Corporate and commercial: Newcastle in North
Muckle LLP houses 13 partners split into two distinct corporate and commercial departments, led by Andrew Davison and Alex Craig respectively. The group’s strong suit on the corporate finance side certainly stands out, with Anthony Evans and Matthew Walsh being notable practitioners in this field. Clients praise the team’s capabilities in the M&A space, particularly in relation to mandates involving the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers. Adam Rayner remains a key contact for private equity transactions. Senior associate Amy Wanless also comes in for praise from clients.
‘Muckle’s team was visible throughout the process of our transaction, working collaboratively with all key stakeholders towards its completion. The team’s advice was commercial and pragmatic.‘
‘The team is considerate, understanding and time-efficient.‘
‘The team members kept us informed and up to speed with the progress through the whole process. They also advised us on any potential problems before they even occurred.‘
‘The level of communication and clarity are second to none.‘
‘We collaborated with Muckle on a client’s project and found the team to be very capable, and able to anticipate our needs and to smooth the path of a complex transaction. The team’s experience with matters involving the Takeover Panel shone through, to the benefit of our client.‘
‘Adam Rayner provides diligent, efficient and very practical services. Adam also facilitates the client’s access to other legal teams and manages the overall relationship between clients and lawyers.‘
‘Matthew Walsh is always available to discuss ongoing engagements and matters of wider interest to the client. Everything he has delivered has been timely and of very high quality.‘
‘I appreciate the depth of knowledge and attention to detail of senior associate Amy Wanless. Her wealth of information and contacts got our business headed in the right direction from the moment we registered in the UK. As a business relocating from the US, this is especially important to us. She took the time to understand our business, the mission behind it, and the future vision for it.‘
Hadrian Healthcare Holdings
Sandman Hotel Group (UK)
LDC Private Equity
3T Energy Group
NVM Private Equity
Tier One Capital
Orchard Information Systems
Li & Fung
McAleer & Rushe
- Advised the selling shareholders of Hadrian Healthcare Holdings on a complex transaction structure.
- Advised ISG Holdings on a significant investment by LDC Private Equity into the company.
- Advised Sunderland-based Rokshaw, a specialist manufacturer in the pharmaceutical sector, on its acquisition by scientific research company Emmac Life Sciences.
Led by Robert Thompson, Ward Hadaway’s corporate team is noted for the volume of M&A transactions handled during the past year; it is sought out by clients to advise on issues arising in the recruitment, independent healthcare and waste sectors, among others. The group benefits from the transactional expertise of Katherine Hay-Heddle and Tom Pollard, who are regularly retained by large public and private companies as well as private equity houses. On the commercial side, the team led by Colin Hewitt focuses on high-value outsourcing deals, placing a particular emphasis on the highly regulated insurance and banking industries. Damien Charlton draws on his ‘extensive knowledge of commercial law’ to handle outsourcing arrangements. Associate Clare French is also noted.
‘Damien Charlton has extensive knowledge of commercial law.‘
SHG (Care Villages)
The Bannatyne Group
Total Capital Partners
Mercia Fund Managers
Conviction Investment Partners
Enerpac Tool Group
Newcastle international Airport
North East Finance
Your Homes Newcastle
Newcastle City Council
Port of Tyne
- Acted for EOS Project Developments Limited on investment finance and project development agreements concerning the development of a biogas facility at West Maling, Kent.
- Acted for Pacifica Group and its shareholders in connection with its receipt of investment from Synova Capital.
- Acted for Millex Investments on the sale of its subsidiary Van Mildert to Rightmove.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s eight-partner team in Newcastle has a large client roster of publicly held companies. The application of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers is an area of specialism; practice head Ben Butler and Jamie Pass have accrued significant experience in this regard. The team’s recent work showcases its forte in corporate finance, where the expertise of Robert Phillips and legal director Iain Pritty also stand out. Clients laud the practice as a 'good blend of experienced and younger team members'. Certainly, the strength of the group at associate level is also to be noted: managing associates Stacey Hall and Will Bonas, as well as associate Oliver Rickett, specialise in corporate transactions.
Other key lawyers:
‘A good blend of experienced and younger team members, with access to a large pool of legal experience and talent in and out of the region, giving access to some specialist knowledge not otherwise available in the region.’
‘Trustworthy, experienced and very commercially minded, the team is also pragmatic in its approach and advice. This ensures that risk management is well balanced and commensurate with the practical and commercial elements of a particular transaction.‘
‘Jamie Pass is a very experienced and calm negotiator, focusing on the key points and not getting drawn into technical arguments that are not material to the transaction.‘
‘The team led by Robert Phillips is reliable, trustworthy, assured and has the gravitas we need to represent us in commercial negotiations. The team members demonstrate a keen commercial focus, coupled with a wealth of experience and combined knowledge. The WBD team is highly responsive when called upon, and we have full faith in its ability to provide us with suitable advice and strategy whenever we need it.‘
Sterling Pharma Solutions
Lloyds Development Capital
Newcastle City Council
AIT Worldwide Logistics
- Advised international client Mpac Group on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Lambert Automation for an initial consideration of £15m.
- Advised UK-based Sterling Pharma Solutions on its acquisition of CiVentiChem, a contract development and manufacturing organisation.
- Advised Lloyds Development Capital, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, on its investment forming part of the wider restructuring of Intelligent Services Group.
Mincoffs Solicitors LLP
At Mincoffs Solicitors LLP, corporate finance specialist and senior partner Paul Hughes heads up the corporate department, which has a strong track record in transactional work across the region and nationwide. The team is equally adept at handling non-transactional corporate matters, such as shareholder arrangements and corporate governance issues.
‘Client-focused service coupled with expert advice‘
High Street Group
LB Foster Group
- Advised High Street Group on a number of corporate acquisitions and development financings, both within and beyond the region.
- Advised Northern Bear on its continuing listed company obligations, and on its acquisition of Lister Holdings.
- Advised Amplyfi on investment arrangements for the Series A round of financing and on its acquisition of Deep Web Technologies Inc.
Sintons LLP handles the full spectrum of corporate transactions. The corporate department shows a particular strength in private equity transactions and investments, for which Matt Collen and Adrian Dye are go-to practitioners. Department lead Karen Simms had developed niche bespoke contracts expertise in the energy, waste and natural resources sectors. Senior associate Emma Pern also attracts praise for her ‘clear and concise approach’.
‘The corporate team at Sintons is open, approachable and extremely competent. Its focus is placed on maintaining excellent relationships with clients, while providing the very best advice and guidance.‘
‘Emma Pern is clear and concise in her approach, and extremely personable.‘
‘Matt Collen has excellent experience and is a very practical and calm legal adviser. Matt is great at setting out a range of options and advising on the best course of action.‘
North Tees Group
Video Enhanced Observation
Pen Shop Trading
Co-Wheels Car Club Community Interest Company
The Auckland Project
- Advised the shareholders of Co-Wheels Car Club Community Interest Company on the sale of a majority stake in Co-Wheels Car Club to ExaMotive SA and Shanghai Automotive, with the aim of creating the Oply UK car sharing network.
- Advised the shareholders of TDX (Europe) on the sale of the entire issued shareholding of TDX (Europe) to a leading player in the European packaging sector.
- Acted for the selling shareholder on a transaction involving the demerger of 37 freehold properties from the existing Pebbles Group to a newly created property holding company, by way of a capital reduction demerger.
Following the 2019 acquisition of Watson Burton LLP by Weightmans, the corporate department led by Duncan Reid continues to advise on a wide array of corporate transactions, including acquisitions, disposals, and private equity and venture capital transactions. Apart from its varied roster of corporate clients, the team also acts for education sector clients and owner-managed businesses. The group has also retained its strength across the technology, financial services, private equity and franchising sectors. Paul Wigham is noted for transactions in the technology industry. Marc Allison is a key contact for corporate governance advice.
‘There is a wealth of experience across the firm. The team assigned to our project remained a constant throughout the process, which facilitated consistency and continuity.‘
‘The team members keep in regular contact; they were always conscious of our requirements and had our best interests at heart at all times throughout the process.‘
Broadband Satellite Services
Accelerated Digital Ventures
Total Recycling Services
J & B Recycling
- Assisted Lucion Services, a Gateshead-headquartered multi-disciplinary risk management group specialising in hazardous materials, with its buyout backed by Palatine Private Equity.
- Advised Accelerated Digital Ventures on a significant number of investments in scale-up technology businesses, totaling over £30m in investments into PushDR, Snap Travel, Urban Massage, Crypto Quantique and Funderbeam.
- Acted for LOK Developments JV2, a company forming part of the Morton Group, in relation to a joint venture for the acquisition of a prominent former Newcastle hospital site with a new housing scheme.
The corporate team at DWF is involved in significant mandates in the private equity and equity capital markets space, with a recent uptick in instructions in the TMT and infrastructure sectors. The team also has significant M&A expertise, as evidenced by its work on multiple reverse takeovers. Key highlights show the team's regular cooperation with its Edinburgh-based counterpart. Swift is ‘very ably supported’ by Jemil Visram, who is a senior associate with considerable corporate finance experience.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team led out of Newcastle worked together very effectively under the challenging timetable for our reverse takeover. Without the firm’s ability to bring in specialists to complement the core team, and without their focus and attention to what was most important, we would not have completed the takeover when we did.‘
‘Jemil Visram was always accessible and coordinated the key deliverables.‘
E Energy Group
Vibe Group Holdings
Northern Gas and Power
M Capital Ventures
- Advised Polemos on its reverse takeover by way of the acquisition of Digitalbox Publishing (Holdings) and the acquisition of Mashed Productions, associated £1m fund raise and re-admission of the enlarged share capital to trading on AIM.
- Advised Cloudcall Group on a twice-oversubscribed placement under Regulation D in the US and in the UK.
- Advised Alexander Mining on its reverse takeover by way of the acquisition of e-Light Holdings and the disposal of MetaLeach, associated fund raising of £2m, exit of the board of Alexander Mining, and the re-admission of the enlarged share capital to trading on AIM.
Hay & Kilner
Hay & Kilner focuses on M&A transactions and provides partner-led legal services to a varied client roster consisting of small and medium-sized enterprises. The corporate department is headed by Jonathan Waters and Mark Adams, whose joint corporate law experience spans nearly four decades. The team's industry-specific expertise includes the healthcare, automotive, pharmaceutical, insurance and veterinary sectors. Clients also recommend solicitor Ben Jackson.
Other key lawyers:
‘This practice is unique in terms of its offering and customer service levels. I find the lawyers very knowledgeable and easy to deal with.‘
‘For corporate and commercial matters, I mainly deal with Ben Jackson. Ben is diligent, approachable and knowledgeable.‘
Park Lane Healthcare
Wingrove Motor Company
Peterlee Fire Company
Medical Architecture and Art Projects
Pajunk UK Medical Products
Town Centre Automobiles
- Advised Medical Architecture and Art Projects on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of London-based Tranter McManus Architects.
- Advised investee ATM Security on a £500k investment from the North East Venture Fund.
- Acted for investee Ocean Coatings in relation to a significant equity investment from an angel investor.