Corporate and commercial: Manchester in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

Handling big-ticket M&A, private equity, equity capital markets and corporate real estate deals, the team at Addleshaw Goddard is distinguished through the breadth of its offering. Practice head Paul Medlicott represents major private equity houses, both those based in the North West and those investing in the region, as well as M&A matters in the personal care, household care and beauty business sectors. Another key name, Andrew Green, is an expert in corporate and private equity transactions, while Roger Hart is a specialist in IPOs and corporate finance. Managing associate George Danczak is an up-and-coming name, advising buyers, sellers and institutional investors on a broad array of corporate transactions. The team has recently been advising JD Sports on its high-profile £90m bid for Footasylum.

Practice head(s):

Paul Medlicott

Testimonials

‘The practice attracts high calibre individuals outside of London as well as in London’

‘Richard Lee is quite simply the most outstanding lawyer I have worked with. His advice is commercially sound. His knowledge, interpretation and application of the law gives the client complete confidence in his advice’.

 

Key clients

Zeus Capital Limited and Jeffries International Limited

JD Sports Fashion plc

Peel Group

Literacy Capital plc and Vista Bidco Limited

KCOM Group Public Limited Company

The Pebble Group plc

Shareholders of Safety Media Ltd

IP Group plc

PZ Cussons plc

Proseal (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Zeus Capital and Jeffries International in their role as joint bookrunners in the placing of shares in Boohoo Group plc by founder shareholders, Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane, to institutional investors via an accelerated bookbuild.
  • Acting on the sale of Dukosi Limited to KCK Investment Group.
  • Advising The Pebble Group in respect of the placing of new and existing shares and the admission of its ordinary shares to trading on AIM.

DLA Piper

Pragmatic and commercially focused’, DLA Piper's team is jointly led by private equity expert James Kerrigan and Lee Brierley, a ‘fantastic lawyer and negotiator’, whose practice is geared towards complex commercial projects. Andrew Phillips is another name to note on the private equity front, while Yunus Maka and Jonathan Watkins are transactional specialists, handling a range of domestic and international deals. Senior associate David Booth is recommended for a broad array of commercial contracts, notably leading the firm’s local manufacturing department and co-heading its UK franchising practice. Though active in a variety of industries, the team has recently made a conscious effort to grow its payments and fintech sector offering.

Practice head(s):

James Kerrigan; Lee Brierley

Testimonials

‘DLA Piper are extremely responsive and have great strength in depth. They are pragmatic and commercially focused but also know their stuff. From past experience they provide a more business focused approach than other firms I have come across, adding real value to the transaction.’

‘My go-to partner is Lee Brierley. We have worked together for many years. He is a fantastic lawyer and great negotiator. Vastly experienced, technically first class and commercially astute; he gets the deal done. He really adds value around the commercial aspects of the deal. He has been there and done it many times, so has a real feel for the market.’

‘The team listens, understands the purpose, is pragmatic and takes the carefully considered direction of the lead partner and sticks to the brief given.’

‘Focused, attentive, tenacious, do the detail, and fair and robust with their solution.’

Key clients

ABM Industries Inc

BASF

Beech Tree Private Equity

Clariant

Talk Talk Telecom Group plc

Flowtech Fluidpower plc

Lloyds Development Capital

NCC Group plc

Nichols plc

Verna Group

Bajaj

Belstaff

Biffa Group Limited

Crown Commercial Service

Elavon

Experian

Key Retirement Group

Molson Coors

Next

Payvision (part of ING Bank)

The Co-Operative Bank

The Hut Group

Transport for the North

Work highlights

  • Advised TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC on the sale of FibreNation Limited to CityFibre for an aggregate cash consideration of £200m.
  • Advised new client AO World on its strategic partnership with Vodafone.
  • Advised the management of Keoghs on LDC’s exit and management buyout backed by Davies Group.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Michael Birchall heads the practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP following his high-profile arrival from Addleshaw Goddard in late 2019; he arrives with extensive experience of advising both public and private companies on acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations and financing projects. Daniel Hall is a star name for public bids and fundraisings, while Alistair Cree focuses on M&A work in the aerospace, defence and indirect real estate sectors. Tom Bridgford handles commercial contracts and outsourcing, while legal director Jamie Partridge is recommended for corporate finance with Elizabeth Tindall actively working on private equity, an area of particular focus for the team. The team is routinely engaged for multi-jurisdictional matters and also counts real estate and chemicals among its core industries of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Michael Birchall

Key clients

BAE Systems plc

Terra Firma

Four Seasons Healthcare Limited

Kingspan Group plc

Urban Splash

Sovereign Capital Partners

Northedge Capital

Zeus Capital

Peel Holdings Group

European Metal Recycling Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised regeneration company Urban Splash on its multimillion-pound joint venture with Sekisui House, and Homes England to deliver thousands of new homes across England.
  • Advising Terra Firma, a private equity firm, on its proposed disposal of the Brighterkind care home portfolio to Barchester Healthcare.
  • Advised NorthEdge on the take-private of Catalis Group, an independent video game company.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's team is praised for being ‘very commercial, hard-working and results driven’. Samantha Livesey, an expert in the retail, consumer, manufacturing and technology industries, jointly oversees the practice with energy and infrastructure specialist Helen Ridge. Kieran Toal and Amie Norris are particularly reputed for private equity matters, including those with an international element. Senior associate Alasdair Weir, hailed for his client care skills, is one to watch on the corporate finance front. Commercial contract matters are an additional strength, including supply chain, franchising, agency and outsourcing agreements. The public and sports sectors are also industries of focus.

Practice head(s):

Samantha Livesey; Helen Ridge

Other key lawyers:

Alasdair Weir; Kieran Toal; Amie Norris

Testimonials

‘Samantha Livesey has really got to know our business and helps to provide practicable solutions. She always makes herself readily available and follows up to help keep things ticking over. I really appreciate her support and feel she is part of the team on this project.’

‘Very commercial, hard-working and results driven team.’

‘Kieran Toal is a very commercial and pragmatic individual. Always at the end of the phone when needed and willing to get stuck into the detail, which I have found rare at partner level in other firms.

‘The team takes a more flexible approach than some peers, in that they adapted their approach to meet our particular requirements rather than trying to shoehorn us in with a standard industry approach.’

‘Alasdair Weir has good client care skills and all-round knowledge.’

‘A fantastic team who can be relied upon for the most demanding and complex transaction. They are the team I go to when the stakes are high.’

‘Helen Ridge is a first-class project manager. She gets to grips with a transaction and manages it across the finishing line. Her experience and approach instils confidence in senior management teams.

‘Anna Whetham is an exceptional lawyer. I would always want her on my side of the table in negotiations.’

Key clients

Livingbridge EP LLP

Ardenton Capital Investments Limited

Inflexion Private Equity Partners LLP

Peel Ports

Kids Planet Day Nurseries Limited

Lily’s Kitchen

JUUL Labs

Jockey Club Racecourses Limited

English Golf Union Limited

Innovative Vector Control Consortium

Vaultex Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Peel Ports Group on its joint venture with Terminal Investments Limited in respect of the Liverpool2 container terminal.
  • Advised Inflexion Private Equity Partners LLP on its investment in the Project Neptune group of companies to facilitate the acquisition by Project Neptune Bidco Limited of Creative Car Park Holdings Ltd.
  • Advised Jockey Club Racecourses on its major sponsorship deals including with entities such as Bentley Motorcars, Britvic and PaddyPower Betfair.

CMS

Led by Howard Gill, the Manchester corporate team at CMS prides itself on the quality of its M&A offering. Corporate real estate and hotel deals are the team’s established forte, although the arrival of Matthew Davies from Addleshaw Goddard has come as part of a push into transactions in the financial services sector. Other core industries include healthcare, technology, retail and infrastructure. The team often handles multijurisdictional deals, leveraging the wider firm's huge global reach.

Practice head(s):

Howard Gill

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Davies

Key clients

Far East Consortium International Limited

RDI REIT P.L.C.

International Hotel Properties Limited

Manchester Airport Group

UK Fast.net Limited

Select Property Group

Spectrum Brands Group

Brooks Macdonald Funds Limited

Ground Rents Income Fund plc

Bibby Line Group Limited

Costcutter Supermarkets Group Limited

JumboDiset Group

Yappy Limited

International Currency Exchange Limited

R. Raphael & Sons PLC

Lenlyn Holdings Limited

UAE Exchange Limited

ADIB (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Manchester Airport Group on the sale of one of its property holding companies for a significant consideration sum.
  • Acted for Ground Rents Income Fund in connection with the cancellation of their share premium account (in the amount of £45m) through the court approved process and the regularisation of interim dividends made otherwise than in accordance with the Companies Act 2006.
  • Advised European puzzles and games company JumboDiset  on its acquisition of 100% of the share capital of the Cheadle based toy company, James Galt & Co Ltd.

DWF

At DWF, the team's commercial work spans manufacturing, supply and logistics agreements, among others. On the corporate side, the firm handles private equity, M&A and local and central government governance matters. Key figures include national commercial and competition head Craig Chaplin, national corporate head Frank Shephard and private equity head Jonathan Robinson.

Squire Patton Boggs

The team at Squire Patton Boggs is well regarded for providing 'sensible, commercially focused advice’. With a distinct focus on mid-market transactions, Giles Chesher oversees the practice, leveraging his expertise in private equity and the technology sector. James Fitzgibbon, an expert in the energy sector, is another noteworthy name for private equity while Darren Warburton is the go-to name for matters in the chemical manufacturing industry. M&A, capital markets and work for institutional investors are also core strengths, as are the financial services and corporate real estate sectors. Director Emma Ball leads the commercial team in Manchester; while recent hires have included well-regarded legal director Louise Barber, who joined in August 2019 from Pets at Home Group, where she was group legal director.

Practice head(s):

Giles Chesher

Testimonials

The team at Squires provide sensible, commercially focused advice. They cut through the issues and provide practical solutions to problems; they aren’t afraid to get off the fence and offer opinions on the right way forward. I find them thorough, reliable and friendly.’

‘Emma Ball takes no nonsense and cuts right to the heart of issues. She presents commercially sensible and pragmatic solutions.

‘Louise Barber brings her experience of in-house legal to the firm. This allows her to see issues from the company’s perspective and provide business focused advice in a format that a non-lawyer can easily understand.’

‘Very proactive in responding to requests and the large network spanning across so many territories facilitates continued business growth.’

‘James Fitzgibbon and Louise Barber are recommended’.

Key clients

Studio Retail Group plc

Finance Yorkshire Limited

The Coaching Inn Group Limited

GB Group

Endless

ECI Partners LLP

North Edge

LDC

Miss Group

BGF

Work highlights

  • Advised London Stock Exchange main market listed Studio Retail Group plc in connection with its class 1 disposal of Findel Education Limited to the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation for £50m.
  • Advised ECI Partners LLP on the management buyout of KB Associates, an independent provider of management company (UCITS and AIFMD) and consulting services.
  • Advised GB Group plc, a UK company with shares listed on the AIM, on its $301m acquisition by merger of Atlanta, Georgia-based IDology, Inc.

Brabners LLP

The ‘hard-working and personable’ team at Brabners LLP is jointly led by Sam Mabon and Richard Hough, supported by the experienced Tony Harper, who has a track record of work on corporate transactions for entrepreneurial businesses, as well as housing association finance and governance matters. M&A specialist Caroline Litchfield has extensive knowledge of the motor industry, while Simon Lewis' strengths include shareholders agreements, acquisitions and the childcare sector. The team directs its focus towards the mid-market and is also adept in the sport, technology, healthcare and hotel industries. The recent arrival of tech sector head Piers Dryden from Ogier has also boosted the firm's fintech offering.

Practice head(s):

Sam Mabon; Richard Hough

Testimonials

‘The team at Brabners are hardworking, personable and go the extra mile. They work tirelessly to ensure that your project passes with the very highest standard of legal advice.’

‘Well-structured team. Clear advice and good communicators.’

‘They are a team of individuals I can trust. Their advice and work ethic are top quality. Tony Harper has great knowledge in his core sector and this is something which has benefited our firm greatly.’

Key clients

Football Ventures (Whites) Limited

Ian Brown and Mark Gibson

Wooshii Limited

Peter and Diane Hammon

Brayleys Cars Limited

Mansion Property Management Limited

Parcel2Go.com Limited

Codeweavers Ltd

Goalgiving Ltd

Leicester City Football Club and Barnsley FC

Bridgestone UK (Limited) (also known as Bridgestone Tyres)

Begbies Traynor Group plc (including Eddisons, surveyors)

Bitspread

Seddon Construction Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Football Ventures on the purchase of the business and assets of Bolton Wanderers Football & Athletic Company Limited (in administration) and Bolton Whites Hotel Limited (in administration).
  • Advised on the preparation of a suite of contracts between Codeweavers and a number of significant businesses in the automotive sector pursuant to which Codeweavers design and build innovative software solutions for the automotive industry.
  • Advised Brayleys Cars on the acquisition of Thames Honda, a group operating Honda dealerships.

Fieldfisher

The team at Fieldfisher is praised for 'adding significant value to Manchester and the region', handling a range of work relating to brand development, e-commerce, franchising, merchandising and sponsorship. James Corlett serves as team head together with David Bowcock, who has particular strength in the technology and healthcare sectors. The practice also handles M&A, venture capital and private equity transactions. Retail is an addition sector strength, as are the life sciences and food and beverages industries. Associate Adam Jones is 'unflappable, with a mature approach beyond his years'.

Practice head(s):

David Bowcock; James Corlett

Other key lawyers:

Tom Ward; James Corlett; Adam Jones

Testimonials

‘The team has significant experience in corporate law, around corporate finance, particularly for a listed business on the LSE, and in M&A. They also have a wider level of service for corporates and owner management around employment and property law. The team work well together and are well joined-up. This team is adding significant value to Manchester and the region.’

‘David Bowcock has very significant corporate law experience across a broad range of areas. He is a partner who is very hands-on – he acts as a business partner and not just a consultant and is a key asset to the firm.’

‘The team is always available and accessible. The advice is pragmatic and the fees are very fair.’

‘We work with David Bowcock who is knowledgeable and straightforward.’

‘Adam Jones is superb. Unflappable, with a mature approach beyond his years.’

‘We work with the team on a secondment basis with members of the team integrated into our business. This works especially well for our business as the team develop a deep knowledge of our activities, we are also able to tap into their wider network very quickly for specialist advice where necessary.’

‘James Corlett and Michelle Sheen have been fantastic over the last twelve months in all dealings with them. Their attention to detail, commercial support and ability to breakdown complex matters into layman’s terms is second to none.’

Key clients

Restore plc

Marlowe plc

Allegion plc

Velocity Composites plc

Jaywing plc

Aurora Fashions

Lacoste UK Ltd

Accenture

Intertrust

Ernst & Young

Work highlights

  • Advised Marlowe plc on seven deals in 2019 including its purchase of Clearwater Technology Group Limited from Baird Capital.
  • Advised Aurora Fashions on its international franchising, intellectual property, licensing and e-commerce strategy.
  • Advised Alderley Park based precision medicine biotech company Kinomica on its spin-out from Barts Cancer Institute and seed financing led by Alderley Park Ventures and Mobeus Technology.

Gateley Plc

Clients recommend Gateley Plc for ‘the breadth and depth of expertise across its strong team’. The practice focuses on M&A and corporate finance matters, both specific specialisms of practice head Charles Glaskie, as well as joint ventures, development capital investments and management buy-outs, also handled by the experienced Rebecca Grisewood. Paul Jefferson is reputed for his experience in private equity deals with Stephen Roberts handling M&A for public and private companies, banks, selling shareholders and US companies, among other overseas corporations.

Practice head(s):

Charles Glaskie

Testimonials

‘The team has breadth and depth of expertise and is responsive and adept at handling variations and quirks from deal to deal. Partners are hands on and always closely in touch, but also give juniors their head.’

‘Mark Halliwell is a highly experienced corporate lawyer.’

‘Steve Roberts and Chris Dunn are key partners.’

Key clients

Inspired Energy Plc

Palatine Private Equity

LDC investment

Just Childcare Limited

Praetura Ventures

Kinaxia Transport and Warehousing Limited

Vision Support Services Global Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised LDC on its investment into MSQ Partners, a multi-disciplinary group of digital, creative, branding and PR agencies that specialises in working for consumer and B2B brands, and the public sector.
  • Advised the sellers of Vision Support Services Global Limited on the sale of the entire share capital to US based buyer, WestPoint Home.
  • Advised on the Management Buy-Out of Lucion Services, backed by Palatine Private Equity.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP’s mid-market focused North West corporate team is best known for its equity capital markets, private equity and M&A work. Jointly led by Ian Gillis and Mark Fitzgibbon, the practice prides itself on its reputation for commerciality and successfully closing transactions. Key client sectors include logistics, health, manufacturing, education, retail, leisure, tech and local government. Other key partners include the 'brilliant' Ian Riggs, Jonathan Gillow and David Mkhitarian.

Practice head(s):

Ian Gillis; Mark Fitzgibbon

Testimonials

‘The team is extremely responsive, always acknowledging requests within a day, and working to timeframe agreed.’

‘They have the ability to understand any given situation and can respond effectively and quickly – they provide great counsel on many situations.’

‘The team is knowledgeable and flexible.’

‘Ian Riggs – just brilliant.’

Key clients

Stobart Group

Sykes Cottages

Trilanco

BGF

Seneca Partners

Parkwood Holdings

NorthEdge

PHD Equity Partners

Waterland Private Equity

Zeus Capital

Sys Group plc

PAM Group

Thermo Electric (Management Services) Limited

Fishawack Communications Limited

Rochdale Borough Council

Master Distributor Limited

Liverpool City Council

Kuehne + Negal Limited

Health Education England

NHS England

Greenwood & Coope Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Stobart Group Limited in respect of the recommended cash offer for the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Flybe Group plc by Connect Airways Limited.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Harry Peers Steelwork on the sale of Harry Peers Steelwork, a family business established in 1933, to Severfield plc.
  • Acting for Rochdale Borough Council in connection with a variety of regeneration / redevelopment projects in the borough which have been either starting or nearing completion in the borough over the past 12 months.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP's sector strengths include media, healthcare, technology, food and beverage, retail and property. The team's notably broad workload includes high-value corporate deals, M&A, private equity, management buyouts, commercial agreements, joint ventures and corporate governance issues. Chris Ross and Chris Wilkinson jointly head the department alongside Paul Knight, who has recently led on an array of projects for NHS and independent sector clients.

Testimonials

‘Very solution orientated. Happy to concede on points where other matters are important.’

‘Excellent client management.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Genesys Holdings Limited (Project London Jack)

2CRSI SA

ADC Biotechnology Limited

CorpAcq Limited

Preventx Limited

Waterland Private Equity

Trevor Morris, Ashik Dossajee and others – Shareholders in Human Support Group Limited

Spirit (Data Capture) Limited

Alderburgh (Project Stack)

Work highlights

  • Advising the sellers of Genesys Holdings Limited, a global provider of water filtration services, on a sale to Canadian listed buyer, H2O Innovation Inc.
  • Advising French listed client, 2CRSI SA in connection with an acquisition of a majority interest in Boston Limited, an international provider of integration, sales and marketing of IT equipment.
  • Advising the shareholders of Preventx Holdings Limited in a sale to Synova Private Equity, one of the largest in the health/life sciences sector this year.

Shoosmiths LLP

The ‘very knowledgeable, personable and efficient’ corporate team at Shoosmiths LLP, led by Karen Procter, is routinely engaged for M&A, private equity and venture capital investments, in addition to real estate and regeneration transactions. Richard Millington leads on the commercial front, overseeing a team which is active in the telecoms, financial services and sport sectors.

Practice head(s):

Karen Procter; Richard Millington

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgeable, personable and efficient team.’

‘Understanding and empathetic as well as great at the legal work. Conscientious and always available.’

‘They have knowledge in different areas are available to provide support to us. There is a flexible pricing model based on our firm size and commercial limitation. Also, they provide immediate communication through various means.’

Key clients

Matillion Limited

ThinkSmart Limited

Malvern International PLC

Xtrac Transmissions Holdings Limited

Eurogarages

Foresight Group LLP

James Hall & Co

NorthEdge Capital

Billington Holdings plc

Gaist Holdings Limited

Arcis Biotechnology

YFM Equity Partners

The Alchemist Bars & Restaurants

Select Property Group

Versant Hotels Limited

Consilia Investments Limited

Snap Finance Investments LLC

Radius Payment Solutions Limited

The AMR Centre Limited

The Football Association

N Brown Group plc

Cellnex

Audacious Mobile

Goshawk Communications

Gattaca

H&M

Hamleys

Tesco Mobile

Work highlights

  • Advised long-standing client Matillion, the cloud-based software developer, in a major Series C fundraising of $35m.
  • Advised The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames on its major £850m regeneration project to redevelop the Cambridge Road Estate, which will involve the construction of over 2,500 new homes.
  • Acting as the lead UK advisor to Cellnex Telecom who are bidding for the TfL Mobile Commercialisation tender, which will see 4G deployed on the underground, a new fibre network installed to connect public buildings in London, wi-fi at stations being taken over and deployment of 5G throughout the London streetscape.

TLT

TLT's team, which is reputed for its ‘excellent knowledge and ability’ was boosted in mid-2019 by the arrival of a team from HRC Law led by partners Richard Life and Mark Traynor. The practice's core areas of expertise cover AIM IPOs, private equity and venture capital transactions, M&A, group reorganisations and joint ventures. The department is led by Ian Roberts and Stuart Campbell and handles collaboration agreements, franchising, sponsorships, licensing and outsourcings, among other matters. Key sectors include leisure, retail, healthcare, digital, financial services, fashion and consumer goods.

Practice head(s):

Ian Roberts; Stuart Campbell

Testimonials

‘The team in has excellent knowledge and ability. They are legal and commercial.’

‘Their service levels are very high; they are incredibly responsive. Richard Life has a great knack of cutting through the issues to get to a commercial solution and he is very clued-up on the fashion sector.’

‘All members of the team are technically competent, reliable and efficient.   Pragmatic and commercial. Good response times, always contactable, even out of hours.  Friendly, approachable and easy to work with.’

‘Ian Roberts is highly experienced, particularly in private equity transactions.  Pragmatic and commercial also.’

‘Elizabeth Delaney is technically very competent, highly organised, efficient, focused and responsive.’

Key clients

Bertram Nursery Group

Medtrade Products Limited

Shareholders of Lima Networks Limited

Shareholders of Reflections Nursery Group

Shareholders of Argent & Waugh Ltd

C-Map Software Limited

Landwood Group

Royal Museums Greenwich

Yorkshire Building Society

Elavon Financial Services DAC

A leading national clearing bank

Texecom Limited

Spa Medica

Elmscot Nursery Group

Mavern Capital Partners LLP

Beiersdorf

Work highlights

  • Appointed as sole legal adviser to the Royal Museums Greenwich, incorporating the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark in London.
  • Acted for Medtrade on the investment of £23m from Tikehau Capital.
  • Appointed by Waltham Forest as sole supplier of legal services in relation to its London Borough of Culture appointment.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP, which has longstanding expertise in private company M&A work for owner managed business, has also recently seen an increase in international work on behalf of large corporates. Additional strengths include commercial contracts, corporate finance, private equity, joint ventures, corporate governance and strategic projects. Led by the ‘exceptionalSarah Walton, the group has specialist knowledge in the tech, retail, healthcare, utilities, manufacturing and public sectors. Paul Raftery is praised for his 'unbelievable knowledge and expertise'.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Walton

Testimonials

‘They are very practical in the advice they give; giving pragmatic thought to the best interests of our businesses. They set deadlines and comply with them and act within the agreed budgets that are set.’

‘Paul Raftery is always available – day, night or weekends if we need him. He goes that extra mile to get the best deal done for us and again this is backed up by sensible, straightforward and easily understandable advice. He is also backed by a very competent team.’

‘Sarah Walton is exceptional with her communication and negotiation skills.’

‘I have worked with this firm for many years, buying and selling many companies. They have expertise in all areas with many different professionals coming together in a one-stop shop, to deliver all that is needed. Great staff and very professional.’

‘Paul Raftery is the best in the business – he has absolutely unbelievable knowledge and expertise. Works all hours and always on call to advise and help. Can’t ask for a better person to deal with and advise when needed.’

‘Commerciality and practicality, backed up by strong technical skills.’

Key clients

Sonoco Limited

ANS Group Limited

Apadmi Limited

PHD Equity Partners LLP

Luxfer Group

Cybertill Limited

Planixs GRP Limited

Slush Puppie Limited

Well pharmacy

Lucideon Limited

MYA Plastic Surgery Limited

Minerals Technology Inc/Amcol International

Dimerco Express Group Limited

Manuli Rubber Industries

Chiesi Limited

School Lettings Solutions Limited

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Wigan Council

Cheshire East Council

Derbyshire County Council

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Sussex Police

Surrey Police

Lancashire Police

British Transport Police

Great Ormond Street Hospital

The Open University

University of West London

Southampton Solent University

Birmingham City University

University of Central London

Westminster University

Cumbria

University of Liverpool

Manchester Metropolitan University

Queen Mary University of London

University of Wolverhampton

University of East Anglia

Work highlights

  • Advised US sustainable packaging specialist Sonoco on the $187m acquisition of Plastique Holdings and Thermoform Engineered Quality, a global manufacturer of thermoformed packaging serving the healthcare, medical device and consumer markets.
  • Advised ANS Group on its acquisition of the Alithya UK operations, from its US parent, Alithya Zero2Ten, Inc.
  • Advised DSW Angels on the £10m contractual commitment from British Business Investments, a commercial subsidiary of British Business Bank, to co-invest with DSW Angels from the £100m Regional Angels Programme.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's core strengths include commercial contracts, M&A, corporate finance, joint ventures, buy-outs and corporate structuring, as well as alternative fundraising structures. The team's sector expertise encompasses technology, financial services, renewable services and healthcare, namely dentistry, pharmacies, GP groups, care homes and nurseries. Bristol-based Simon Thomas heads the department; Ed Foulkes and Susan Hall are the names to note in Manchester.

Practice head(s):

Simon Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Ed Foulkes; Susan Hall

Key clients

wejo Limited

ME Group

Allied Irish Bank (GB)

Lloyds Bank plc

REL Group

Northern Provident Investments Limited

Ergowealth Group

Capital Growth Group

Work highlights

  • Advised on the disposal of Haberman Ilett, a leading forensic accountancy firm, to Blackrock Expert Services.  
  • Advised on the disposal of Greenway Environmental Limited to GRG.
  • Acted for Ergowealth Group, a financial advisory group, on the acquisition of Adviceworks.

JMW Solicitors LLP

The team at JMW Solicitors LLP, which is headed by Mike Blood, is active on mid-market transactions, financing, members agreements and structuring matters; the team also has some experience of international M&A. The commercial contracts service encompasses distribution, supply, outsourcing and IT development agreements, with core sectors spanning property, technology, sports, parking management and fintech. Commercial head Richard Parkinson is recommended by clientsSports and media expert Stephen Taylor Heath joined from IPS Law.

Practice head(s):

Mike Blood

Testimonials

‘JMW delivers a level of service that we haven’t received from other practices. They are exceptionally quick to respond, offer sensible and practical advice, and offer superb value for money. They are also always aware of the work they’ve done previously and don’t look to double up on workloads.’

‘Richard Parkinson is a top-class solicitor. He takes time to understand us as a business and I’m sure he does the same with his other clients. He has an excellent team around him to deliver their work in a timely manner. I would highly recommend Richard for corporate and commercial law support.’

‘Trust is an important factor for me, and having only one principal point of contact for corporate and commercial law has allowed me to develop that. I know that JMW will deal with matters promptly, using the people necessary and will give meaningful advice that is actionable. In return, JMW know that I treat them as a valuable resource and rely on their expertise; they understand the nature of our business, our customers and suppliers and know if I ask for work to be undertaken it is important to us.’

‘Richard Parkinson is our first point of contact; my experience with Richard has never been less than positive, he provides accurate, timely advice with recourse to the rest of JMW where needed and has always worked transparently with me.’

Key clients

Handepay

LWC Drinks

Eurofins Scientific

Maven Capital

Healthworks Limited

Greenthumb Limited

Universal Tanker Solutions

Uinsure

Queensberry Promotions

Parking Eye Limited

HAP Recruitment

Mango Pay

DSG Financial Services

Gong Cha Limited

Bathroom Takeaway Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised East Street Investments Limited on its acquisition of Charlton Athletic Football Club Limited from Baton 2010 Limited.
  • Advised the shareholders of Pro-Fit on the sale of the entire issued and allotted share capital of Pro-Fit Personal Training Limited to Total Fitness Health Clubs Limited.
  • Advised Padoq on its white-label app development agreement with Vita, allowing Vita to roll out an app to help it engage and manage its relationship with its student tenants.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

At Kuit Steinart Levy LLP, practice head Rob Buckley is vastly experienced in respect of M&A and joint ventures, with particualr expertise in inward investment work from the US. He is strong in the sports sector, though the broader team is also well-versed in hotels and leisure, healthcare, tech, professional services, AIM and family businesses. The team's commercial work encompasses licensing, distribution, manufacturing, R&D, franchising and outsourcing matters. Caroline Brennan was recently promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Rob Buckley

Testimonials

‘They have a strong partnership approach, working closely with us, understanding our business and challenges and are adaptable to the specific needs of different matters.’

‘As our trusted adviser, Kuits provide us with high quality corporate and commercial advice, helping manage our existing portfolio and offering expert and forensic legal insight.’

James Wall provides excellent engagement.’

‘Caroline Brennan is pragmatic and provides good contractual advice and negotiation.’

‘The commitment of the partners at Kuits ensures they remain close to all our transactions from start to finish.’

‘Kirsti Pinnell has excellent commercial and technical expertise, which she delivers in a manner which allows us to understand all facets of what we are working on, consistently adding value. Kirsti has been particularly strong in dealing with complex acquisitions on our behalf, helped by her in-depth knowledge of our business and commercial understanding of our sector and marketplace.’

‘The team is extremely responsive and committed to our business, no matter the size or complexity of the work. Their collective expertise and experience is second to none.’

Key clients

Bagir Group Ltd

The Barkby Group plc

BiSN Holdings Limited

GG Hospitality Management Limited

Hollowood Chemists Limited

Ironveld plc

Kazera Global plc

Salford City Football Club

Smartkem Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition of national retailer Clintons from AG Retail, and on the financing of the transaction.
  • Advised on a reverse takeover on AIM which saw the acquisition of Tarncourt Ambit Properties Limited, Tarncourt Ambit Limited and Workshop Trading Holdings Limited for an aggregate consideration of £30.6m.
  • Advised the Class of ’92 (former Manchester United footballers Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes) on the opening of University Academy 92 and on Salford City FC’s five-year sponsorship deal with TalkTalk.

Pannone Corporate LLP

Pannone Corporate LLP’s team is acclaimed for its ‘highly knowledgeable and flexible’ service. Its corporate offering handles mid-market M&A and private equity, while the commercial team addresses a broad variety of agreements, touching on manufacturing, supply and procurement, distribution, outsourcing and joint venture contracts. Steven Grant helms the department which is particularly active in the manufacturing, technology, IT, retail and oil and gas sectors and includes the ‘easy to work withTim Hamilton and associate Andrew Walsh who 'goes above and beyond'.

Practice head(s):

Steven Grant

Testimonials

‘We worked with the team at Pannone on a potential acquisition and they were fast to respond, highly knowledgeable and flexible, both in ways of working and commercially. We then proceeded to work with them on contractual work and a commercial dispute. The level of knowledge, speed of response and calm, sensible and high quality advice has helped us enormously and also allows one to stay calm when you may otherwise not be. I cannot recommend Pannone highly enough.’

‘Tim Hamilton assisted us with contractual and acquisition matters and was a huge help, going well beyond what was expected, providing assistance outside of hours, including weekends, and checking in just to see how things were going and offering assistance on other matters. Hugely knowledgeable and easy to work with.’

‘Pannone have always provided us with a first-rate service. They are prompt and responsive, even at short notice, and the quality of their lawyers and their work is as good as I’ve seen. They manage to combine that quality and professionalism with a very down to earth and approachable attitude and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.’

‘In my experience of working with team, I have found them to be an excellent partner that I could trust and rely on. I find them down to earth and approachable but at the same time very experienced and knowledgeable.’

‘Tom Hall and Andrew Walsh were outstanding in our recent work with them. Working on an international acquisition deal, with multiple legal firms and parties of different nationalities and time zones, they went above and beyond what I expected to accommodate the process and effect a timely completion.’

Key clients

Boohoo.com UK Limited

Tradebe Group

Marlborough Fund Managers (part of UFC Fund Management Plc)

NorthEdge Capital

Livingbridge

YFM Equity Partners

Visiativ SA

Verlingue

NVM Private Equity

Bollington Wilson Group Limited

Brother International Europe Limited

EM&I group of companies

SMG Europe Holdings Limited

UK ROEd Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised NVM on its follow-on investment in Currentbody, an online retailer for home-use beauty devices.
  • Advised the shareholders of Maginus Software Solutions Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the Company to Digital Goodie, a Finnish company backed by US private equity fund Black Dragon Capital.
  • Advised YFM, the specialist private equity fund manager, on its backing of the management buy-out of The Protein Works from B&B Investment Partners.

Slater Heelis

The ‘incredibly supportiveSimon Wallwork is the key name at Slater Heelis LLP; he heads up a ‘wonderful team’, and offering expertise on transactional matters. The practice is best known for mid-market M&A, with particular expertise in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. Specific focus is also directed towards entrepreneurial clients; the group has a track record of acting for early stage companies from funding rounds through to exit.

Practice head(s):

Simon Wallwork

Other key lawyers:

Jim Tully; Rhian Owen; Nicky Collins

Testimonials

‘Slater Heelis are a wonderful team. They really care about their clients. We have had a very caring responsive and high-quality service from them. They stand out because they really go the extra mile for you.’

‘Simon Wallwork is incredibly supportive and understand our business challenges. He will always strive to find a way to help you.’

‘I referred a client who was very impressed with the attention to detail and pragmatic advice.’

‘I have worked a lot with Nicky Collins who responds quickly, gives pragmatic advice and is very calm. She is also very thorough. I have every faith in her when referring clients to her.’

Key clients

Blueberry Therapeutics Limited

Ruth Lee Limited

Bolton Gate Company Limited

F Klucznik & Son Limited

Fylde Coast Farms Limited

Hasgrove Limited

IEG Holdings Limited

Ubiquigent Limited

MIS Group Holdings Limited

Phoenix Optical Technologies Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised in relation to the demerger of the Mottram Group.  The group contained companies involved in property development commercial leasing together with a fast growing shop fitting business.
  • Following demerger of Pinacl Holdings’ business and the business of PGDA, advised upon in 2018, the team advised the shareholders of Pinacl Holdings Limited and PGDA Group Limited on a disposal of each company to private equity backed Boston Group.
  • Acted on behalf of KS Hotels Ltd on the acquisition of Red Hall Bury Limited.

Bermans

The team at Bermans is led by the 'straight-talking, commercial and pragmatic' Jonathan Davage , who has a 'great reputation for lower mid-market M&A transactions’ and brings significant experience of the SME transactional and corporate finance markets. The team is also well-regarded for disposals, joint ventures, private equity, venture capital and shareholder reorganisations. Other key sectors include motor retail, EIS and private equity, asset-based lending and TMT.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Davage

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Jarman

Testimonials

‘Jon Davage leads the team in Manchester and has an embedded specialism in the tech sector, particularly in the arena of development capital. Jon has expanded the team over recent years and holds a great reputation in lower mid-market M&A transactions.’

‘Jon Davage is a straight talking, commercial and pragmatic individual who is there to get the job done.’

Key clients

1PM Group/Academy Leasing Limited

Acuity Private Fund Limited and its investee companies

ADM Finance (Cheshire) Limited

Anodising & Plating Limited

Ascendis Accounting Group

Baker Bennett Limited

Bedspace Resource Limited

Boost & Co Limited

Burren Building Limited

Castle Chemicals Ltd

CF Capital plc

Checkd Media Holdings

Clarity Healthcare Limited

Connect Childcare Group Limited

Constant Group Limited

Controlled Air Solutions Group

Creative Capital Limited

Ditto AI Limited

Drive Motor Retail Group

FM Outsource Limited

Frontline Healthcare Limited

Gnatta Limited

GoProposal Limited

Higson Brewery Group

Hippo Motor Group Limited

ITS Group

John Such Cranes Limited

Key Recruitment Group

Mast Group

Missionlabs Limited

My Accountancy Place Limited

Nutriculture (UK) Limited

Ovon Technology Limited

PHP Holdings Limited

Promedics Group

Prometheus Professional Services Limited

Restoration London Group

Reviv Global Limited

Rivers Leasing Limited

Sport Group Holding Gmbh

SRO Holdings Limited

System Hygiene Limited

The Furniture Recycling Group Limited

The Start Up Factory

UK Environmental Limited

Vecom Group

Voxsmart Limited

Wellington Motors Group

Western Provident Association

Wilds of Oldham

YR Free Technologies Limited

Zeno Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Star Financial Systems Limited on the sale to Axicorp Group – Australia.
  • Advised Voxsmart on the UK aspects of the acquisition of Fonetic SA.
  • Assisted the shareholders of Miric Engineering Holdings Limited with the sale to Brennan Industries of Europe Limited.

BLM

BLM’s specialist sectors span commercial property, digital, TMT, retail, e-commerce, medical, manufacturing, travel and professional services. Under the leadership of Steve Kuncewicz and the ‘very knowledgeableDaniel Varney, the team also routinely advises on public sector contracts. The workload is spread across M&A, venture capital, investments, reorganisations, restructuring and a wide range of commercial agreements, particularly outsourcing contracts.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Varney; Steve Kuncewicz

Testimonials

‘Daniel Varney acts commercially. He is very knowledgeable but does not over-complicate matters and swiftly finds a solution to the issue. He is pragmatic and does not unnecessarily drag matters out.’

Key clients

Oliver James Associates Limited

St Helens Borough Council

Oldham Borough Council

Tameside Council

Ridge & Partners LLP

Integro Insurance Brokers t/a Tysers

Ellis Brigham Moutain Sports

Ferguson Plc

Hardroad (Builders Supply (North West)

MTC Novo

ItsGoneViral

Persimmon Homes

Interpublic Group

The Ardonagh Group Limited

J Parker Dutch Bulbs Limited

University of Central Lancashire

Saks Medical & Cosmetic Limited

Santander UK Plc

Cert Property Group

Salford City Council

Jam-Pan Learning Limited

Ehouse

Avensure Limited

Bugler Smith Limited

Builtvisible Limited

Landscape Institute

Tangerine Limited

Raised Floor Limited

Sputnik Digital

Work highlights

  • Advising Tameside MBC with regard to a proposed housing development scheme (the Godley Green garden village scheme, part of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework).
  • Ongoing instructions from Oldham Council with regard to a significant public private sector joint venture relating to the regeneration and infrastructure development project, with significant housing, commercial and leisure facilities to be developed.
  • Retained by Oliver James Associates to provide corporate and commercial advice, including with regard to international corporate structuring, commercial contracts, join ventures and share schemes.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s workload covers M&A, equity capital markets, venture capital, fundraisings and corporate governance matters, among others. Sector strengths include financial services, retail, natural resources and technology.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's Manchester corporate and offering was launched in late 2017 with the double hire of Victoria Zivkovic and Adam Kaucher from PwC LLP and Addleshaw Goddard respectively. The team has since continued to grow, winning new clients in the region, and in 2019 was joined on the commercial side by former Shoosmiths LLP partner Laura Harper, a media and entertainment specialist. The team focuses on mid-market private company M&A, venture capital, private equity and restructurings and re-organisations.

Other key lawyers:

Greg Mazgajczyk

Testimonials

‘Partner-led. Timely. Plenty of common sense. Commercial.’

Key clients

Swansway Group

Fircroft Group

Brown Shipley & Co

Maven Capital Partners

Apis Assay Technologies

Praetura Ventures

Beringea

Whispering Smith Limited

Liverpool Chirochem Limited

Firesprite Limited

Newson Health Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised wealth manager Brown Shipley on the acquisition of NW Brown & Co.
  • Advised transatlantic venture capital investor Beringea on investment into Arctic Shores.
  • Advised Praetura Ventures on investment into Patchwork Health.

Knights Plc

Knights plc , which acquired Manchester firm Turner Parkinson in 2018, handles a range of M&A, private equity, disposals, development capital deals and corporate investment matters.

Primas Law

Gary Black heads up the corporate and commercial department at Primas Law following the merger of Primas Law with his former firm, Freeman Fisher LLP. The group handles acquisitions and disposals, mergers, joint ventures, succession planning and shareholder agreements. Other notable expertise includes corporate finance and commercial contracts - areas of specialism for Primas founder Adam Kerr. Among the core sectors of expertise are insurance, software, engineering and healthcare.

Practice head(s):

Gary Black

Other key lawyers:

Steve Hartley; Adam Kerr

Testimonials

‘All the individuals have both substantial legal and technical knowledge in their respective fields, and have always portrayed and demonstrated a very professional approach which has instilled a great sense of confidence with us.’

‘The service we receive from Primas Freeman Fisher has been exceptional.’

Key clients

Tristone Capital

Anxiety UK

El Gato Negro

Mi Hiepa Scout

Manchester Drinks Company Limited

Face37

Roco

New Horizons

Digital ID

Leap9

Armagrip Limited

Jones Taylor Steven Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised on sale of Eclectic Hotels for £50m.
  • Acted for the selling shareholders of Convex Group (Holdings) Limited in the £22m sale of the Manchester-based corporate finance boutique, Convex Capital to RBG Holdings plc (Rosenblatt Group plc).
  • Alongside Convex Capital, the team completed the sale of UK Point of Sale Group Limited to Swedish conglomerate Lifco.

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway aims to distinguish itself from its rivals with a specific focus on the SME and OMB markets. Sean FitzGerald, who helms the department, has a track record of work on sales, acquisitions, mergers and private equity deals. The group's other expertise includes venture capital investments, restructurings and reorganisations, with sector expertise covering the biomedical, engineering and manufacturing sectors through to retail, technology and media.

Practice head(s):

Sean FitzGerald

Other key lawyers:

Melanie Yeomans; Paul Johnson

Key clients

The Brecks Company

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP

Enterprise Ventures

Mike Colling & Company

JSA Services Limited

Neville Johnson Group

Eurocamp Limited

Kingdom Services Group Limited

Mercia Fund Management Limited

Holchem Laboratories Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Kingdom Services Group Limited on its purchase of Xpress Solutions.    
  • Acting for JSA Services on its purchase of Accountsnet Limited.
  • Acting for the Kingdom Services Group in its purchase of Dunedin Facilities Management Limited.