Corporate and commercial: Liverpool in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP fields a specialised team of experts, with Mark Rathbone overseeing the corporate side, while Nik White and Matt Brown lead the commercial offering. Rupert Gill and David Maples are key contacts for transactional matters. Andrew O’Mahony and Colin Bell lead the finance and intellectual property groups respectively. Recently promoted partner Nicola Lomas‘ core client base comprises dentists wishing to sell or acquire practices. At the senior associate level, Victoria Trigwell is the key name to note, while consultant Michael Brabner is a noted contact at the highly experienced end. The firm has also seen continued growth, with the arrival of senior associate Emma Collins from Hill Dickinson LLP in September 2021, and the acquisition of highly regarded practitioner John Spofforth from O'Connors in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Mark Rathbone; Nik White; Matt Brown; Colin Bell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew O’Mahony; Rupert Gill; Michael Brabner; David Maples; John Spofforth; Nicola Lomas; Victoria Trigwell; Emma Collins

Testimonials

‘Brabners have always been excellent at bridging the gap between legal understanding and practical application, across a range of areas. The depth of expertise is second to none, whatever the question, and all those we engage with are relatable and helpful, without feeling you are on the clock or that the end result will be pages and pages of unusable legal drivel.’

‘Colin Bell has excellent practical knowledge and understanding of complex GDPR issues.’

‘Andrew O’Mahony is the safest pair of hands to support in supporting corporate transactions. Knowledgeable, always calm and the right person to have on your side. Always a feeling that Andrew and his team were in control.’

‘The team that we worked with were all on top of their skill sets and knew their topics well. They were focused, diligent, honest and down to earth. They guided us well and ensured the transaction was completed in a timeline that suited us. The team worked outside normal working hours and on weekends to ensure our project was on target at all the time. Good value for the fees we paid.’

‘The team were exceptionally dedicated to our project and at times prioritised our project timeline by sacrificing their personal time.’

‘Very experienced team enables a pragmatic approach to corporate matters. Where options exist they communicate the pros and cons and generally let us decide what to do, only turning up the volume on their advice when the consequences are significant.’

‘We have recently dealt with Rupert Gill on various matters. He brings huge experience and a calm and pragmatic manner. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Very approachable and friendly. Amazing team.’

Key clients

Alphavet International Ltd

BGF

Mercia Asset Management plc

MSIF

North West Roller Services

Clariant International

CRP Subsea Limited

Tell Money

Human Recognition Systems (HRS)

Peel Ports Group

Yodel Delivery Network

Parcel2Go

Proact Limited

Henry Bath & Son Limited

Medtrade Products Ltd

James Hall & Company Ltd (SPAR)

Icon Lifesaver Limited

Commonwealth Games Federation

Group Tyre UK Ltd

NWF Group

Open Outdoor Media Ltd

Peel Ports

South Cliff Dental Group

Synergy Dental Group

Sinara Consultants Limited

Lucid Games Limited

Veka Plc

Chartersync

Work highlights

  • Advised all the shareholders of Hitex Holdings on their disposal of the Hitex group of companies to Swarco, based in Austria.
  • Advised the India-based Apeejay Surrendra Group on the disposal of its majority shareholdings and other financial interests in Typhoo Tea.
  • Assisted Sale Sharks Rugby with sponsorship and trade mark issues.

DLA Piper UK LLP

DLA Piper‘s ability to expertly assist at both the domestic and cross-border level ensures that a wide range of local, national and international clients instruct the firm. The commercial offering, which is best known for advising on complex contract matters, is spearheaded by Sarah Bell and Peter Brook. The former is particularly well regarded for knowledge of the government sector, while the latter acts as the national practice head. On the corporate side, James Kerrigan is the key name to note. Other notable team members include Gemma Cowap and legal director Paddy Dwyer.

Practice head(s):

James Kerrigan; Sarah Bell

Other key lawyers:

Peter Brook; Gemma Cowap; Paddy Dwyer; Michael Hudson

Testimonials

‘Our go-to team for legal contract and commercial matters. They have a wide range of expertise and can be relied on to provide well thought through advice that is tailored to our organisational constraints.’

‘Peter Brook makes himself available, however busy he is on other work, is happy to talk through the situation at hand, provides high quality legal advice and brings in colleagues to advise on specific matters where required.’

Key clients

arvato Group

Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd t/a Barclays Partner Finance

Duracell

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

Liverpool Football Club

PetrolValves Srl

QA Limited

Suttons Group

UK Government (Cabinet Office, Department for Transport, Natural Environment Research Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Crown Commercial Services, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, HMRC, FCDO)

Unilever

Whirlpool

Sciontec

Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Limited

The Contact Company

Work highlights

  • Advised the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on over eleven procurements, supporting both COP26 and G7.
  • Assisting with the development of Sciontec, including advising on its formation, appropriate structures, grant funding, trade marks, and employment and contractual matters.
  • Advised on the set-up and investment strategy of a new company, LCR Ventures, which (supported with £7.5m of funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and in conjunction with the North West Innovation Agency) will provide business incubator services and proof of concept investment funding to high potential SMEs in the Liverpool City Region.

Hill Dickinson LLP

On the corporate side, Hill Dickinson LLP is known for its ability to successfully close transactions, especially those with a nexus to private equity and international work, on behalf of a wide range of mid-market clients. In 2021, Craig Scott was promoted to become leader of the firm’s Business Services Group, while Matt Noon acts as head of the corporate, banking and commercial offering in Liverpool. Michael Murphy is a key contact for work in the manufacturing and real estate sectors, while seasoned practitioner Jonathan Brown is instructed by many of the group’s leading private company clients. For M&A, Mike Jones and Sue Russell  are both recommended. In terms of recommended legal directors, the department fields Elan Iorwerth and Graeme Alder; the latter is the name to note for commercial mandates.

Practice head(s):

Craig Scott; Matt Noon

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brown; Mike Jones; Sue Russell; Michael Murphy; Graeme Alder; Elan Iorwerth

Testimonials

‘At all times they have been great partners of our company – always helpful, involved in the business, and effective, efficient and responsive when we have needed them, sometimes at short notice. They are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Matt Noon – responsive, extremely knowledgeable, great at introducing other specialists, and always works to the fee he has quoted.’

‘Strengths are the accessibility of the staff along with their detailed knowledge and experience in the sector and experience at getting deals over the line.’

‘The team is generally strong, but the lead partner Craig Scott has been outstanding in his availability, advice and approach. The practical approach and can-do ethos ensures deals progress smoothly.’

‘Personal, attentive service. Always contactable and client facing in response.’

‘Hill Dickinson consistently punch above their weight and have demonstrated an ability to serve us effectively over multiple practice areas with a joined up overall approach.’

‘Craig Scott has been a trusted advisor and brings a pragmatic and commercial approach to all his dealings. He understands the key issues for businesses, and quickly gets to the heart of this.’

‘Matt Noon is our go-to adviser, but what makes Hill Dickinson important to us is the team behind him. Elan Iorwerth has become a real asset to our team, her professional approach and can do attitude gives us confidence that we will get the right outcome for the business. Their coordinated team approach give us the edge!’

Key clients

Fishawack Health Group

Tactus Holdings Limited

Challenge-Trg Group

Richard Baker Harrison Limited

Bromborough Paint & Building Supplies Limited

Downing Students

Broadway Partners Limited – Management/Shareholders

Dprs Liverpool Limited

Barber of Sheffield

Mercia Asset Management and Management Team

Sf Parks Limited

Nkt Group A/S

Redde Northgate Plc

Jade Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Downing Students on its £388m disposal of the Project Jura portfolio of 4 Guernsey Unit Trust structures to Greystar Europe relating to four student developments and one build to rent portfolio based across London, Manchester and Coventry.
  • Advising Broadway’s management on a £145m debt and equity investment from Downing LLP to support the company’s rollout of fibre broadband to rural communities across Wales and Scotland.
  • Advising Tactus Holdings on its acquisition of CCL Computers from Adrian Clifford Wood.

Bermans

Although the team at Bermans is proficient at advising larger businesses on their regional and national corporate and commercial needs, the firm also maintains a core client base of local SMEs. Family businesses, entrepreneurs, management teams, professional partnerships, charities and institutional investors regularly instruct the group to assist with matters ranging from M&A to shareholder reorganisations. Sectors of particular strength include automotive, retail, pharmaceuticals and telecoms. Practice head Anton Stirrett oversees the work, frequently supported by senior associate Catherine Lo.

Practice head(s):

Anton Stirrett

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Lo

Key clients

Datco Healthcare Limited

Trederwen Springs 2008 Limited

Jark 2 Limited

GRV Media Limited

GRS Contractors Limited

Butterworth Spengler Limited

Access Personal Checking Services Limited

Aerocare Group (Warrington) Limited

Brookes Bell LLP

Senate Mech Limited

Keywest Group Limited

UFW Holdco Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Butterworth Spengler on their management buyout following investment from JM Glendinning.
  • Advising Credit Investments on its acquisition of the business and assets of Beacon Fell View Holiday Park from Sam Hagan Leisure.
  • Advising Jark 2 on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Peer Funding.

DWF

Under the guidance of Ben Cooke, the commercial offering at DWF continues to act for a notable portfolio of blue chip clients, with a focus on those in the retail sector. On the corporate side, Liz Clark takes the lead and is noted particularly for her M&A expertise. In October 2021, senior associate Christine Williams joined the team from Clyde & Co, bringing with her considerable in-house experience from her time as head of legal at Liverpool Airport. Seasoned practitioner Paul Rimmer is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Ben Cooke; Liz Clark

Other key lawyers:

Paul Rimmer; Christine Williams

Testimonials

‘In all of my dealings with DWF, they are extremely responsive. They have always met or exceeded all of our expectations, providing clarity where required and concluding matters with total professionalism.’

‘They take total ownership of the relationship and deliver what they say they will to both time and budget.’

Key clients

Homebase

AS Watson

Ocado Retail

Burton Biscuits

Optionis Group

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

Aurelius Private Equity

Prefequity

Pact Coffee

ACC Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University

Elvie

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

IMC

Prefequity

Work highlights

  • Advised Integrated Medhealth Communication Group on its acquisitions of R2R Holdings, JLW Communications, Wedgewood Communications and Fusion Animation.
  • Advised the founder shareholders and management team of the Village Bakery Group on an investment by Limerston Capital.
  • Assisting Homebase with a range of commercial contracts, including concessions, logistics and IT.

O'Connors

Following the departure of John Spofforth in January 2022, the team at O’Connors is now under the dual leadership of David Malone and Michael Ainsworth, who head up the corporate and commercial sides, respectively. The firm is known for providing transactional, contractual, regulatory and insurance advice to UK-based businesses which are active all over the world. The group’s strength at the junior level was recently further increased by the arrival of Craig Geraghty from Bedell Cristin; he joins a strong associate bench which also includes Natasha Collins. At the senior end, Mark O’Connor continues to provide seasoned advice.

Practice head(s):

David Malone; Michael Ainsworth

Other key lawyers:

Mark O’Connor; Natasha Collins; Craig Geraghty

Testimonials

‘The team had a deep commercial knowledge that enabled me to successfully manage my transaction.’

‘Mark O’Connor was extremely responsive and gave me expert counsel.’

‘In all cases, the team is responsive, insightful and can be relied upon for well balanced advice.’

‘The team is incredibly client-focused and able to tailor its approach to the needs of its individual client and/or transaction and is able to pull together resources rapidly and effectively as required. The collective approach manifests itself through collective targets, rather than individual targets, which really enhances team work and collaboration.’

‘Mark O’Connor – expertise, commercial acumen, relationship, legal knowledge.’

‘David Malone and Natasha Collins are noted for their availability, pro-activity and knowledge.’

‘They co-work in teams which means there is always someone available to deal with any issue that arises, and that knows exactly how our company operates. Total transparency with regards to billing.’

‘Mark O’Connor: his legal knowledge is exceptional and he is also able to give pragmatic and practical advice on how to deal with different situations.’

Key clients

Lucid Games

MSB Law

MAPD Ventures

PHD Equity Partners

Right To Dream

Assista Consulting

Pescado

Apposing

Click Dealer

Work highlights

  • Advised PHD Equity Partners on the sale of its investments to a new independent holding company for £24m.
  • Advised the owners of Pescado on the sale of the company to Arrow Business Communications.
  • Advised the Moxham family on the sale of their shareholdings in Click Dealer to a private equity-backed buyer, Evolution Funding Group.

DTM Legal LLP

DTM Legal LLP is known for forming strong partner-led relationships with the owners and board level management teams of a diverse range of SMEs, owner-managed and family businesses, and larger corporates based both in Liverpool and further afield. Recently, the group has seen an increase in complex restructuring work as well as in instructions from alternative funding organisations and banks. Practice head Edward Barnes and experienced practitioner Philip Whitehurst are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Edward Barnes

Other key lawyers:

Philip Whitehurst

Key clients

Evoke Creative Limited

Esterform Packaging Limited

Daisy & Jake Day Nursery Limited

Vast Visibility Limited

Heap & Partners Limited

Marine Specialised Technology Limited

Typhoo Tea Limited

Karl Vella Group Limited

Future Moto Limited

Staffords Limited

Pharmadaggio Limited

Harts Caravan Park Limited

Adapt Formwork Limited

Soundtesting Limited

HPAPI Project Services Limited

C Wynne & Sons Limited

Evolution Costs Limited

Lewis Reed (WAV) Limited

Smylie Limited

Whole House Ventilation Services Limited

Formwork Direct International Ltd

Ellesey and Company (Lancs) Limited

Atom Scientific Limited

Airship Images Limited

Maes Dolau Caravan Park Limited

Cambria Caravan Park Limited

Esterpet Limited

Hood Seating Limited

Two Mills Asset Management Limited

Clancy Consulting Limited

Wayne Austin IFA Limited

L51 Developments Limited

North West Roller Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the shareholders and management of North West Roller Services on the sale of the company to management and private equity investors.
  • Advising Typhoo Tea on the acquisition by Zetland Capital of a majority shareholding in the company.
  • Advising the shareholders of E Massey Transport on the sale of the entire issued share capital of that company with deferred consideration, associated security, lease back of the premises and an option to purchase the freehold property.

Glenville Walker & Partners

At Glenville Walker & Partners, the team is well versed in the full gamut of corporate and commercial mandates, particularly those at the intersection with banking, property or intellectual property law. Denise Walker leads the department, which also fields noted practitioners Joanne Shelley and Phil Rees-Roberts.

Practice head(s):

Denise Walker

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Shelley; Phil Rees-Roberts

Key clients

Finer Engineering

Be Victorious Fitness

Presidential Care Limited

Inc Retail Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Inc Retail Group with the acquisition of shares in national multi-site food-to-go operator Chop’d.
  • Advised the sole shareholder on the re-structure and sale of the entire issued share capital in Staveley Holdings to Communicate Better Holdings.
  • Advised MLD Global on its sale to DataCo International UK.

Weightmans LLP

At Weightmans LLP, corporate and commercial work is overseen by Seray Kitchingman and Tom Trowhill, respectively. The firm continues to be known for its private company M&A work and is increasingly making a name for itself in cross-border mandates. Competition law expert Laurence Pritchard and managing partner John Schorah are both recommended, as is principal associate Michael Murphy.

Practice head(s):

Seray Kitchingman; Tom Trowhill

Other key lawyers:

Roland Hutchins; Laurence Pritchard; Michael Murphy; Sean Crotty; John Schorah

Testimonials

‘Weightmans has consistently provided the right resource at the right time helping us to make the right decisions to both move the business forward and mitigate the risks. The commercial advice they offer us is exactly that, commercial. We do not operate in a world of black and white and the partners and associates who are dedicated to our account understand that.’

‘They truly understand what it means to be an advisor to a business. Whilst they understand we plan ahead, there are always challenges that need to be faced at a moment’s notice and both Roland Hutchins and Tom Trowhill at Weightmans always make themselves available to take a Teams call, mobile call, face to face meeting and so on to ensure they keep helping us make the right decisions for the business.’

‘The team is very responsive and has an in-depth knowledge of our business in the UK. M&A and other corporate matters are dealt with swiftly and with good insights.’

‘Roland Hutchins is very responsive and eager to help also outside of normal business hours. Very knowledgeable in corporate and banking matters.’

‘Very responsive and able to work to tight timelines. Good use of the wider team across the specialisms.’

‘Dedicated and professional, delivered a first class service under time pressure’

Key clients

OBG Pharmaceuticals Limited

Liverpool Media Academy (LMA)

Rösler UK Limited

Indigo Environmental Group

Duality Group

HealthNet Homecare Limited

EDP Health, Safety & Environment Consultants Ltd

Archibald Bathgate Group

Sutcliffe Engineers

MSIF

Goonhilly Earth Station Limited

Park Holdings Limited

S. Norton & Co. Limited

TuffX Processed Glass Limited

George Roberts (North West) Limited

Great Ideas Group Limited

Seventeen Group

BES

Dimerco

Manchester Fertility Clinic

Mersey Docks & Harbour Company

Merseytravel

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust

St Helens & Knowsley NHS Trust

Cheshire East Council

Gwynedd Council

Liverpool City Council

Markel Insurance

Zurich Insurance

Coversure

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders on the sale of the entire issued share capital of of GJC Holdings and Tuff X Processed Glass to Alcuin Capital Partners, and reinvestment by John Tierney to include a 40% stake in the buyer Project Crystal Topco.
  • Advised HSS Hire Group on the commercial contracts relating to its sale of its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business – All Seasons Hire – to Cross Rental Service.
  • Advised Side on a variety of voice talent and motion capture agreements with high-profile actors in relation to a number of high quality titles.