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DLA Piper UK LLP’s two-partner team includes head of finance Stephen Bottley, who is ‘very knowledgeable in terms of LMA positions’, and real estate finance specialist Brian Woolcock. In a standout deal, Bottley advised HSBC and Lloyds on financing the MBO of Gateley Plc, which facilitated its IPO. The team benefits from the firm’s international reach and, as well as advising all the main UK banks, counts Deutsche Bank and Silicon Valley Bank among its clients.

Eversheds LLP’s practice has an ‘extensive breadth of legal expertise and a comprehensive grasp of key business/transaction drivers’. Head of practice Patrick Davis specialises in multi-lender corporate refinancing work and acquisition finance, and advised Lloyds Development Capital on the debt finance required for the acquisition of the NEC Group. Newly appointed partner Richard Davies leads on real estate finance.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice covers the full spectrum of banking work, including syndicated lending, real estate finance, acquisition and leveraged finance, and asset-based lending. The team advised RBS, HSBC and Santander on their new £160m syndicated revolving credit facility to Clinigen Group in connection with the acquisition of Idis Group. Practice head David Doogan, and national head of asset-backed finance and debt capital markets Edward Sunderland, are the names to note.

At Gateley Plc, Andrew Madden is regularly involved in complex structured finance and corporate lending matters, including leveraged buyouts, project finance and restructuring. Senior associate James Dyson specialises in banking and debt restructuring transactions.

Gowling WLG’s practice handles finance in a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, social housing and insurance. Chris Brierleyunderstands the bigger picture’; recent work for him includes advising HSBC on providing £26m of loan facilities to a borrower to acquire 200 Domino’s pizza franchises. Principal associate Navin Prabhakar is commended for his ‘thoroughness and attention to detail’. The team is led from London by Kirsty Barnes.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘very good knowledge across the ABL market’ was in evidence once again, with the team working on numerous transactions, including advising Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance on providing £60m in lending facilities to Spicers and OfficeTeam. Jon Bew and senior associate Natalie Barnes ‘bring a very rounded and detailed resource to the deal team’.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘proactive’ team is led by Naomi Tudor and Vicki Simpson, with Mohammed Saqub taking charge of real estate finance. Tudor has particular sector experience in charities and education and wins plaudits for ‘efficiency and working to tight deadlines’. Simpson specialises in acting for challenger banks on real estate finance matters. The team assisted Dudley College of Technology with its £20m refinancing and restructuring package from Santander.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice scores highly for ‘response times and business acumen’ and is particularly strong for real estate finance. The ‘practical and approachableDavid Adams heads the team and was active on a number of multimillion-pound financings, including advising RBS on the facilities provided in connection with the acquisition of the steel division of EDS by Arc Specialist Engineering. James Needham specialises in real estate finance.

At Squire Patton Boggs, newly promoted partner Roy Grist ‘represents himself well in the local market place and always provides appropriate advice’. Highlights included advising RBS and Lloyds in connection with the merger of Shakespeares and SGH Martineau, and assisting Ranc Care Homes with a £24m restructuring of its property portfolio and attendant restructuring of its funding arrangements with Barclays.

Paul Ray and Emma Hinton at Browne Jacobson LLP divide their time between the firm’s Birmingham and Nottingham offices and handle an even split of lender and borrower work. The team was particularly active in the healthcare sector and advised Yorkshire Bank on the refinancing of Heathcotes Group. Key clients include Lloyds, HCAI and Finance Birmingham.

At DWF, practice head Alice Broadfield is ‘highly experienced and has a good understanding of loan facility agreements and market norms’. The team has handled financing and refinancing arrangements for borrower and lender clients.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s practice is led by Hugh Strickland, who was active on a number of significant refinancings for Santander.

Brethertons LLP’s team focuses on real estate finance and has particular expertise acting for lenders and borrowers in relation to large property redevelopment schemes, care homes, healthcare centres and hotels. Mary Anderson is the key contact.

Principal associate David Varnham is in charge at Mills & Reeve LLP and advises lenders and borrowers on secured and unsecured corporate lending, real estate finance, acquisition finance and project finance.

Wright Hassall LLP’s practice has particular expertise in social housing funding, real estate development funding and financial restructuring work. Key players are head of practice Keith Ainsworth and senior associate Christopher Jones, who ‘gives good guidance on commercial property finance agreements’.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Banking and finance

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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