dyson and Rory Suggett are ‘diligent and very commercial’.

At Bond Dickinson LLP, Simon Hewes and Tom Fitzpatrick have experience in M&A and private equity, with a particular focus in the energy, and oil and gas sectors for clients including Vitol, Piper PE, Greenergy International and Zennor Petroleum. The team also acted for Willis on the disposal of RH Specialist Insurance to Hiscox.

Recent highlights for DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team include advising Partnerships in Care on a number of acquisitions, and acting for SunEdison on the acquisition of five solar projects. National corporate head John Williams and James Reed are the names to note.

Jonathan Oddy’s team at Foot Anstey assisted Succession Group with seven big-ticket acquisitions, and is advising financial services sector clients on issues relating to cybersecurity. Other clients include Jelf Group, the Department of Health and the Business Growth Fund. Ed Bodey is ‘a trusted adviser and a pleasure to work with’. Commercial partner Martin Cuell is a key name in the TMT and IP space.

Boutique commercial firm Roxburgh Milkins LLP acts for a range of clients, from large international businesses to start-up and owner-managed companies. The team advised Curtis Bank Group on its admission to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Key figures include Jason Milkins, Richard Hopkins, Bruce Roxburgh and Charles van der Lande, who specialises in advising private equity investors on buyouts and investments as well as on sales and purchases of private companies.

Simon Smith at Clarke Willmott LLP led on several key transactions, including O&H’s £20.7m disposal of O&H Northampton. Practice head Simon Thomas has notable experience in private equity and AIM transactions and counts Eduko Education as his client.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards has a strong track record on corporate transactions in the education sector. Robert Collier and Doug Locke head the corporate and commercial teams, respectively, which act for clients including Great Western Regional Capital, Essilor International and Tudor Rose International. Nathan Guest is ‘an exceptional relationship builder’, and Anthony Young is noted for his ‘practical and commercial advice’.

Thrings LLP’s team includes the highly regarded Jane Oakland and Mike Tomlin, who ‘makes the effort to clearly understand what the client is looking to achieve’. The team has a strong track record advising regional owner-managed businesses and family companies.

Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire
  2. Leading individuals

2015 was a banner year for Lester Aldridge LLP, which saw the department gain a number of new clients including C4L Group Holdings, International Currency Exchange and Langham Industries. The ‘approachable and pragmaticGrant Esterhuizen has particular expertise advising clients in the software development, licensing, manufacturing and export sectors. David Ashplant and healthcare specialist Susan Cowan are also recommended.

Tim Stone and Craig Hardman at Steele Raymond LLP are ‘strong commercially, with a can-do attitude’. The team acted for the selling shareholders in the disposal and management buyout of BOFA International.

Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF’s six-strong team is led by the ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ Sam Freeman. In 2015, it advised on a management buyout, a portfolio disposal, a share disposal and an acquisition.

At Wilsons, Stephen Whitmore advises charitable and not-for-profit companies on commercial contracts, and an increasing number of media companies on corporate matters.

Neil Cook at Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has ‘a great understanding of how care home sector clients want their commercial work undertaken’.

At Frettens LLP, Matthew Fretten is noted for his sports sector expertise, and counts AFC Bournemouth as a client.

Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP fields a number of corporate finance experts including Richard Norton and Adrian Mayer, who have particular expertise in Middle East and Africa-related matters, respectively. Clients of the practice include SuperGroup, BMI Regional and Capeview Capital.

Harrison Clark Rickerbysfirst-class’ team is ‘highly responsive and always prepared to go the extra mile’. Private equity specialist Richard Wilkey heads the three-partner team, which includes the highly regarded Nick Wagstaffe and Richard Knight. Its expertise spans the full range of corporate and private equity transactions, including share disposals and management buyouts.

BPE Solicitors LLP acts for a number of AIM and LSE-listed companies including React Group, APC Technology Group and SBC Renewables. Anthony Rudge and Iain Garfield head the corporate and commercial teams, respectively. The ‘knowledgeable and down-to-earth’ Tim Ward assisted longstanding client Mears Group with its acquisition of the homecare division of Care UK.

Clark Holt is noted for its ‘good knowledge of the client’s industry’. The team, which includes corporate finance specialist Richard Clark and commercial practitioner Jeremy Holt, advises on a wide range of matters including data protection and IP rights.

Clients of Royds Withy King praise its ‘effective, one-team approach’, ‘understanding of client’s requirements and objectives’, and ‘tailored solutions’. David Cavaliero leads the team, which acts for owner-managed businesses, and public and private equity owned companies. It is particularly strong in handling transactions between £2m and £15m.

At Thrings LLP, the well-regarded John Davies assisted the shareholders of Mainline Employment with the sale of the company to First Holdings. Jonathan Payne and Bath-based Alex Pyatt are also recommended.

At Willans LLP, Theresa Grech and Paul Symes-Thompson are ‘very knowledgeable on corporate matters and display first-class commercial awareness’. Recent highlights include assisting on a capital reduction transaction as part of a demerger.

Lodders Solicitors LLP’s team saw the arrival of Steve Thomas from Maitland Walker LLP in June 2015; his track record includes assisting clients with share capital acquisitions and setting up new businesses.

Stone King LLP acts for a number of charity and education clients, as well as local businesses. Highlights included advising the Institute of Financial Planning on the transfer of its business to the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments. Caroline Leviss is the key contact.

Corporate and commercial: The West Country

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: The West Country
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Ashfords LLP’s sizeable team acted for Pennon Group on the £100m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Bournemouth Water. Louise Workman heads the corporate team in which Stuart Mathews and IP specialists Mark Lomas and Carl Steele are all highly recommended. Other clients include Pipex px, Sensus and Viridor.

At Foot Anstey, Chris Worrell led the team advising Succession Group on a number of share capital and asset acquisitions. In another highlight, private equity specialist Matthew Stoate advised longstanding client 90 North Real Estate Partners on an offshore equity structuring to facilitate a residential development.

Michelmores LLP has particular strength in private equity and equity capital markets matters. In 2015 Ian Holyoak (who is ‘excellent at identifying practical solutions to complex problems’) advised Ducalian Capital on fund incorporation and funding rounds for its investments. Practice head Richard Cobb, Stephen Morse and Alexandra Watson are also recommended.

At Murrell Associates, the ‘commercially-minded’ Chris Wills advised an investor in a wind energy project on the sale of part of its shareholding. Hugh Murrell is ‘one of the most astute commercial lawyers in the region’.

James Eveling leads the team at OTB Eveling, which acts for owner-managed businesses and SMEs.

Stephens Scown LLP is particularly strong in the renewable energy, and mines and minerals sectors, where it acts for a client base of SMEs and family businesses. The team advised Wolf Minerals on a number of high-value transactions. James Keliher heads the team, which includes Gavin Poole, Simon Morris and Christian Wilson.

Dominic Hollingsworth’s team at Kitsons LLP has particular expertise in the leisure and care sectors.

Brian Maxwell’s team at Porter Dodson LLP handled a number of share sale transactions. Evelyn Adfield is also recommended.

Solicitors Title LLP’s practice has particular expertise in the technology and media sectors. Richard James has ‘both the knowledge and experience to equal that of any London corporate firm; a rare find’.

Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Burges Salmon LLP regularly advises on the tax aspects of corporate restructurings, property transactions and investment fund investments for clients including FirstGroup, UBS AG and Lumina Real Estate Capital. Nigel Popplewellpitches at a level where the client clearly understands both the tax implications and its interaction with the wider commercial implications of a transaction’. The ‘technically competentJohn Barnett is also recommended.

Osborne Clarke’s highly regarded corporate tax practice advises on complex structuring issues as well as transactional matters. Michael Bell is ‘good at solving problems in a pragmatic way’, and acted for Progressive Digital Media Group on the tax aspects of its proposed reorganisation. Consultant Philip Moss has notable experience in property tax work. Erika Jupe is also recommended.

Angus Bauer’s team at Ashfords LLP has significant experience advising overseas companies on issuing qualifying SEIS and EIS shares to UK investors. Recent work includes advising on stamp duty, land tax and VAT structuring issues arising from large-scale transactions.

At Foot Anstey, John Pindard has particular expertise advising on corporate reorganisations, commercial property transactions and employment-related taxation. Clients include UBM, Odeon Cinemas and The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Brian Garner leads Michelmores LLP’s team, which assisted Aero Stanrew with the sale of its shares to TT Electronics.

TLT advises on the tax aspects of M&A transactions, and has particular expertise in employment tax, pension tax and capital gains tax. New clients include Southern Housing, Smart Transactions and Next Energy. Ben Watson and London-based Nathan Williams are the names to note.

The ‘knowledgeable’ Ronan Lowney at Bond Dickinson LLP has particular knowledge of tax issues related to the offshore petroleum industry. Clients include Piper Private Equity, Chemring Group and Zennor Energy.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ tax team advises on VAT and stamp duty for charity and education sector clients. Emma Bradley is the main contact.

EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Laura Claydon leads Burges Salmon LLP’s practice, which acted for FirstGroup on the merger control aspects of its bid for the TransPennine Express franchise including pre-notification negotiation with the Competition and Markets Authority.

At Maitland Walker LLP, name partner Julian Maitland-Walker is highly regarded for his knowledge of contentious and non-contentious matters and for his particular expertise in damages claims, IP disputes and issues relating to free movement in the field of pharmaceuticals. Recent highlights include assisting a US client with a tender concerning the procurement for a major waste recycling plant, and acting for the claimant in Eventech v Transport for London, which involved the application of EU rules on the freedom to provide services, equal treatment and state aid to TfL’s discriminatory bus lane policy.

Osborne Clarke’s practice was bolstered by the arrival of cartels and state aid specialist Marc Shrimpling from Foot Anstey in November 2015. The team has significant experience in merger control, and an established reputation advising on competition issues arising from distribution agreements. Clients include TalkTalk, Dell and Dyson. Also recommended are Simon Neill (who stands out for his ‘pragmatic and client-friendly approach’) and Catherine Wolfenden.

TLT’s team, led by Miles Trower, is praised for its ‘in-depth understanding of competition law’. In a recent highlight, Trower acted for the National Franchised Dealers Association before the European Commission in connection with the CARS 2020 and GEAR 2030 projects, which involve proposed industry codes of conduct and initiatives to promoted competitiveness in the automotive industry. Bill Hull (who is singled out for his ‘ability to capture the essence of the client’s aspirations’) advised Energy Saving Trust on state aid issues in relation to the Local Energy Challenge Fund.

Elizabeth Gibson at Ashfords LLP is ‘a first-class legal leader in procurement’. Highlights for the practice included advising a number of local councils on state aid compliance and structuring transactions, and acting for Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council on the Fastershire programme.

Michelmores LLP’s client roster includes public sector organisations, central and local government bodies, and educational institutions. Jason Phelps is ‘excellent’ and ‘knows how to explain complex competition law issues in a practical and easy-to-understand way’.

Foot Anstey has particular expertise in EU state aid law. James Falle heads the team, which was joined in November 2015 by ‘knowledgeable’ senior associate Nicola Kingaby from an in-house role. Marc Shrimpling joined Osborne Clarke.

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