A&L Goodbody Northern Ireland LLP is a leading name in Northern Ireland for high profile transactions and corporate advisory matters. The group has expertise in both international and domestic matters, and is regularly active on behalf of private equity clients. David Rowan, who was promoted to head of the team in January 2023, covers a broad range of sectors, including technology, real estate, and agri-food. Former team lead Alastair Keith remains active within the team, and has strength in complex cross-border transactions. Other key names include Peter Stafford, who previously served as chairman of the firm’s Belfast office, and Mark Thompson, the current chair.
Corporate and M&A in Northern Ireland
Other key lawyers:
Alastair Keith; Mark Thompson; Peter Stafford; Sarah Dugdale
‘Alastair Keith – highly commercial, practical, and works collaboratively with client and the other side’s lawyers.’
SHV Energy N.V.
Mzuri Holdings Limited
Euro Auctions UK Limited
Devenish (NI) Limited
The Old Bushmills Distillery Company Limited
McBurney Group Transport Limited
Haldane Fisher Limited
Ready Egg Products Limited
WD Irwin & Sons Ltd
- Acted as the sole legal advisor to the McBurney family in the £145m sale of the entire issued share capital of the McBurney Group of companies to Danish transport and logistics provider, DFDS A/S.
- Acted as lead legal advisers to Mzuri in connection with the follow-on investment by BGF Investments LP and Etchingham Advisors Ltd into Lisburn-based blind manufacture Mzuri Group Ltd by way of issue of equity and loan notes.
- Acted for the sellers in connection with the sale of the entire issued share capital of Woodfloor Warehouse Limited to publicly listed Grafton Group (UK) PLC.
Arthur Cox Belfast‘s team acts for a diverse client list of domestic and international companies, with experience in all major industries. Areas of particular strength include agri-food, retail, tech, and logistics. Team lead Lynsey Mallon, described as an ‘excellent negotiator’ and ‘exceptional leader’, handles a broad range of M&A, and has expertise in company law and corporate governance. Alan Taylor, who is the firm’s Northern Ireland chairman, acts for both overseas corporates and indigenous businesses. Also key are David White, who has expertise in the energy sector, and Richard Armstrong, who made partner in January 2022. Associate Lois Arbuthnot is a name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Alan Taylor; David White; Richard Armstrong; Lois Arbuthnot
‘My overall impression was that I received the same quality advice and process management that I usually receive from Magic Circle firms in London.’
‘Lynsey Mallon is an excellent negotiator. She is able to formulate compelling arguments for our positions and exhibits a great understanding of the tactical aspects of M&A negotiations.’
‘They always provide the correct team for the task in hand.’
‘Lynsey Mallon is an exceptional leader, and is always responsive and brings a commercial view to the situation.’
‘The unique aspect of the practice is that, whilst being a large law firm, they focus on delivering a service which is highly personalised.’
‘Partners are available when required. The practice can cover all our needs in-house.’
‘At all levels, we have been pleased with the professional manner they have delivered the advice we needed.’
Sunrise Medical Holdings Limited
Grafton Group (UK) Plc
Emergent UK 3 Ltd
Invest Northern Ireland
Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland
- Acted for Sunrise Medical in its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of a large multi-award winning manufacturing company in the assistive mobility aid sector, namely The Helping Hand Company (Ledbury) Limited
- Instructed by DFDS on one of the most high value transactions in NI in recent years, namely the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of the McBurney Group in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
- Acted for Re-Vana Therapeutics in its recent Series A equity investment round which, at circa $12million, is one of the largest the jurisdiction has ever seen.
Carson McDowell‘s team has expertise in the full range of corporate transactions, and is particularly strong in the technology sector. The firm also has experience handling transactions under the new National Security and Investment Act. Team lead Richard Gray, who has been active in the area for more than 30 years, is a respected name for M&A and finance work. Core team members include senior partner Neasa Quigley, who has expertise in the energy and knowledge economy sectors, and M&A and private equity specialists Paul McGuickin and Hilary Griffith. Griffith joined the firm in 2022 from Cleaver Fulton Rankin alongside associate Kathryn Laverty.
Other key lawyers:
Neasa Quigley; Hilary Griffith; Gerard Armstrong; Paul McGuickin; Kathryn Laverty; Rosie Timoney
‘The team at Carson McDowell demonstrate understanding and commercial interpretation combined with an efficiency of response and action which differentiates the team from most other commercial law firms.’
‘The corporate and M&A team at Carson McDowell are very strong in their respective field of expertise, and would be treated more as trusted advisors as opposed to a ‘formal supplier.”
‘Richard Gray exhibits a keen understanding of complex issues, and will always deliver an honest and frank opinion on what would be best for us as a client. Richard’s personable nature also greatly assists in maintaining momentum in projects involving other parties.’
‘The ability to have both empathy and understanding of our sector and the risks, challenges and opportunities we face daily is exceptional. The depth in the Carson McDowell team is always in evidence when required, with partners acting with humility, focus and unrivalled talent.’
‘Neasa’s great strength is the ability to identify the key commercial points relevant to our company and articulate to non lawyers the potential implications and actions required. This focus allows for a more streamlined process, both from a cost and resource perspective.’
‘Excellent levels of corporate advice, always pitched at the correct level. Very accessible team and excellent response times.’
‘Richard Gray – unrivalled corporate partner in the NI market. Highly commercial thinker and very practical lawyer. Paul McGuckin – excellent corporate partner.’
‘Carson McDowell’s service is superb. They’re commercially minded and customer focused when it comes to M&A. Their advice and the way they run M&A processes is exceptional and unparalleled in our experience in the Northern Ireland market.’
SHS Group Limited
Bowmark Capital LLP
Eakin Healthcare Group Limited
Vinci Energy Holdings Limited
Lagan Investments Limited
Riverridge Recycling Limited
Fibrus Networks Limited
Ulster Carpet Mills (Holdings) Limited
- Advised Bowmark Capital on their investment into the Xperience Group, following a competitive auction process.
- Acted for shareholders of Decision Time LImited in connection with its acquisition by Advanced Business Software and Solutions Limited.
- Acted for MML Ireland (MML) in connection with its £11 Million investment in the Vyta Group following a competitive auction process.
Tughans is a prominent name for venture capital and private equity transactions, and has particular expertise in the technology sector. Team lead James Donnelly specialises in M&A, corporate finance, and corporate restructuring transactions, and has particular expertise in the technology, engineering, and healthcare sectors. John McGuckian is a key name for private equity and venture capital, a focus shared by Paul O’Brien, who also has experience in M&A and joint ventures. Consultant John-George Willis has significant experience in corporate governance and corporate finance transactions. Associate directors Ben Sims, Brendan Donnelly, and Aimee Craig are key names.
Other key lawyers:
John-George Willis; John McGuckian; Paul O’Brien; Ben Sims; Brendan Donnelly
‘John McGuckian – highly experienced, good deal structuring abilities. Paul O’Brien – technically strong, pragmatic, diligent.’
‘The team are able to digest quite heated conversations with clients and translate them into very effective negotiations. They are also able to grasp quite quickly any technical nuances outside of their corporate remit, such as taxation and other areas of law, which again facilitates a fast and effective deal process.’
‘John McGuckian and Brendan Donnelly are very focused on seeing the deal through to completion as effectively as possible, and all the while maintaining decorum and professionalism.’
‘Very flexible approach. Took the time to consider our needs and be practical with solutions.’
‘John McGuckian and Brendan Donnelly provided first class service when supporting complex transactions. Very transparent and sought the best outcome for the business on a practical level.’
‘The people we deal with in Tughans are proactive, identify solutions, and add value beyond the scope of their engagement. A true partnership approach and valued advisors.’
‘John has been a present figure in Tughans for a long number of years and has a great reputation in the market. John has now built up a good team around him also.’
‘Each member of the team delivers excellent service, illustrating their breadth of experience in this area.’
Business Growth Fund
MML Growth Capital
Mattioli Woods Plc
Tenants Fine Chemicals
Cleaver Fulton Rankin's team acts on the full range of corporate finance, transactional, and commercial work, and is praised by clients for its 'professional manner.' Department head Paul McBride, who joined from Arthur Cox Belfast in 2022, has more than 25 years' experience in the practice area, and covers a range of sectors including technology, energy, and pharmaceuticals. The group has seen recent growth with the addition of Stuart Sproule from Danske Bank in September 2022, and Jonathan Braden from Minnis & Braden Solicitors in March 2022.
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Cross; Stuart Sproule; Jonathan Braden
‘Paul McBride and Jonathan Braden provided exceptional legal representation during the sale of my company. At all times, I felt reassured that they were representing me in a professional manner.’
‘It was amazing to watch Paul calmly handle the buyer’s solicitor, who was clearly not relaxed and agitated. He didn’t skip a beat. Jonathan always explained things clearly and worked tirelessly to complete the process. Thank you’
‘CFR were outstanding dealing with our company sale.’
‘Jonathan Braden and Paul McBride were great.’
Dixons Transport Ltd
E Barry’s Amusements Portrush Ltd
Real Transfer Ltd
Medicare Group – Magir Ltd
Rightcard Payment Services Ltd
SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Ltd
Mates Dates Ltd
- Advised Concept Services Ltd on the disposal of its business to the Mount Charles Group.
- Advised Rightcard Payment Services Ltd, an FCA-regulated international payment processor, on the disposal of its business to an international buyer.
- Acted for Doughboys Ltd on the restructure and subsequent disposal of its business to a large national retailer.
Davidson McDonnell Solicitors
Davidson McDonnell Solicitors advises a diverse client base, from start-up companies to UK-wide businesses and international corporations. Areas of expertise for the firm include mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and private equity transactions. The department is co-led by Vicky Dummigan and Raymond Duddy. Dummigan initially founded the practice, and specialises in private equity and venture capital funding deals, while Duddy acts for high growth local businesses and high net worth individuals. Associate Christopher Bullock is a key name.
Vicky Dummigan; Raymond Duddy
Other key lawyers:
‘What makes them stand out is that they are organized like a perfect working “clock”. Always deliver on time. Work as a team in a smooth manner. They have the legal technical experts on board.’
‘Vicky Dummigan is a touch of class. She combines in-depth legal knowledge with experience of the market insights and trends in Northern Ireland. On top she knows how to differentiate between what is important and what is not. I would for sure recommend to work with her.’
‘The team has grown significantly over the past number of years and continues to attract and retain a very high calibre of talent. The team holds an excellent reputation in the local market and has supported this further by working on some interest transactions (big and small).’
Diploma Holdings Plc
Analytics Engines Limited
Errigal Contracts Limited
WF Risk Group
- Acted for Wirefox Group in the acquisition of the holding vehicle for The Bushmills Inn, one of Northern Ireland’s most famous hotels.
- Acted for Fscom Limited in relation to a significant investment from global private equity fund, Bridgepoint.
- Acted for Xperience Group in a major private equity investment from leading PE fund, Bowmark Capital.
Millar McCall Wylie LLP is highly active on behalf of local entrepreneurs, owner managed businesses, and private equity funds, and handle a broad array of corporate transactions. Damian McParland, who heads the team, is experienced in leading large scale M&A and corporate finance transactions, including high value matters involving multi-jurisdictional teams of lawyers. John Finnegan provides expertise in corporate finance and corporate governance. Associate director Louise Cavanagh is a key name for the drafting and negotiation of commercial agreements.
Other key lawyers:
John Finnegan; Louise Cavanagh
‘MMW are far more proactive than a lot of firms out there, and proactively find solutions rather than problems, which is something that is really just something that other firms say, but MMW actually do.’
‘Damian McParland- Excellent lawyer with arguably the broadest skills base of any corporate lawyer in Belfast, with very strong commercial acumen. Has an excellent ability to surmise complex concepts into simple statements and documents.’
‘Louise Cavanagh – Strong all-rounder with good experience across a range of corporate transactions. Very diligent and well organized, and is very good at driving transactions forward and keeping momentum in transactions for the benefit of her clients.’
‘Damian McParland is very good at focusing on what really matters. We trust Damian to provide highly commercial advice. He is very responsive and available when we need him! Louise Cavanagh is also very good at focusing on what matters.’
LCC Group Limited
Traction Finance Limited
McAleer & Rushe Group
Whiterock Capital Partners
Maine Surface Finishing Limited
Learning Pool Limited
- Acted for Cardinal Capital, in their multimillion pound investment in Uform which was one of the largest private equity investments in Northern Ireland this year.
- Acted for LCC Group Limited in its purchase of Lafarge Cement Ireland in one of the largest trade sales in Northern Ireland this year.
- Acted for Traction Finance and its founders in its partial sale to Radius Vehicle Solutions, seeing the English company expand into the North and South of Ireland.
Mills Selig‘s large team of corporate specialists covers sales and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations and private equity transactions, in addition to a range of other matters. Chris Guy, who leads the team, specialises in complex M&A and private equity transactions, and is noted for his experience in MBOs, investments, and shareholder arrangements and exits. Other core team members include Glenn Watterson, who has particular strength in the IT, energy, and hospitality sectors, and Darren Marley, whose practice includes equity investments, sales and acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. Solicitor Emma McCloskey is a key name.
Other key lawyers:
Glenn Watterson; Darren Marley; Emma McCloskey
‘We have found them to be reliable, supportive, helpful, knowledgeable and deliver advices in tight timelines. But we expect that from all our advisors – what sets Mills Selig apart is the personality of every person we have dealt, the genuine enthusiasm and curiosity about our transactions and the calm and pragmatic way they deal with obstacles.’
‘We primarily deal with the corporate team, which is led by Chris Guy, who is hugely experienced and a steady hand steering the ship. We have also worked with Glenn Watterson – who is very calm, unflappable, commercial and willing to go above and beyond to get the deal done.’
‘I have found the Mills Selig corporate team to be personable, technically astute and very responsive.’
‘Darren Marley is a real stand out partner within the team. Not only is he able to very quickly come to terms with the issue(s) at hand, he has an assuring presence that gives you the sense no stone will be left unturned to get to the end position we desire.’
‘The team have a long-standing reputation for excellence and commerciality in an often crowded market. They are both personable and professional whilst bringing an excellent technical approach to any transaction.’
‘We have found that the team are well respected across the board and are able to manage often complex transactions with all clients and advisor alike.’
‘Chris Guy has continued to show he is a leader in the NI Corporate law arena by working on a number of key transactions throughout the year and by supporting his long-standing clients. He has a pragmatic and commercial approach to all transactions, which is valued and respected by clients and other advisors given his reputation in the market and technical competence.’
‘Glenn Watterson has continued to provide excellent advice and a professional approach to all transactions and engagements he has been involved with.’
FD Technologies plc
Natural World Products Limited
AAB Group Ltd
Enisca Group Limited
Hospital Services Limited
Galgorm Hotel and Spa Group
Alpha Real Capital
Mercedes Benz NI Truck & Van
UNRVLD HOLDINGS LIMITED
Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP
Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is active on domestic and international transactions, working closely with the firm’s other offices to provide support across the ROI and the UK. Co-leading the department are private equity specialist Lisa Early and Michael Hamill, who has particular strength in the energy sector. Senior associate Sarah-Louise Baird specialises in energy M&A.
Lisa Early; Michael Hamill
Other key lawyers:
‘The pragmatic advice, industry knowledge and ability to find solutions with often ill-equipped advisors on the opposite side of transactions is invaluable.’
Shareholders of Fastway Couriers
Resonance Asset Management
East Anglia One Limited (a ScottishPower majority owned company)
Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm Limited (a subsidiary of RWE)
- Advised Synova Capital Partners on the management buyout of 3173 Limited, a leading provider of pensions administration software, trusteeship and governance services to the UK pensions industry.
- Advised Encirc Limited on the acquisition of The Park bottling and warehousing facility in Bristol for £30 million from Accolade Wines.
- Advised East Anglia One Limited on the sale of the transmission assets relating to the 714MW East Anglia One offshore wind farm, to Transmission Capital Partners.
Shoosmiths LLP‘s team is particularly focused on private equity, venture capital and energy. The group is led by Andrew Jennings and Grant Edwards, both of whom joined the firm in 2021 from TLT. Jennings has experience in acquisitions, disposals, investments and reorganisations, and is dual qualified in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, while Edwards covers buyouts, joint ventures, and exit demergers, as well as M&A.
Andrew Jennings; Grant Edwards
Other key lawyers:
‘All the benefits of a top tier UK firm with local relationships.’
‘I would specifically like to mention Grant Edwards, partner. Grant has been our company go to lawyer for all matters corporate. His advice and strategic experience is always on point. He always provides detailed, well-thought-out practical advice. A clear strategic thinker with an approachable, friendly demeanour.’
‘Grant has been incredible to work with from day one. He is an extremely talented solicitor with a great level of understanding and eye for detail. From a client perspective, it is a pleasure to work with him.’
MPG Wind Ltd
ABO Wind Gmbh
Par Equity LLP
Foresight Group LLP
Lough Shore Road Limited
Loughran Brewing Stores UK Limited
Travel Sector Property Limited
Panoramic Growth Equity (Fund Management) LLP
Moorfield Group Limited
Wilsons Auctions Limited
Hanna Capital SEZC
Elvstone Holdings Limited (t/a Loadar)
Ireland Beverage Group Limited
- Acted for Moorfield Group on the disposal of certain companies holding student housing totalling 789 beds to a joint venture between New York Stock Exchange listed Ares Management Corporation and Generation Partners.
- Advised Par Equity on venture capital investment rounds valued at £12m plus $6m in aggregate in to technology businesses Kinsetsu, TriVirum. AdInMo, Aveni, Cloudfind, and RecourseAI.
- Assisted private equity fund manager, Foresight Group, on its acquisition of UK based Etag Fixings UK Limited and Irish based Etag Fixings Limited. The total transaction value was £13,500,000.
DWF brings a full service commercial practice to both international and domestic Northern Irish clients. The group is jointly led by James Morrison, who has over 20 years’ experience working across the UK and Ireland, and Scott Kennedy, who joined from Millar McCall Wylie LLP in 2022.
Scott Kennedy; James Morrison
Other key lawyers:
‘Great understanding of a client’s business and “spider in the web” in international transactions.’
‘James Morrison is a fast and efficient M&A lawyer, and on top of that a pleasant person to work with.’
‘The DWF team has all aspects of a transaction covered in-house. They are very professional, friendly and approachable, taking the time to discuss and explain the key risks of a transaction.’
Keltbray Group Limited
Pivotal Growth Limited
PEQ Holdings Limited
Survitec Group PLC
Alpha Marketing PLC
Healthcare Ireland Limited
Glennon Brothers Limited
- Advised PEQ Food Group in the disposal of the entire issued share capital of Italicatessen Limited and Italicatessen UK Limited its food and drink wholesale business.
- Acquisition of entire issued share capital of Cema Lighting Ltd.
- Advised longstanding client Healthcare Ireland Limited on the acquisition of the NI care home business operated by Priory Group involving 11 sites together with RQIA approval in NI.
Elliott Duffy Garrett focuses on family owned SMEs and local businesses, and provides support in the full range of corporate transactions across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Team lead Kevin McVeigh specialises in the sale and purchase of businesses, and also heads the firm’s banking practice. Associate John McElrone is a name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Cathy Murphy; John McElrone
Sam Hagan Leisure Limited
MKB Law is highly active within the energy sector, and has expertise in the sales and funding of large solar projects. Elgin Energy Holdings is a key client for the firm. Team lead and firm co-founder Gordon McElroy handles a range of corporate transactions, and is highly experienced in fundraising. Maria Conway focuses on the hospitality, licensing, and pharmaceutical sectors.
Other key lawyers:
Maria Conway; Lynsey Henderson; Jose Lazaro
‘Very experienced individuals. Commercially astute. Understand our business.’
Elgin Energy Holdings Limited
Balloo Hire Centres
Larne Chemists Limited
Triquetra Hospitality Limited
Walker Communications Limited
Open Data Belfast
Lagan Homes Limited and associated companies
Knighton Leisure Limited
Noel Eakin and Son Limited