Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands
Browne Jacobson LLP is widely recognised as a market-leading powerhouse for corporate and commercial work, a reputation reflected by its outstanding track record of advising on n high-profile matters. Its diverse client roster includes private equity houses and management teams, international corporates, listed companies and local businesses. Gavin Cummings heads up the firm's private sector practice. Another key figure is Nigel Blackwell, who has expertise in private equity transactions, such as MBOs/MBIs and investor-led buyouts. Mark Hughes is also recommended for his private equity deal experience. The healthcare sector is a notable area of strength of the firm; Oliver Pritchard acts for public, private and third sector healthcare organisations. Recently appointed head of business services Richard Medd specialises in advising public authorities on matters such as incorporations, and constitutional and governance issues. The firm also stands out in the commercial sphere, with its wide-ranging workload including agency and distribution agreements, franchise agreements and consumer protection matters; Paula Dumbill and Selina Hinchliffe are names to note. Victoria Gaskell and Helen Morgan are among the highly regarded associates at the firm.
Richard Medd (head of business services); Richard Cox (head of corporate)
Other key lawyers:
‘Browne Jacobson has some of the most standout practitioners in the market. Gavin Cummings has a very strong reputation and Oliver Pritchard is also really good‘
Palatine Private Equity
Apiary Capital Partners
Addo Food Group Limited
The Salvation Army
The National Trust
GKN Aerospace Services Limited
- Advice to Lloyds Development Capital on a secondary buy-out of Neilson Active Holidays.
- Advice to Apiary Capital Partners on the secondary buyout of The Appointment Group Limited (TAG).
- Acted for the shareholders of Manthorpe Building Products Holdings Limited on the £52 million sale of the business to Polypipe Group Plc.
- Acted for advised the sellers and the management team on the management buyout of Freshcut Foods Limited (Freshcut) and its sister company, Fresh Mediterranean Foods Limited.
- Advised the management team at Jigsaw24 on its secondary management buyout by Alcuin Capital Partners and PNC Business Credit from NorthEdge Capital.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's Nottingham-based corporate team, which is led by Jon Cox-Brown, has a standout reputation for corporate M&A and private equity transactions of the utmost complexity and significance for clients. It is particularly strong in matters with a nexus to sectors such as education, energy and natural resources, real estate M&A, TMT and diversified industrials. Cox-Brown is recommended for his knowledge about financial services and fintech-related deals. Matthew Hussey and Ian Moore are particularly experienced in technology sector transactions. Elsewhere, the group is a strong performer in capital markets matters, including IPOs and public takeovers. Multijurisdictional mandates form the bulk of the practice's work, and the firm's ability to leverage its international network is a significant value-add. Nick Blane, who heads up the commercial practice, has more than 25 years of experience handling IT, technology and outsourcing projects. Legal director Simon White is another notable individual.
Jon Cox-Brown (corporate); Nick Blane (commercial)
Lloyds Development Capital
GCI Telecom Group Limited
Sygnature Discovery Limited
Europa Worldwide Logistics Limited
Buzz Bingo Group Limited
- Advised the client on its acquisition of a 25% interest in London & Country Mortgages, as well as a broader strategic partnership and technology transformation plan.
- Advised the client on the strategic, multijurisdictional disposal of its commercial marine business.
- Acted for the management and rolling shareholders of GCI Telecom on Mayfair Equity Partner’s investment into the ICT services provider.
- Advised the client on its proposed £275m acquisition of the ClearScore Group.
- Acted for the client on its acquisition of ILG Holdings Limited, a leading provider of fulfilment, warehousing and logistics services
Freeths LLP, whose Nottingham team is part of a large national practice, demonstrates particularly strong capabilities in the healthcare sector, and is notably active in its work for care operators and funders. Elsewhere, it acts for a number of household names in sectors such as retail, food and drink, construction and automotive. National corporate head Karl Jansen has a particular focus on UK mid-market transactions, such as corporate acquisitions and disposals, MBOs/MBIs and private equity investments, John Heaphy, who leads the group in Nottingham, has an excellent record of advising owner-managed companies on deals.
Karl Jansen (national head); John Heaphy (Nottingham head)
‘John Heaphy ensures that we get the right service for the project in hand‘
‘John Heaphy performs above our expectations‘
‘The team is open, honest and pragmatic. It explains matters in a clear and concise manner‘
‘The group is able to take instructions, keep it simple for a layman and give sound advice‘
‘The firm fields quality staff, from top to bottom‘
Aldi Stores Limited
The Spicers-OfficeTeam Group Limited
Motorpoint Group Plc
Travis Perkins Plc
Carlsberg UK Limited
Maria Mallaband Care Group Limited
The Reflex Group Limited
LNT Group Limited
- Advised client on the acquisition of the Alun Griffiths group of companies, a civil engineering and surfacing business, operating largely in Wales, the Midlands and South West England.
- Acted for the client in seven acquisition transactions.
- Acted for the client on investment by Hong Long listed company Road King Investment and Asset Management.
- Acted for the client on the sale of the Birchwood Price Tools division to Toolstream Ltd, part of Group Silverline.
- Advised the client on its acquisition of ZenOffice Limited, a provider of business supplies and services.
Equally strong in transactional and commercial contracts matters, Geldards LLP has a sizeable following of domestic and international clients. Team head Debra Martin covers the full spectrum of corporate transactions, and her previous experience of working as a senior in-house counsel at 3i makes her well-placed to advise on private equity deals. Another practitioner with significant corporate finance experience is Peter Seary, who has acted for clients in sectors such as food and drink, pharmacy and manufacturing. Paul Feenan and Jenny Chatten are also recommended. Michelle Craven-Faulkner, who heads up the firm's commercial group, has formerly served as senior in-house counsel at Alstom Transport, and has overseen the growth of the firm's work in the rail sector; clients in this space include rail consultants, prime contractors and OEMs. Elsewhere, the practice marks an uptick in work from IT sector clients. In addition, the firm is particularly well-known for its work in the tennis and football industries, and is also active in other sports; Jamie Goldberg spearheads the sports department.
Debra Martin; Michelle Craven-Faulkner
‘Jamie Goldberg was always prompt with his replies and took time to explain the process‘
‘Peter Seary delivers what I want. A pragmatic, cost-effective, sensible solution on M&A‘
‘Geldards is a very efficient firm, and inspires confidence at all times‘
ACTA* Holding BV / Kiwa Holdings (UK) Limited
Altius VA Limited
British Business Bank
Camfaud Group Limited
Celebrity Motion Furniture Limited
Concrete Network Limited
Derby County Football Club
Development Bank of Wales PLC
Event Hosts Limited
Grand Bazaar Group Limited
Hall, David Alan & Elizabeth Mary
Horizon Industries International Limited
Independence Products Limited
Infra Safety Services Labour Limited
Litho Supplies (UK) Limited
Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited
SALCS Installations Limited
Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council (NWLC)
Sherwood Packaging Limited
Sperry Rail (International) Limited
Stadler Rail Management AG
Stadler Rail Services UK Limited
The Irongate Group Limited
Van Oord Offshore Wind UK Limited
VF Services UK Limited / VFS Global Services Plc
Warrington Borough Council
Wrekin Products Limited
Xylem Water Solutions UK Limited
- Advised the client on the UK aspects of its acquisition of the business and certain assets of MPI Offshore (a specialist offshore wind contractor) from Vroon Group.
- Acted for Kiwa on its acquisition of Alchem Industries Limited.
- Advised the shareholders on the sale of their shares in the company.
- Advised client on the purchase of 3 Vauxhall dealerships in Stockton, Darlington and Stockton on Tees from Sherwoods (Darlington) Limited.
- Advised this US-based client on its acquisition of a significant stake in Evron Foods Limited.
At Shoosmiths LLP, the scope of the work includes M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and corporate governance advice. In addition to handling domestic deals, cross-border transactions are a cornerstone of the practice, with the firm advising clients on inbound investments into the UK, as well as outbound matters; the firm's membership of the World Services Group and strong connections with law firms worldwide enable it to attract a high volume of cross-border work. In 2018, led by Crispin Bridges Webb, the team advised clients or handled transactions connected with markets such as Denmark, the US, South Korea, Germany and Norway, among various others. The firm acts for a broad base of clients, including UK and overseas-based private equity and venture capital investors, and public and private companies. Webb, who has 30 years of transactional experience, works alongside senior associate Gareth Cook.
Crispin Bridges Webb
Other key lawyers:
Tandem Group Plc
United Carpets Plc
Oakfield Capital Partners
Addtech Nordic AB
- Acted for listed Swedish group Addtech Nordic AB on its acquisition of Diamond Point International (Europe) Limited (a manufacturer of embedded computer systems for demanding OEM-applications).
- Acted for the selling shareholders of Food & Fuel on the disposal of Food and Fuel to The Restaurant Group (TRG).
- Acted for listed Swedish group Note AB on its acquisition of Speedboard Assembly Services Limited (a manufacturer of electronics and circuit boards for the global market).
- Advised a Luxembourg-incorporated subsidiary of the client in its disposal of a Luxembourg-registered special purpose vehicle holding an option to acquire the freehold of a prominent and premium commercial real estate asset in central Birmingham, UK.
- Advised Liberty Brewing on a £3.5m fundraising round led by Oakfield Capital Partners.
Flint Bishop LLP has consolidated its reputation in Derby and surrounding areas, and has also built up key relationships with a significant number of national and international clients. On the corporate side, under the leadership of experienced dealmaker Martyn Brierley, the firm has become a go-to for M&A, joint ventures, MBOs and financing transactions. It has developed a particular niche in the education sector, where it advises large Multi Academy Trusts on academy conversions, second-generation acquisitions of academies and general governance issues; Rachel Bennett is a key contact in this space, and also handles transactions in the IT, telecoms and veterinary sectors. Elsewhere, David Miller and others provide commercial contracts advice, and also assist clients with ancillary issues, such as data protection and intellectual property.
David Miller (head of commercial); Martyn Brierley (head of corporate and finance)
A1 Comms Limited
Altrad SA (French-owned large international group)
Henry Boot Developments Limited
MPS Care Group Limited
GL Events UK Limited (owned by French parent listed company)
Peveril Securities Limited
The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc
Smith Cooper LLP (accountants)
Charles Pugh (Glass) (member of the national ‘National Windscreens’ franchise)
Linney Group Limited
Vaillant Group Holdings Limited
Donald Ward Limited
Cloud Booking Limited
Schmitz Cargobull (UK) Limited
FW Thorpe Plc
- Advised the client on the sale of Modus Greenacres (Jersey) Limited, a company incorporated in Jersey and the owner of a large retail development in Oldham.
- Acted for the shareholders of Venture Business Forms Limited on the sale of the business to Hague Print.
- Advised the sellers of Glenthorne Vets Limited on the sale of the company to Independent Vetcare.
- Advised the selling shareholder on the MBO of Flamerite Fires Limited
- Advised Charles Pugh Windscreens Limited on the acquisition of Kwikscreens Limited, a franchisee of the ‘National Windscreens’ franchise.
Gateley Plc's team in Nottingham is part of a larger group in the Midlands, which is among the most active in the region on the deal front. Its reach also extends to national and, increasingly, international transactions, covering 'a broad spectrum of sectors'. Mark Rutherford leads the Nottingham team, which has strong relationships with a wide range of clients, including SMEs, banks and intermediaries, management teams and private equity houses. Rutherford, who is widely recognised in the East Midlands market for his strong track record in dealmaking, works alongside senior associates Victoria Elliott and Beth Mather.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Elliott; Ben Mather
Troy (UK) Limited
CET Group Holdings Limited
Retail Assist Limited
Digraph Transport Supplies Limited
Bridgeway Consulting Limited
Equip Outdoor Technologies Limited
Bradgate Containers (Holdings) Limited
Stoney Cove Marine Trials Limited
Spirit Health Group Limited
- Acted for the shareholders (management and Palatine Private Equity) of Westleigh Group Limited on the sale of the company to Countryside Properties for £135.4m.
- Acted for Connection Capital LLP on its acquisition of and investment in Mode Print Solutions Holdings Limited (and its group companies) from David Davis, Michael Davis and Robert Clarke.
- Advised LDC and the individual shareholders of Dale Erskine Power Solutions Limited on the sale of the company to NVM Private Equity and an MBO team.
- Advised Maven Capital Partners on its £20m investment in Orlando Topco Limited (an MBO vehicle) to provide funds to acquire UAP Limited
- Advised Troy (UK) Limited on its acquisition of the business and assets of T.H.S. Tools Limited.
Nelsons Solicitors Limited had an uptick in transactional work in 2018, with the firm acting for clients such as SMEs, listed companies and multinational organisations. Nottingham team head Duncan Taylor and recently promoted partner Alice Rees have expertise in acquisitions and disposals, shareholders’ agreements and secured lending transactions. In the commercial sphere, Harpreet Sandhu and associate Shelley Litchfield advise clients on supply and distribution agreements, collaboration agreements and IP licensing, e-commerce documents and franchising. The corporate group in Derby is led by David Kaplan, whose experience of negotiating complex deals includes those with a cross-border dimension.
Duncan Taylor (Nottingham team head); David Kaplan (Derby team head)
‘An approachable team with comprehensive knowledge, which works in an efficient manner‘
‘All team members respond to questions with clarity and without delay. Alice Rees has excellent knowledge, is approachable and clients feel supported by her‘
Premier Moves Limited
The Fostering Foundation
iCandy World Limited
Midland Lead Limited
Monarch Acoustics Limited
Navmii Holdings Limited
Nottingham Rugby Limited
Gill Marine Limited
Murphy & Son Limited
Easy Pre-Orders Limited
The Double R
Gas Container Services Limited
PKF Cooper Parry
Power Electronic Measurements
- Acted for Haines Watts on the purchase of the Nottingham-based Ling Phipp accountancy practice.
- Advised John Watts/Flamerite Fires Group Limited on the MBO of Flamerite Fires Limited.
- Acted for Windrush Valley School on its sale to Ingenio Group of Schools.
- Acted for the shareholders of Easy Pre-Orders Limited on the sale of the company to Bookatable, part of the Michelin Group.
Shakespeare Martineau LLP typically advises on transactions valued at up to £20m, but has an equally strong record on much larger deals. With Duncan James and Ed Wright leading on the corporate and commercial sides of the practice respectively, the firm undertakes mandates for clients in a wide range of sectors, including energy, logistics, life sciences, banking, engineering and manufacturing, and IT services. Roger Harcourt heads up the healthcare sector team. A notable strength of Wright's practice is that his core commercial contracts expertise is complemented by his knowledge about related areas, such as competition, intellectual property, IT and public procurement. Richard Vernon is another name to note. In addition to handling domestic corporate and commercial matters, the firm's overall offering is rounded out by its membership of the global Multilaw network, which enables it to attract cross-border work.
Duncan James (corporate); Ed Wright (commercial)
Common Wealth Games
Future Health Technologies
IWWS (UK) Limited
Foresight Group LLP
Midlands Care Group
Belmont Healthcare Group
Padgham Care Services
- Assisted with the sale of Parcelhub and its sister company Mail Workshop to Whistle (UK) for £12m.
- Advised client on two hotel sales, one conference centre acquisition and a related refinance of the client’s senior debt.
- Advised the client on an investment into Navitas Limited via the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.
- Advised the client on its acquisition of Normanby House Care Home for £1.2m.
- Acted for the client on the £525,000 acquisition of a care home in the Midlands.
At Actons, the main contacts are directors Simon Dakin - 'a safe pair of hands' - and Peter Flowerday, who 'has a deep understanding of his field'. The Nottingham-based firm advises owner-managed businesses and SMEs, for which it undertakes a mix of corporate and commercial work. It also has an active finance practice, and is instructed by banks and other funding providers on transactions.
Simon Dakin; Peter Flowerday
‘Actons always does a good job. It has the breadth of experience to handle our corporate and commercial transactions. We have found them to be as good if not better than some of the larger practices in the area‘
‘You know absolutely that Simon Dakin has got your back and will work to find the best solution. He is not phased by issues or personalities. Both Simon and Peter Flowerday are happy to break down the issues into plain English and provide the right level of guidance for you to make sure that you can make an informed decision‘
‘Many clients have very favourable impression of Actons and of Peter Flowerday. As a firm I believe they punch above their weight, and having dealt with larger firms on similar matters, they are certainly able to deliver a comparable service in a much more personal way and significantly more cost effectively‘
‘My work with Peter Flowerday has always been handled thoroughly and in a very timely and professional manner – he has an ability to construct strong arguments and to spot flaws in legal agreements that are often missed by the other side and this has worked to our advantage in many cases. He has an ability to explain complex legal matters in a straightforward way to clients‘
EIDO Healthcare Limited
QVS Global UK Limited
Shredall (East Midlands) Limited
Prima Solutions Limited
Allied Irish Bank
- Acted for a selling shareholder on his sale of the entire issued share capital of a property holding company.
- Advised a company in the health and leisure sector on the introduction of a new form international distributorship agreement across its global network of distributors.
- Acted for the executive management team on the sale of a wholesale distributor to a trade buyer.
- Advised a business – which develops technology for use in the leisure and gaming sector – on setting up a joint venture with two other operators in the industry.
- Acted for a local accountancy practice on its acquisition of the business of another accountant practice that had gone into administration.
Austin Moore & Partners LLP handles a significant number of large and complex transactions in the Nottingham marketplace, thanks to the reputation of its founding partner, Austin Moore, who has been a specialist in corporate transactions for more than 30 years. Associate Laura de Banke works with Moore on the firm's most significant deals, and also takes charge of day-to-day transactions, restructuring work and corporate governance matters. Moore's team also includes Louise Firth, whose arrival from Fishers in 2017 has been a catalyst for the growth of the firm's commercial practice. Firth advises on commercial law and intellectual property issues for clients across a wide range of sectors, including technology and energy.
‘Austin Moore has been nothing but competent and a trusted adviser and Louise Firth is cut from the same cloth. The team doesn’t simply tell you what you want to hear, but tells it as it is‘
‘The practitioners at Austin Moore are business-minded lawyers. They look at a problem commercially and give you honest opinions on what they would do, rather than try to create some form of self perpetuating legal argument that would be in their own interest‘
‘The strength of the team is that it is focused, clear when giving advice and understands the commercial aspects/repercussions of the advice given‘
‘Austin Moore, Louise Firth and Laura de Banke work well as a team‘
Instarmac Group Plc
AW Lymn The Family Funeral Service Company
Funeral Service Company
Rutland Cycling Bicycle
Distribution and Retailing
Buy My Motorhome
Accrosoft / Vacancy Filler
Buster + Punch
- Advised the shareholders on the sale of the majority stake in the company to the Better All Round Group.
- Acted for the shareholders on their disposal of the entire issued share capital of Voice Holdings Limited to the Daisy Group.
- Acted for the management team on the £5m MBO of Elta Automotive Limited.
- Acted for the shareholders of Micromix Plant Health Limited on the £5m disposal of the company to French public company Olmix Group.
- Advised the management team on the sale of Westleigh Partnerships Limited to Countryside Properties Plc for £135m.
Fraser Brown's longstanding presence in Nottingham has enabled it to develop lasting relationships with a broad cross-section of key clients from throughout the East Midlands (many of which operate nationally), including SMEs, entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses, directors and shareholders. The firm also now has a dedicated offering in Lincoln, having opened an office there in July 2018; in a related development, corporate partner Ed Capes joined the office from Sills & Betteridge LLP in September 2018. In Nottingham, head of corporate law Gavin White, Tom Gray and Peter Abel provide assistance with corporate acquisitions and disposals, private equity transactions, joint ventures and shareholders' agreements, among other matters. In addition to having a sizeable corporate offering in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, the firm has a particularly standout reputation for franchising work and acts for a number of multi-unit and multi-brand franchise clients. The firm was the first in the region to achieve affiliate status with the British Franchise Association. The 'commercially astute and pragmatic' Fiona Boswell heads up the specialist advisory franchise team.
Gavin White (Head of Corporate Law and Head of Business Services); Fiona Boswell (Head of Franchising and Commercial Services)
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is full of experience and nous‘
‘It has a presence at lots of franchise networking events‘
‘Fiona Boswell has a confident personality and a fantastic current knowledge within franchising’
‘Fiona Boswell’s humility juxtaposes her huge and varied experience’
East Midlands Business Angels
Frank Key Group Limited
Mortgage Advice Bureau Limited
Puddle Ducks Limited
Sort Group Limited
200 Degrees Coffee Shops Limited
Wolf Street Food
- Advice on the roll-out of a franchise network, which included the launch of seven new Wolf street food franchise stores in the UK and resale of one store.
- Acted for the shareholders of Cadcam Technology Limited and GS (UK) Limited on the sale of those companies to Summa NV.
- Advice on its investment in Eagle and Lion Limited.
- Advice to the client on the negotiation of (and award of) the exclusive UK and European licence for the UnderArmour band.
- Advice on a private equity investment in Expandly.
Smith Partnership's Derby team, which is led by Fraser Cunningham, is active in commercial matters in the sports industry; clients in this space include Derby County Football Club, Burton Albion Football Club, Raleigh and Cherie Pridham Racing Limited. The technology sector is another major area of strength. Elsewhere, the firm's recent corporate work spanned sectors such as rail, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, care and engineering. Associate Mark Wilcock is recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Interlevin Holdings Limited
Yellow Rail Limited
Almire Holdings Limited
Ascott Transport Limited
Derby County FC
Acorn Care Property Limited
Mather Jamie Limited
Chevin Group Holdings Limited
Cherie Pridham Racing Limited
- Acted for the majority shareholders of Highway Resource Solutions Limited on the sale of the company to the subsidiary of a European company.
- Acted for the client as the buyer on the acquisition of Elizabeth House Rest Home Limited.
- Acted for the client as the buyer on the acquisition of Firber Engineering Limited.
- Advised the majority shareholder as the seller in an MBO.
- Acted for the majority shareholder on the multi-million pound disposal of the company to a Danish buyer.