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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South West > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire
  2. Leading individuals
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Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s corporate team provides ‘straightforward and concise advice’ and an ‘excellent all-round service’ to national and international clients. The department is especially active in the Middle East and Africa, and has sector specialisms in aviation, energy and leisure and hospitality. In 2016, department head Richard Norton advised the sellers of Kliklok International on the UK aspects of the $60m sale of the group to Bosch. Norton also acted for A. Tsokkos Hotels on its €500m group restructuring. Adrian Mayer has deep expertise in Africa-facing work and is assisting Kenyan solar energy company M-Kopa on the re-domiciling of its group to the UK. In an example of the group’s national work, Mayer handled the £3m AIM placing for Pennant International Group. Jonathan Morley specialises in corporate finance, and advised Donares Limited on the €65m sale of Novero Group to Laird Plc. On the buy-side, Morley also acted for a private equity client on the high-value acquisition of Parametric Investments. Also recommended are associate Matthew Hobbs, who joined the team from Lyons Davidson, senior associate Edward Robinson, and associate David Clements.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has a full-service corporate and commercial offering, with specialisms in areas such as private equity-backed transactions and corporate finance. The practice is taking on an increasing number of international transactions, including outbound US and Scandinavia-facing work, and inbound and outbound matters with Chinese and Indian players. Practice head Richard Wilkey acted for Direct Online Services Limited on a 10% equity disposal to the Business Growth Fund, which included companies in Czech Republic. Richard Knight has been acting for GR Lane Health Products for more than 20 years, and in 2016 assisted the client with its acquisition of the Pro-Plus brand from Bayer through a competitive auction. Nicolas Groffman, who heads the firm’s international department and has built up a formidable Chinese-facing practice, was part of a cross-disciplinary team advising a UK-based college on a restructuring exercise and on negotiations with potential Chinese investors. Nick Wagstaffe acted on the formation of ProVen Legacy, a venture capital-backed business property relief fund, which involved drafting the client’s prospectus and securing approval by the Financial Conduct Authority.

BPE Solicitors LLP splits its department into separate corporate and commercial teams, the former focusing on corporate acquisitions, fundraisings and flotations, while the latter handles national and international commercial work. Anthony Rudge heads the corporate practice and advised Totally Plc on its £6.75m acquisition of Premier Physical Healthcare and its £7.7m acquisition of About Health. Other clients include Mears Group, Big Sofa Technologies, Concepta and Dotdigital. Tim Ward primarily focuses on M&A, but also advised Howard Tenens on a debt refinancing. On the commercial side, Iain Garfield has advised PCA Predict on a litany of commercial licensing agreements in 2016, and acted for a household name auto manufacturer on the classification under EU law of a prototype device as well as potential routes for getting the product to market. Corporate lawyers Louise Grzasko and Emma Payne joined from Osborne Clarke and Deutsche Bank, respectively, and Zoë Reynolds joined from Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Clark Holt provides a service that is ‘bespoke, personable and relevant, without losing the technical skills around the execution of complex transactions’. Department head Richard Clark, who is deeply experienced in M&A, management buyouts and corporate finance, advised the shareholders of Abritas on its sale to Civica UK. He also acted for the shareholders of Finders Keepers Limited on its sale to Countrywide Estate Agents. Philip Humphreys focuses on corporate finance and is noted for his ability to ‘translate complex legal issues into a language that is understood by clients’. Humphreys acted for the shareholders of Ridgeway Biologicals on the sale of the business to IDT Biologika. Joe Lewis, who joined the firm in 2016 from Bond Dickinson LLP, handles a range of corporate and transactional work, and acted for Overark Limited on an investment into the group by Asta Underwriting. Jeff Jenkins acted for the shareholders of Koh Thai on the company’s management buyout.

Royds Withy King is singled out for its ‘particularly strong offering in relation to owner-managed, private equity-backed and smaller quoted businesses’. A recent merger with Royds significantly strengthened the corporate team, positioning them to extend their geographic reach both within the UK and internationally. The group has strong sector focuses in technology, health care and financial services, where the firm handles high-value transactions for clients such as HSBC. The ‘experienced and responsiveKatharine Mortimer advised the sellers of Applicable Limited on its sale to Arkadin. James Worrall (a ‘knowledgeable young solicitor with a mature approach’) is advising Bath City Football Club on its proposed takeover of Bath City Supporters Society. Healthcare sector specialist Hazel Phillips, who joined the firm from Burroughs Day LLP, advised on a corporate transaction involving international elements. David Cavaliero retired in 2016.

Thrings LLP’s corporate department is well known for its work for corporates and owner-managed businesses in the healthcare, financial services and engineering and aerospace sectors. The team, which has experience of third-party funding and highly active in mid-market M&A, is jointly headed by John Davies, who acted for the shareholders of T Brewer & Co on the sale of the business to FTSE-250 company Grafton Group. On the buy-side, Davies advised Procurri UK – a subsidiary of international company DeClout – on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of EAF Supply Chain Holdings. Simon Hore assisted the shareholders of Banks Accountants Limited with its sale to RSM, a global accountancy practice, and advised Wasdell Packaging on its acquisition of Shire Acquisitions UK. Senior partner Jonathan Payne jointly heads the corporate team and advised on a large cross-border share transaction in 2016. Additional clients include Arkell’s Brewery, HSBC, World Fuel Services Europe and Yuasa Battery UK.

The ‘knowledgeable, meticulous and extremely personable’ lawyers at Willans LLP provide corporate and transactional advice to clients in the technology, telecoms and manufacturing sectors; the group also has particular expertise in the charities space. Paul Symes-Thompson, who is known for providing ‘client-focused advice’, acted for the shareholders of Blueberry Wave in connection with the sale of a 26% stake in the company to Veriteva. Symes-Thompson was also involved in the establishment and funding of Abbeyserve Limited, a new company formed by two veterinary practices to acquire Abbey Vets in Derby. The ‘experiencedTheresa Grech handles a wide-range of corporate and commercial matters and was involved in the management buyout of CGT Lettings and Tewkesbury Residential Lettings. Grech, who has extensive experience of commercial contracts, advised Cheltenham Festivals on a variety of commercial sponsorship agreements. Kate Hickey left for Harrison Clark Rickerbys, and senior associate Caroline Leviss joined the department from Stone King LLP in 2016.

Lodders Solicitors LLP is an ‘excellent firm’ whose Cheltenham office acts for a range of corporates and investors across the South West. The ‘pragmatic’ Stephen Thomas, whose key strengths include ‘relaying complex legal matters in a practical way’, specialises in financial services and the software and IT sectors. He advised the shareholders of SWAT Holdings on its multimillion-pound sale to Wilmington. Buy-side highlights included acting for a longstanding client on its acquisition of a pensions business from a household name. Thomas also advised a tech company on an investment made by a private equity business, and acted for an investor on its investment in a Romanian start-up.

Mogers Drewett LLP’s corporate and commercial group acts for a range of SMEs and business owners in the tech, media and IT sectors, in addition to handling matters related to the hospitality, leisure and food and drink industries. The team, which is led by M&A specialist Tom Webb, acted for a business owner in relation to the £5m merger of Elitebet Kenya Limited with Oxygen 8 East Africa. In another highlight, Webb acted alongside associate Emily Eccles for the shareholders of Property Solutions (UK) Limited on its sale to Bellrock. On the investment side, Webb and Eccles assisted a coffee business with a first-round investment by a London fund and several individual investors.

The corporate and commercial group at Stone King LLP specialises in advising clients in the charity and education sectors, but also acts for a wider variety of commercial clients across the South West. Miguel Pereira leads the corporate and commercial department and advised Hussey Seatway on the company’s shareholders’ agreement and the buyback of shares from one of its founding shareholders; this transaction required a structure that accommodated both UK and US based shareholders. Pereira also acted for the shareholders of a Bath-based financial services company on its merger with another local company, following the demerger and reorganisation of the client’s business. Laura Giles is also recommended.

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