Corporate and commercial: Norwich in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has 'good listeners who are professional, reflective, straightforward and clear in their advice'. The firm has an outstanding reputation for corporate and transactional work, particularly in the Norwich market, and practice head Adrian Possener is a specialist in transactional work including public company matters, IPO’s and bond issues. Greg Allan focuses on complex reorganisations and restructures, and he has an excellent track record in the healthcare sector, having advised numerous care home providers on acquisitions, group restructures and funding arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Possener

Other key lawyers:

Greg Allan; Joe Yexley

Testimonials

“The firm provides good customer service and quick turnaround, and is always receptive and professional.”

“The corporate team is great at managing expectations and ensuring that clear and concise information is passed to us. A pragmatic approach is taken to ensure matters can easily be resolved.”

“Greg Allan and Joe Yexley are particularly good. Greg is outstanding at listening to our needs and working to the timeframes required. He is always available and happy. Joe is exceptionally thorough and we never have any concerns that things will be missed.”

Key clients

Servest Group

Black Swan Care Group

Tobar Group

Orbital Media & Advertising Limited

Evoke Systems Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Servest in its acquisition of Aktrion Holdings.
  • Acquisition of Grossman Group.  Advising Tobar Group Trading Limited on share acquisition of wholesale distributor as part of group expansion.
  • Acted for the founders and sellers of R A Howarth (Engineering) Ltd to Milltech Precision Engineering Ltd.
  • Advised 2SD Ltd reagrding the management on their MBO of Alicat Workboats from Gardline.
  • Sale of group of veterinary practices and reorganisation.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has a leading corporate and commercial practice both regionally and nationally, and many of its M&A transactions have an international element. In 2018, the firm as a whole acted in matters involving more than 75 jurisdictions the US, China, Canada and Australia. The Norwich office, where Craig Hodgson leads the practice, plays a key role in many of the firm's high-value deals, which include acting for venture capital funds, angel investors, large corporates and growth companies in equity funding rounds, as well as handling significant transactions in sectors such as food, agribusiness, healthcare, technology, financial services and the mid-market.

Practice head(s):

Craig Hodgson

Other key lawyers:

James Hunter; Natalie Wade; Greg Gibson; Alex Kenworthy; Christina O’Brien

Key clients

Validus-IVC Limited

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Limited

Hughes of Beaconsfield Group

Robinsons Motor Group

RPC Plc

Simplify Group

Tate & Lyle Sugars

Archant Limited

Ridgeons

Midwich Group plc

Work highlights

  • We acted for the shareholders (and optionholders) of Validus-IVC Limited (a SaaS provider of claims management solutions and the leading subrogation portal in the UK) on its sale to US listed and S&P 500 purchaser Verisk, Inc.
  • We drafted and negotiated two SPAs and tax schedules with input from Bermudian, Canadian and US counsel.  The deal involved the disposal of 6 insurance services companies and 4 captive management companies by Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Limited; an AIM listed Bermuda company.
  • The deal consisted of the £21m disposal of a multi-site Mercedes Benz dealership and other motor franchises based in Beaconsfield and Aylesbury to Vertu Motors plc, the 5th largest motor retailer in the UK.
  • Successfully advised the shareholders of the Robinsons Motor Group on the sale of their Mercedes-Benz franchises to Group 1 Automotive.
  • We acted on the £35m purchase of the entire issued share capital of Plasgran Limited, a specialist plastics recycling business and on the separate but related purchase of the freehold property from the sellers.

Ashtons Legal

At Ashtons Legal, key partner James Tarling acts for a broad range of local businesses in corporate transactions, and has a specialist focus innovative high-growth technology companies. He is highly regarded for his advice on issues such as GDPR and regulatory compliance. The firm has a leading franchising practice in which John Chambers and Damian Humphrey are the driving forces. They act for both UK and overseas clients, and the firm is an adviser to around 15% of all domestic franchise networks.

Fosters

At Fosters, practice head Jamie Arnall has developed the innovative Fosters In House service, which works for many clients on a retainer basis and makes lawyers in the business and commercial team available on an outsourced ‘in-house’ model. One client of this service describes Arnall as 'an inspiration - he is dedicated, brilliant and always makes himself available when called upon - the perfect lawyer to have in your corner'. Among the clients for the in-house lawyer service is a FTSE250 company.

Practice head(s):

Jamie Arnall

Other key lawyers:

Phillip Hopkins

Testimonials

“The team understands our business, is quick to respond and offers clear and concise advice. Unlike some other legal firms I’ve worked with, I always feel its focus is on putting our needs first and never feel as if they’re aiming to maximise their fees.”

“Jamie Arnall is key to the success of the team. His historic in-house lawyer experience makes his ability to support us second-to-none and he is by far the easiest to understand and most pragmatic lawyer that I’ve ever worked with.”

“Jamie Arnall has a good commercial practice that is are proactive and responsive and it is headed up by someone who has worked in-house himself, which is reassuring.”

“The firm is pragmatic, helpful, cost-effective and knows what we need as a client.”

“We have never worked with a solicitor in an in-house format before, and have thoroughly enjoyed the relationship that we have built with Jamie Arnall and his team. It has benefited the company very much.”

“Fosters has been unique in making this model available to us, and managing the number of hours we have used flexibly. We work very closely with several members of the team, and have got to know them very well.”

“We always know who to approach about which kind of issue, and we are always pleased with the results.”

“Fosters has been particularly good at weighing up the interests of both our company, and our customers, which can be very tricky. They always manage to suggest outcomes which mean that our customers and the company are protected, and work closely with us to ensure that this is achieved.”

“Fosters is always so quick to deal with our enquiries and work, even when they are particularly stretched with other things, and always make time for us when we need their advice urgently.”

“The lawyers are all very knowledgeable and if something we ask for is outside of their usual remit they are quick to find the answers we need and present case law to help inform.”

“I have never worked with such a dedicated team as Fosters corporate and commercial department. Each and every member of the team, led by Jamie Arnall, goes above and beyond every time.”

“They are unique in their approach as they tailor bespoke advice that is perfectly pitched at the client.”

“They are always available and ready to embrace even the most complex of situations with positivity and great success.”

“Phillip Hopkins recently joined the team and he has already shown the dedication expected of Jamie Arnall’s team, with versatility and a great personality.”

Work highlights

  • Assisted with the negotiation and drafted the professional league licence on behalf of a national sports governing body.
  • Advised in relation to the acquisition of multiple restaurant franchises in deal worth more than £12m.
  • Advised in relation to the drafting of an arena hire contract in relation to a high-profile concert event.
  • Advised client on a circa €2m international goods and services agreement.
  • Advised client on multi-million pound offshore supply contracts.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP has 'a strong team that responds rapidly to both the clients' and fellow professionals' needs in complex and pressured situations'. Practice head Nathan Horton frequently acts for owner-managed businesses across a range of sectors in sales and acquisitions, reorganisations and shareholder or investment agreements. A client remarks that the firm has 'a refreshing and practical approach' to multimillion-pound deals, which in 2018 included the high-profile sale of Aspall Cyder to Molson Coors.

Practice head(s):

Robert Colman; Nathan Horton

Testimonials

“Nathan Horton demonstrated excellent commercial judgement to keep transactions running smoothly and he takes the pressure off clients.”

“The most important strength that Howes Percival displayed was the time and ability to get to know our business, its shareholders and, therefore, our goals. This enabled them to align their service offering to match our desires implicitly.”

“All of the Howes Percival team that worked on our share sale, but specifically Nathan Horton, took the time to ensure that we fully understood all of the processes and documentation that was in place.”

“They absolutely understood that we were not from a legal background and as such communicated in ways that made the whole transaction as painless as they could for us.”

Key clients

Quattro Recruitment Limited

Ford Retail Limited

Hughes Electrical Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Shareholders of Quattro Group Holdings Limited in the acquisition of 75% of the business by Gap Personnel Holdings.
  • Acted for the family shareholders on the sale of Aspall Cyder to Molson Coors.

Steeles Law

The company commercial practice at Steeles Law acts for large and well-known companies based in the East Anglia, as well as national businesses including Hovis. The firm also advises a Westminster political party on matters including regulation and governance. The practice led by Richard Bailey, who is a recognised expert in commercial agency law, also works for national trade associations including the Greeting Card Association.

Practice head(s):

Richard Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Sims; James Hopgood

Testimonials

“The firm is flexible and listens us, providing wise and realistic commercial advice in our best interests that is understandable to laymen; and they are prepared to work late and over weekends to deliver our needs.”

Key clients

Hovis

Broadland Guarding Services Limited

Animax Limited

Symphony Talent Limited (formerly Hodes UK Limited)

Cox Powertrain

Work highlights

  • Advised Hovis on its commercial agreements to use payments under the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Sale and purchase of the entire shareholding of a group of companies in the animal and human health sector for consideration of £6m, with potential earn out consideration of an additional £2.5m.
  • Renegotiation of £14m commercial agreement for not for profit organisation.
  • Advising a multi-national security solutions company on a “preferred supplier” contract for temporary labour.
  • Bespoke commercial agreements for an expanding manufacturer developing a revolutionary new product.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

At Clapham & Collinge Solicitors, associate Jade Tinney leads the corporate and commercial practice, which handles company acquisitions and disposals, management buy outs, shareholders’ and partnership agreements corporate restructuring and lending, distribution agreements, contract review and terms and conditions. One client describes Tinney as 'the ultimate professional' and last year, she continued to grow the firm's client base across East Anglia and further afield to include a growing number of large business owners.

Practice head(s):

Jade Tinney

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Berrridge; Jack Shreeve

Testimonials

“The firm provides prompt attention to enquiries and calling back compared to other legal firms I have used.”

Rogers and Norton

At Rogers and Norton, practice head and managing partner Richard Etheridge has a strong focus on the sale and purchase of GP practices, for which he is regarded as one the market's leading advisers. The firm also handles a broad range of corporate finance work for local SMEs. The firm remained busy in 2018 with own share buybacks and MBOs situations with deferred consideration and security. It also handles shareholders agreements and commercial contracts including loans, novations and assignments of IP rights, partnership agreements and joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

Richard Etheridge

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP handles all aspects of commercial contract work for businesses ranging from start-ups to large enterprises. It also has a strong corporate finance offering for large group companies, owner-managed and family-owned businesses. Practice head Roger Margand and key partners Alistair Ponder and Matthew Downing are all experienced in M&A deals, private equity transactions and joint ventures, notably in the education, healthcare, oil and gas, and leisure and tourism sectors.

Practice head(s):

Roger Margand

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Ponder; Matthew Downing