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The team at DLA Piper UK LLP is led by Richard May and Roger Gough on the corporate and commercial sides, respectively, and has had an active year in M&A mandates at local, national and international levels. Rob McKie acted for Lloyds Pharmacy on its £125m conditional acquisition of the in-house and hospital pharmacy businesses of Sainsbury’s. Other clients include Zilkha Biomass, AvantiGas and The Miller Group. The department also handles equity capital markets work, and has expertise in the manufacturing, healthcare and mining sectors. Jon Kenworthy moved to the firm’s London office.

HLW Keeble Hawson focuses primarily on M&A and corporate transactions for regional clients including Pressure Technologies, ELG Haniel Metals and Ekspan. Nick Goulding led advice to the shareholders of Acorn Industrial Services Group on the sale of its issued share capital to AX Industries, and advised Yorkshire Repak’s shareholders in an MBO. Roger Dyson leads the practice, which includes managing partner Paul Trudgill.

The ‘excellent’ team at Irwin Mitchellworks to a consistently high standard’ and ‘makes the customer feel valued and important’. Highlights included advising MAM Software Group on its acquisition of Origin Software Solutions. The ‘extremely responsiveMatt Ainsworth acted for the shareholders of JB Kind on an MBO. Laurence Gavin is recommended for commercial mandates. Andrea Cropley joined Squire Patton Boggs's Manchester office in May 2017.

Nabarro LLP has ‘a focused team that provides a level of responsiveness and attention to detail that always beats expectations’. Ben Hendry leads the practice and has significant experience in the technology sector; the firm is also strong in infrastructure, healthcare and real estate matters. Gareth Saynor led advice to the seller on the sale of Octavian Continental to CE Facilities Services.

The ‘professional, thorough and approachable’ team at Bell & Buxton provides ‘quality legal advice, while maintaining a friendly approach’. Led by the ‘meticulous’ Alex Ross, the department recently gained strength on the commercial side in Emma Digby, who joined the practice following the firm’s merger with CLL Solicitors in 2015. Richard Morton is also recommended.

Freeths’ corporate team was established in 2015 following the arrival of Peter Crawford and solicitor Lisa Wallis from Taylor & Emmet LLP. Clients include The Floow Limited, SCX Limited and Arkote Limited, which the firm recently advised on its acquisition of the issued share capital of Hardy UK.

Taylor & Emmet LLP’s practice is led by Neil Large following Peter Crawford’s departure to Freeths. Large joined the firm in 2015, and recently acted for Accent Wire Group on its acquisition of Penistone Wire.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited has a strong regional M&A workload; highlights for John Baddeley included advising the management team of Red Industries on an MBO, and assisting Spencer Coatings Group with its acquisition of the Independent Coatings Group. Duncan Shepherd leads the ‘highly competent’ practice.

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