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DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘wide professional skillset and flexibility in providing additional resources at short notice is a key advantage’. The five-partner team, which includes UK head Charles Cook and Birmingham team leader Noel Haywood, was once again active on a wide range of cross-border matters, including advising Longway Trading on the €285m sale of its Cyprus subsidiary, Mountain Peak Trading, to Adler Real Estate. Other key players are John Campion, who has particular expertise in the technology sector, and the ‘strong, pragmatic’ Tim Lake, who advised on various local deals, including assisting Tattershall Castle Group with the disposal of its business and assets to Stonegate Pub Company. Private equity specialist James Lavery acted for the institutional shareholders of Stadco on its sale to Magna Automotive Europe.

Eversheds LLP’s ‘impressive’ team provides major global corporates and significant local businesses with a complete range of advice, including assistance with equity capital markets and private equity deals. An array of transactions included Sue Lewis advising Lloyds Development Capital on its £307m purchase of NEC Group from Birmingham City Council, and head of department Keri Rees and Steven Hacking assisting Eurocell with its £175m main market IPO. In other highlights, ‘great deal-makerMark Beardmore advised the Daisy Group management team on its £494m public-to-private buyout of the company. The team was further developed by the hire of Nigel Cooke from DLA Piper UK LLP.

Gowling WLG’s industry strengths include technology, real estate and the public sector. Notable clients include the Business Growth Fund, Southco and Birmingham City Council, the last of which David Vaughan advised on the £307m sale of the NEC Group to Lloyds Development Capital. The highly rated Jeremy Millington advised VIRTUS Data Centres on its acquisition of Slough-based Infinity SDC’s West London data centre, while Andrew Lawton Smith, who focuses on entrepreneurs and family businesses, assisted Riviera Travel with a significant investment made into the company by Phoenix Equity Partners. Baljit Chohan heads the team.

At Gateley Plc, equity capital markets specialist Paul Cliff advised the firm on its £100m IPO and conversion to a PLC – the first UK public listing by a law firm. Tom Durrant heads the practice and represented Jacopa and its management team in the cross-border MBO of the municipal arm of Ovivo, while CEO Michael Ward advised the Business Growth Fund on its equity investment in Prodrive Composites. Chris Reed is ‘very knowledgeable about the owner and private equity managed business environment’.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s strength in the healthcare sector was once again in evidence, with practice head Julian Smith advising Tenet Healthcare on its £145m acquisition of Aspen Healthcare. In another key deal, Peter McLintock acted for all of the shareholders of 99p Stores in the £55m sale of the company to Poundland Group. Healthcare specialist Rhian Vandrill arrived from Gowling WLG and ‘calm and thoughtful’ outsourcing specialist Jayne Hussey joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Paul Harkin’s team includes technology specialist Andrew Hornigold and Nicole Livesey, who has particular expertise in the manufacturing sector. The team assisted Magellan Aerospace with its share acquisition of Euravia Engineering, and it advised Optare and its major shareholder, Ashok Leyland, on the delisting of the company from AIM. On the commercial side, Clare Francis assisted the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner with designing the procurement process for a major IT project.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP delivers a ‘punctual and thorough service by providing all facts and risks in a clear, defined way’. The team was active on numerous transactions, including practice head Richard Wrigley advising the shareholders of HL Plastics on the £95m sale of the company to Quanex Building Products, and Keith Spedding assisting Ansell with the £59m acquisition of Microgard. Kavita Patelprovides creative solutions’ for private equity transactions.

At Shoosmiths LLP, the ‘technically very good’ Martin Letza, who heads the practice, followed up the 2014 IPO of BCA Marketplace by acting for the client in its £43m acquisition of SMA Vehicle Remarketing. In another deal, Letza advised Thorntons on its £112m sale to Ferholding. Ben Turner worked a number of cross-border transactions, including advising Indutrade on its acquisition of Adaero Precision Components; on the private equity side, Alastair Peet was active on behalf of key client Octopus Investments. David Jackson leads on commercial work.

Squire Patton Boggs was successful in securing a number of new clients, including Marston’s, for which it acted on the £25m acquisition of the trading operation of Thwaites’ beer division. The practice was also enhanced by the hire of Andrew Glaze from SGH Martineau. One particular area of expertise is equity capital markets, and the team was once again active in the space, with Edward Dawes advising Numis Securities as nominated adviser and broker on the AIM IPO of Hunters Property. Geoff Perry heads the corporate team, while on the commercial side Stuart James’ expertise ranges from international sales and distribution agreements to consumer debt sale and management agreements.

Nottingham-based Gavin Cummings heads the practice at Browne Jacobson LLP, where the team ‘consistently provides sound advice’. Kevin Jones has strong expertise in the telematics sector and advised Box Innovation Group on the sale of part of its shareholding to Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company of Europe, and the ‘skilled and technicalMike Jackson was active on a number of equity fundraisings for main market and AIM listed clients. Other names to note are Roger Birchall and commercial specialist Richard Nicholas.

At Clarke Willmott LLP, Andrew Beedham has a particular specialism in advising on and facilitating complex private company sales and purchases, including management buy-ins, buy-outs and joint ventures.

At DWF, Mark Gibson’s team continued to develop its expertise in the manufacturing sector by acting for Nord-Lock International on the acquisition of Boltight. Gibson is often involved in deals with a cross-border component and, in one highlight, advised the management team of ARM Holdings on the £95m sale of the group to Nissha Printing. Key clients include Park Holidays and Utopia Furniture.

Lee Clifford’s team at Freeths has developed a strong reputation in the private equity sphere and handled a sizeable volume of transactions in this area, including advising Lloyds Development Capital on its £20m purchase of Away Resorts from Close Brothers. In another deal, Clifford advised the management team of Santia Holdings on the £47m sale of Better Capital’s interest to Alcumus. Tom Brown was busy on behalf of key client Funeral Partners.

Hill Hofstetter provides ‘on-point advice’ under the leadership of ‘very good problem-solver’ Chris Hill. Zanna Patchett handled a number of acquisitions in the healthcare sector, and Graham Muth, who specialises in advising professional services business on M&A and restructuring, advised a global energy and environment company on a major transaction. Commercial specialist Jane Thomas is ‘great at managing other parties’ lawyers to keep negotiations on track’. Peter Seary left for Roythornes Solicitors.

Irwin Mitchell continued to make inroads in the mid-market M&A space, advising Sunrise Medical Holdings on its acquisition of RGK Wheelchairs and Lexon on the acquisition of Norchem. Key players in the corporate team are national practice head Chris Rawstron and Nick Dawson, who leads in Birmingham; on the commercial side, Sarah Riding advises clients such as National Grid and the British Chambers of Commerce.

The Wilkes Partnership’s four-partner team is led by Gareth O’Hara, who handles a range of work for private equity and corporate clients, including Business Growth Fund and PPS Equipment Holdings. In one recent highlight, O’Hara advised the executive board on the management buyout of Lee Longlands.

Weightmans LLP expertise in healthcare, not-for-profit and public sector work has been broadened by the arrival of Mathew Harvey, who joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP; Harvey specialises in advising clients operating in the automotive manufacturing supply chain. Other names to note are Manchester-based head of practice Paul Raftery and Gareth Griffiths, who is ‘widely experienced in M&A’.

Name partners Greg Emms and Stephen Gilmore lead the corporate team at Emms Gilmore Liberson Solicitors, which provides a full range of business advice. Areas of expertise include equity fund raising and shareholder and partnership agreements.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s John Irving has particular expertise in commercial contracts and provides ‘prompt and useful advice, especially on distribution agreements’. On the corporate side, Irving advised an investment company on the acquisition of a 50% shareholding in a frozen foods manufacturer.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Corporate and commercial: Birmingham

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    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.

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