Corporate and commercial: Cambridge in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has 'top-quality lawyers with a personal touch'. The firm handles high-value regional, national and international corporate matters for clients in sectors ranging from insurance to technology. Corporate finance, banking and insolvency partner James Allen leads the practice. Quentin Golder, who provides 'highly effective and efficient legal services', specialises in early stage funding, entrepreneurial and commercial work. Adrian Seagers  frequently acts for large corporates and private equity funds in corporate deals. Mark Pinder, formerly head of Middle East operations at Foot Anstey, brings invaluable experience in cross-border M&A deals. 'Highly responsive, deeply knowledgeable and pragmatic' legal director Nick Burt is noted for private equity and international transactions.

Practice head(s):

James Allen

Other key lawyers:

Quentin Golder; Adrian Seagers; Mark Pinder; Nick Burt

Testimonials

‘Birketts engaged with us in a creative structure providing a broad range of commercial services, acting in many regards in an equivalent fashion to an in-house counsel. In addition, the firm put together a comprehensive team to assist in M&A transactions.’

‘Quentin Golder was an exceptional partner, both in terms of providing highly effective and efficient legal services and as a close and valued advisor to the company over many years. He combines tremendous depth of knowledge in a wide array of areas (commercial contracts, corporate governance and M&A) with a pragmatic results-oriented approach.’

‘Nick Burt was an invaluable member of the Birketts team supporting our exit transaction. Nick is highly responsive, deeply knowledgeable and pragmatic in his approach.’

‘Birketts provided top-quality lawyers with a personal touch. We are a small innovation company who have to negotiate contracts with large multi-national companies – Birketts gave us the support and confidence to negotiate our terms and not back down on our key points. Birketts understood our business and what we needed to achieve from the contract. Their clear explanations were invaluable throughout the process and they enabled us to stand as equals in the contract negotiation.’

‘Quentin Golder was our partner on our recent contract negotiations. He provided exceptional support throughout the contract drafting and negotiation process. During negotiations he was strong and clear, tenacious and always aiming for the best possible outcome for our business. During contract legal meetings he always spoke with authority and experience but was always pleasant to maintain a good atmosphere in the meeting. We were glad that we had Quentin on our side and were very satisfied with the final negotiated outcome.’

Key clients

SDI Group plc

Chestnut Inns Ltd

Time Group

The Milbank Group

Work highlights

  • Advised on the re-organisation of the Time Group comprising approximately 40 companies, the refinancing of eight different existing debt providers and the acquisition of five new companies with an overall deal value of £179m.
  • Advised the shareholders of e-commerce wellness company Bloomboxclub Limited, Dr Katie Cooper and John Gilbert and their team on the sale of their shares to digital Canadian health organisation, PlantX Life, Inc. for £8m.
  • Advised on the acquisition of The Cricketers from Trevor and Sally Oliver, parents of chef Jamie Oliver.

Goodwin

Goodwin has established a firm foothold in the Cambridge market since hiring a vastly experienced team from Taylor Wessing LLP in early 2020. The firm has a globally recognised technology and life sciences practice that advises private and public companies, both high-growth and well established, on major corporate transactions, fundraising and commercial licensing matters. Licensing and regulatory partner Tim Worden, equity financing expert David Mardle and IP commercialisation specialist Malcolm Bates are all highly regarded. Senior associate Adam Thatcher and counsel Elizabeth Rhodes are both recommended for advice on venture capital and M&A transactions in the technology and life sciences sectors.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Bates; David Mardle; Tim Worden

Other key lawyers:

Adam Thatcher; Elizabeth Rhodes

Key clients

Moderna

Evox Therapeutics

Kymab

HungryPanda

StreetBees

YASA

Refeyn

OSI

CIC

Tropic Biosciences

Index Ventures

MiNA Therapeutics

Avacta Group

Kymab

Work highlights

  • Advised Evox Therapeutics Ltd on a £69.2m Series C fundraising.
  • Advised HungryPanda Ltd on its $70m Series C funding round.
  • Advised Engitix Limited on a licence and collaboration Agreement with Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has 'very commercial and friendly approach and provides good technical advice' on the most high-profile regional deals, as well as many national and international transactions. Tom Pickthorn leads on corporate transactions and Kevin Calder in commercial matters. The firm has a deep bench of partners, among them Claire Clarke, who has particular expertise in education work and formation of investment funds, venture capital partner Zickie Lim, private equity expert Anthony McGurk and life sciences partner James Fry, who 'always offers pragmatic advice’. Jonathan Greenwood focuses on education M&A and mid-market corporate transactions and Neil Burton specialists in charities work.

Practice head(s):

Tom Pickthorn; Kevin Calder

Other key lawyers:

Claire Clarke; James Fry; Zickie Lim; Anthony McGurk; Jonathan Greenwood; Neil Burton

Testimonials

‘In-depth sector knowledge of healthcare and biotech.’

‘James Fry always offers pragmatic advice.’

‘Very commercial and friendly approach. Good technical advice as well.’

‘Neil Burton is extremely available and understands the strategic impact and importance of the advice provided.’

Key clients

BAE Systems plc

Bango plc

F-Star Therapeutics Inc.

Global Graphics PLC

Hush Homewear

Midwich Group plc

PayPoint plc

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings

Diurnal Group plc

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

IQ Capital Partners LLP

PragmatIC Printing

BGF Investments LP

Work highlights

  • Acted for F-star Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical group based in Cambridge, on its planned reverse merger with NASDAQ-listed Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals.
  • Acted for The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the 5th largest global philanthropic organisation, on a restructure of its $6bn investment portfolio.
  • Advised IQ Capital Partners LLP in respect of 21 investment deals (12 were Future Fund convertible debt funding transactions), in rounds raising an aggregate of c. £236m.

Taylor Vinters

Taylor Vinters is 'a one-stop shop of experts', according to clients, who remark that it provides 'clear and effective legal advice quickly and on-point'. The firm focuses on supporting entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, particularly in the technology and healthcare sectors, on corporate transactions and investment funding. Charles Fletcher  leads the eight-partner practice, in which Adam Bradley and Sian Scanlon are key practitioners. Erika McIntyre, who joined from Withers LLP in 2021, brings extensive experience in venture capital investment and M&A transactions. Senior associate Sarah Ilic and senior counsel Nick Palmer also play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Charles Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Adam Bradley; Sian Scanlon; Sarah Ilic; Nick Palmer; Chris Keen

Testimonials

‘Taylor Vinters clearly have a broad range of expertise as a firm and are always quick to bring in the relevant domain expert to a particular topic whether that be property, public sector procurement, M&A, and more. They are definitely a one-stop shop, but a one-stop shop of experts.’

‘I have worked with Nick Palmer for around six years and I value that continuity as he now really understands the nuances of my businesses and plans. He is clearly well thought of and networked, always introducing myself, colleagues and friends to the most appropriate contact.’

‘The team has done work for our company for more than a decade, and they have taken the time to learn and understand our business needs, risk areas and company goals. This enables them to provide clear and effective legal advice quickly and on-point for our company. Not only is the quality of service excellent, but the value for service provided is of equal ranking. I have not once had a billing issue with this firm in terms of questioning time worked or overall billing.’

‘Adam Bradley has been a trusted adviser to us for more than a decade. He is always available, has great subject matter expertise, is always responsive and has helped us in so many areas. He is also an excellent client relationship manager and always ensures we are talking to the right people in the firm on areas of subject matter expertise. I give him my highest ranking of all solicitors I use around the world.’

‘Chris Keen is an exceptional lawyer, and has deep knowledge of early stage VC-backed technology company needs.’

‘The firm has a large, well-trained team of associates on its venture and growth teams.’

‘The team worked is such a way that represented our brand values as well as their own. They pulled in each team expert required and relayed the legal information to us in a way we could understand. Everyone worked long hours to get the somewhat complicated final negotiations across the line, in a very tight timeframe, to both parties.’

‘Nick Palmer was so outstanding we would not consider anyone else to represent us again.’

Key clients

Grafton Capital

Seller shareholders of Oxsed Ltd

Shareholders of Nanna Therapeutics Limited

Zip Wireless Limited (and its shareholders)

VivaMOS Limited (and its shareholders)

Hugh McGarry and Terry Sullivan

The sellers of the entire issued share capital of E F S Technology Limited

CPP Civil Engineering Limited

Seller shareholders of U Plastics Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Grafton Capital on the sale of its 25% stake in Softomotive Holding Ltd, a world-leading provider of robotic process automation, as part of the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Microsoft Corporation.
  • Acted for the sellers in the share sale of Oxsed Limited (a developer of rapid COVID-19 test technology) to the UK-arm of Prenetics Ltd (a Hong Kong company).
  • Instructed by CPP Civil Engineering Limited, the acquiring vehicle incorporated for and on behalf of the management team to effect a management buy-out of a long established civil engineering business.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans has 'a mix of diverse legal minds and has a great depth of experience'. In Cambridge, the firm has two vastly experienced partners in James Stephen and Duncan Walker, who are 'a particular pleasure to work alongside’. They work with partners across the firm's office network to advise technology companies in Cambridge, as well as a broad range of SMEs and multinational corporations. Their recent highlights include the multimillion-pound sale of DAI to the Kion Group, acting for the selling shareholders.

Practice head(s):

James Stephen; Duncan Walker

Other key lawyers:

Ross Fletcher

Testimonials

‘The team at BDB Pitmans is a mix of diverse legal minds and has a great depth of experience in a variety of matters. I have worked with a variety of corporate lawyers over the years and BDB punches well above its weight in terms of capability.’

‘The team is approachable and knowledgeable. I have absolute confidence in the ability of the partners and associates when working alongside them on client matters. James Stephen and Duncan Walker have been a particular pleasure to work alongside.’

‘BDB Pitmans have a very responsive team who have a wide-ranging knowledge across the work that we collaborate on. There is very little referring to colleagues for further information – they seem to be experts in their field.’

‘I particularly enjoy working with Duncan Walker because of his experience and overarching knowledge of corporate law and transactions.’

‘Duncan Walker exudes experience and confidence – he is superb.’

Key clients

Owlstone Medical Limited

The shareholders of Digital Applications International Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the shareholders of Digital Applications International Limited on the sale of the shares of DAI to the KION Group AG.

HCR Hewitsons

The work is done at a standard equal to any top City firm‘ remarks a client of HCR Hewitsons. Working as a single team across the firm’s office network, the corporate practice handles share acquisitions and disposals, capital markets transactions, private equity deals and the support of high-growth companies and SMEs. James Lawrence leads on corporate transactions and Bill Thatcher on commercial matters.  Lawrence  frequently handles complex share sales and purchases, corporate restructuring as well as MBOs. In May 2021, Nathan Evans joined from Memery Crystal LLP as Cambridge head of commercial. Associate Charlotte Bull is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

James Lawrence; Bill Thatcher

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Evans; Charlotte Bull

Testimonials

‘I appreciate their responsiveness, their honesty in relation to billing, and the quality of their work. The work is done at a high standard, equal to any top City firm.’

‘I am especially impressed by James Lawrence. There are few lawyers that have the same level of understanding of business drivers (and the law). As a result, I am always confident that his legal advice will be focused and useful and done to a high standard.’

‘Charlotte Bull is a hardworking and meticulous corporate lawyer. Her attention to matters of detail when working on particularly significant corporate transactions is very reassuring to a client like myself. She is also a team player and works well with all involved in such transactions.’

‘ I particularly appreciated the tight teamwork, ability to meet deadlines, and patient guidance at key points in the transaction processes.’

‘The team works closely and were well co-ordinated across all their internal departments. Their communications with me as client were exemplary. I was particularly impressed that they pitched their support and advice at an appropriate level, keeping us informed and involved every step of the way. Special mention must go to James Lawrence and Charlotte Bull who were excellent throughout both transactions.’

‘The team acts with dignity and discernment. They are calm under pressure and have provided excellent support to us at a difficult and emotional time.’

‘Our team included Charlotte Bull and worked cohesively and was unflappable. Charlotte operated with great integrity, collaboration and accessed the necessary expertise for our highly individual case. She was very responsive and gave balanced and careful judgement.’

‘They offer great, practical advice on commercial transactions. I have found James Lawrence to be pragmatic in approach and advice, commercially minded and solutions-orientated in all our dealings.’

Key clients

Quartix Holdings Plc

KisanHub (UK and India)

Cambridge Maintenance Services Limited

Elogbooks Facilities Management Limited

4D Monitoring Limited

VKR Group (owner of Velux brand with HQ in Denmark)

Hill Residential Limited

Spirol Group, Inc. (HQ in USA)

Silverwell Technology Limited

Homes England

Bf1 Systems Limited

Lesko Group

Biogen (UK) Group

Proteinlogic Limited

Signplay Ltd

SAP UK

Howes Percival LLP

Clients appreciate the 'professional, friendly service' on offer at Howes Percival LLP 's Cambridge office. Oliver Pritchard, who leads the corporate practice across East Anglia, works in both Norwich and Cambridge; 'incredibly detail-focused' director Brigitta Naunton is full-time in Cambridge, handling corporate and commercial SME and mid-market transactions with a focus on M&A, investments, corporate restructurings and governance, shareholder arrangements and commercial agreements. Clients note that '‘the team has a wide range of experience and provide commercial and practical advice to ensure transactions are completed on a timely basis'.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Pritchard

Other key lawyers:

Brigitta Naunton

Testimonials

‘We use Howes Percival for property, HR, corporate finance and company law issues so deal with them across many departments. There is almost no part of our legal requirements that HP can’t satisfy. On a personal basis, I have also used them for wills and inheritance work. Invariably, everyone is pleasant to deal with – professional and attentive.’

‘All the people we engage with are professional and attentive undertaking the work in a timely manner. This is done with a light touch making it easy to deal with them. The associates/legal execs are particularly diligent and knowledgeable and it is impossible to tell the difference between their work and that of the more senior solicitors.’

‘I worked with this team on a recent MBO, and I found them to be responsive and very knowledgeable. They each contributed to the process in a credible and positive way, and the legal drafting was handled with a great degree of skill and tenacity.’

‘Brigitta Naunton is incredibly detail-focused, and handled the day-to-day client matters. Oliver Pritchard led the team, and showed a great deal of commercial sensitivity. They both provided timely and impactful advice, skilfully adjusting when the terms of the deal changed suddenly.’

‘The team has a wide range of experience and provide commercial and practical advice to ensure transactions are completed on a timely basis. They work closely with the client to provide a personal service and plan to ensure that any potential issues are identified early and can be resolved.’

‘Oliver Pritchard always gives close personal attention to any transaction and manages the team well to ensure that client service is of the highest quality.

‘Professional, friendly service ’

‘Oliver Pritchard grasped the nature of our rather unusual deal quickly.’

Key clients

Hughes Electrical Group

Norse Care Limited

The Lind Group

Accentuate Group Ltd/Global Chair Components Ltd

British Marine Federation

Falcon Tower Crane Services Ltd Glazing Vision Limited

Ely Cathedral Enterprises Limited

Glazing Vision Limited

Mortar Investments PTE Limited

Tingdene Homes Limited

Snowmountain Enterprises Limited

Stonbury (Holdings) Limited

Eurokey Recycling Limited

Garashield

South Norfolk Healthcare C.I.C

HSBC Bank plc

Ford Retail Limited

Abacus Hotels Limited

Fleur Developments Limited

Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association

Work highlights

  • Advising the management team on the MBO of the Falcon Tower Cranes Group, the largest independent tower crane supplier in the UK.
  • Advising Mortar Investments, an overseas client, on two UK property investment and development joint ventures.
  • Advising Ely Cathedral Enterprises on a review and update of their constitution.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP's Cambridge office is an integrated part of practice with more than 80 partners across Europe, the US and Asia. Its corporate practice, led by Ross McNaughton, who joined from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, acts for UK-based and international IP-rich companies and their investors. Its work encompasses high-value M&A deals, fund formation, seed investments and fundraising. Adrian Toutoungi is an experienced partner in licensing and commercial agreements. The firm acts for venture capital firm Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), which backs world-leading life sciences and technology companies with an affiliation to Cambridge.

Practice head(s):

Ross McNaughton

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Toutoungi; Charlie Adams

Testimonials

‘The practice has deep domain expertise in the biotechnology and drug discovery sectors due in large part to their longstanding connections within the Cambridge UK life science scene. We have used a variety of firms over the years and have found the TW Cambridge group to be particularly capable in dealing with investment, acquisition and IP strategy.’

‘Ross McNaughton was a key negotiating ally in our dealings with both investors and potential acquirers. He was able to lead complex and difficult interactions with third parties in a pragmatic and ultimately successful manner.’

‘Ross McNaughton performed superbly during deal negotiations. His tenacity and ability to direct a legal team is commendable.’

‘Adrian Toutoungi and Charlie Adams were critical on our US expansion deal because of how central IP was to the deal. IP matters were certainly very complicated in this deal. They were able to navigate IP matters exceptionally well.’

‘One of the strengths of TW is their strong brand recognition and reputation in the life sciences sector. Having TW represent us immediately provided a certain level of credibility. We have been very delighted with our team’s expertise and patience guiding us through the company formation process.’

‘The excellent corporate partner we worked very closely with was Ross McNaughton. We are also extremely grateful for the standout work performed by associate Charlie Adams.’

‘They have great people, they are very responsive and can offer broad advice.’

‘Ross McNaughton stands out on his responsiveness and diligence. They also inspire confidence because of their depth of knowledge across topics. They are also able to translate complex legal topics into a language that is easy to understand for non-lawyers.’

Key clients

SciBite

Cambridge Innovation Capital

Nuclera

Morphogen-IX

Z-Factor

Lockbody

Capella

Orexia

Oppilan / Zomagen

Zygosity

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of SciBite, a life sciences focused semantic AI company headquartered in Cambridge, to the global research publishing and information analytics provider, Elsevier, part of the RELX group.
  • Preferred partner to Start Codon, a Cambridge-based life science focused accelerator backed by Cambridge Innovation Capital; appointed as the recommended law firm for its cohort companies.
  • Acting for high profile venture capital firm, Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) on various of its corporate matters and equity investments. CIC backs world-leading life sciences and technology companies with an affiliation to Cambridge, Europe’s leading capital for innovation, and is a preferred investor for the University of Cambridge.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP has a growing presence in Cambridge, where it handles corporate transactions in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. 'Our experience with the firm as a one-stop practice for everything we have needed as a biotech start-up has been exceptional', remarks one client. Lead partner Susanna Stanfield is lauded for her 'calmness, professionalism and knowledge'. The 'responsive, client-focused and pragmatic' Richard Penfold and senior associate Sharmela Kalmer, who split their time between London and Cambridge, play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Susanna Stanfield

Other key lawyers:

Richard Penfold; Sharmela Kalmer

Testimonials

‘Susanna Stanfield is all the things you expect of a first-rate corporate partner – responsive and flexible to client needs and able to mobilise the resources of her firm quickly to meet deal timeframes.’

‘The Withers team is very responsive, efficient, effective and experienced in start-ups and able to address a broad range of legal needs from funding rounds through employment contracts to academic sponsored research agreements.’

‘Susanna Stanfield provided rapid expert advice and turnaround and over the Christmas and new year period ensured that we had a continuous service even when she was on vacation. Even as a small start-up we never felt to be anything other than a priority.’

‘Our experience with Withers as a one-stop practice for everything we have needed as a biotech start-up has been exceptional. In rapid time they were able to handle all aspects of what we needed, and when we were trying to move at breakneck pace to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Geniality, professionalism and flexibility were pervasive.’

‘Susanna Stanfield is our key partner for our operations, and she has been a fantastic advisor and supporter. Her calmness, professionalism and knowledge helped us navigate what ended up being pretty turbulent waters with one particular potential investor. Her ability to explain and reassure us on the finer nuances of legal positioning, including between the UK and US was hugely appreciated.’

‘Highly responsive. Pragmatic, they work nimbly and offer a clear monthly billing structure via routine matters through helpdesk function and other commercial matters.’

‘Richard Penfold is responsive, client-focused and pragmatic in his legal advice.’

‘A highly experienced team when advising on acquisitions of SMEs.’

Key clients

Ario Pharma (formerly Provesica Limited)

Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited

CellCentric Limited

Clear NeuroScience Ltd

Clowdy Group Limited

Coople UK Limited

Codebay Solutions Limited  (trading as Lodgify)

Doctify Limited

Economad Solutions Ltd

Emerge Venture Lab Ltd

Entrepreneurs Fund General Partner Ltd

ETF Partners LLP (Previously ETF Manager LLP)

EYN Limited

Fig Leaf Promotions Limited

Fourthrev Ltd

Glaia Ltd

HE Feeds Ltd

In3Bio Research Ltd. (formerly Bioven (Europe) Limited)

Keapstone Therapeutics Ltd

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Kynos Therapeutics Ltd

Leucid Bio Ltd

LocalGlobe X, LP

Lumici Ltd (trading as Teacherly)

Meatable B.V.

Medovate Limited

MEVOX Ltd.

Mologic Ltd.

Morningside Venture Investments Limited

NJF Capital Corp. (formerly Montilla International Corporation)

Octeract Limited

Papier Ltd

PsiOxus Ltd

Parkinson’s Disease Society

Sentient Machines Limited

Skiller Whale Limited

Smartkem Limited

Snap HR Limited (formerly Circalit Limited)

Solveteq Ltd

Start Codon Ltd

Story Terrace Ltd

Stress Point Health Limited

Super Carers Limited

Synthesized Ltd

Testcard Ltd

THS Group Limited

Unibuddy Limited (formerly Unibudy Limited)

VaxEquity Ltd

Xention Pharma Limited

YLD Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Morningside Venture Investments Limited, the New York based global life sciences investor on a £20m investment into an Imperial College London spin-out company, VaxEquity Ltd, which accelerated the production of a vaccine to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and is dedicated to developing saRNA vaccines for serious and life-threatening diseases.
  • Advising longstanding client Mologic, a Bedford based rapid diagnostics company, throughout the development, testing and high volume manufacture of its rapid point-of-care Covid-19 antibody test.
  • Advising Medovate Ltd (a joint venture partnership with Health Enterprise East, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authorities and other government organisations) to develop and share innovations found in NHS hospitals to a global market.

Greenwoods GRM

The corporate and commercial practice at Greenwoods GRM is largely based in Peterborough, where practice head Alastair Gunn Alastair Gunn is based, but the firm recently hired Jonathan Reardon from Al Tamimi & Company to lead on business and finance matters from the Cambridge office. He focuses on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, as well as private equity and venture capital matters, working closely with key partner David Woods. The firm frequently handles transactions for clients in the technology, business services and manufacturing sectors.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Gunn

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Reardon

Key clients

Green Energy (UK) plc

Stone King LLP

The corporate and commercial practice at Stone King LLP is led from London, but Cambridge-based partner Tamsin Eastwood - who joined the firm from Brabners LLP in 2018 - has more than 20 years' experience in corporate finance, M&A, banking and financial services matters. The firm has a strong flow of corporate transactions in the education, charity and social enterprise sectors, in which it is nationally recognised.

Other key lawyers:

Tamsin Eastwood

Testimonials

‘Tamsin Eastwood was so helpful. She was quiet and sensitive with immediate understanding of the work that was needed.  She was greatly efficient for me and my family.’

Key clients

Thrive Therapeutic Software Limited

JTL

DPL Partnership Limited

UGC Cinemas