Corporate and M&A in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody has a strong reputation for advising on high-value M&A transactions, with a particular focus on the agri-food, energy and technology sectors. Clients include domestic and international companies, and the team is experienced in handling multi-jurisdictional matters. Team head Alastair Keith has been active in private equity investments; Belfast office chair Peter Stafford specialises in corporate finance; and Mark Thompson is noted for his energy, healthcare and media expertise. David Rowan was recently promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Keith


A&L Goodbody delivers a genuine full-service offering with real expertise in all areas required to execute a complex corporate transaction. It is the strongest firm in Northern Ireland and is always a pleasure to work with.

Peter Stafford has a huge breadth of experience and is a true leader in his field in Northern Ireland. He always has sound commercial solutions to problems and is able to deliver his advice in an easy-to-understand fashion.

Solicitor Nikki Stewart is a rising star of the corporate legal market. She takes a commercial approach to issues as they arise and is always a pleasure to work with.

A&L Goodbody’s sensible and pragmatic team is focused on getting the job done.’

Alastair Keith is easy to work with. The team knows what we are trying to achieve and works with us to help achieve that.

The team stands out for the quality of knowledge and of service. They are incredibly commercial and able to work within our (often) tight timescales with great professionalism.

All of the team are impeccable.

Key clients

Crown Laboratories Holdings

Viridian Power and Energy

Haldane Fisher


Landscaping Centre

Euro Auctions

Kitchenmaster (NI)

Business Growth Fund (BGF)

Ulster Weavers


Work highlights

  • Advising Crown Laboratories Holdings on its £30m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Vita Liberata
  • Acting for Viridian Power and Energy on the acquisition of Huntstown Biogas
  • Advising the Business Growth Fund (BGF) in relation to its follow-on investments into Braidwater and Circul8
  • Advising Haldane Fisher on its acquisition of the shares in Key Hardware and, separately, its acquisition of the business and assets of Robert Dickie and Sons
  • Acted for French public limited company Vetoquinol on its acquisition of Farmvet Systems

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast's blue-chip client base includes leading companies in the agri-food, retail and technology sectors, as well as private equity funds and venture capital firms. The team advises on high-value Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and international deals. Alan Taylor leads the team, which includes 'top corporate lawyerPaul McBride; the 'responsive, capable and incisiveLynsey Mallon, who is noted for her expertise in the aerospace sector; and William Curry, who acts for some of the largest plcs in the region.

Practice head(s):

Alan Taylor


The team’s commercially astute and legally sound advice has greatly contributed to the continued growth and success of our group.

We would not use any other corporate lawyer in this market other than Lynsey Mallon. She is the best that we have dealt with. Alan Taylor is a trusted adviser to our business and his insight is invaluable. William Curry is technically excellent.

The corporate team at Arthur Cox is technically excellent but also very commercially astute.’

Alan Taylor is by far one of the most accomplished corporate lawyers in this market. He has become a trusted adviser to our numerous businesses over the years and we are yet to meet a better lawyer for delivering what he promises.

Lynsey Mallon handles most of our M&A and investment work now and she is the best around for closing deals. She always remains calm and finds a solution even when the other side cannot.

The team at Arthur Cox is professional and knowledgeable with the relevant experience to be able to advise the client from a commercial viewpoint in addition to dispensing relevant and material legal advice. The team is very hands-on and also very straightforward.

Lynsey Mallon is very knowledgeable in the relevant laws and regulations of Northern Ireland. She is able to provide excellent advice from a legal viewpoint as well as able to discuss and provide alternatives from a commercial viewpoint so that the client is able to gain a feel of the big picture.

The team has an incisive knowledge and approach to dealing with the client’s issues. The professionalism and focus they give to dealing with the issues we bring to them is of critical importance and we continue to use them as our default source of legal advice.

Associate David White is thorough, solid, conscientious, dependable and highly professional.

The firm is always very accommodating and always puts forward the best relevant lawyer that our company needs expertise for.

Alan Taylor takes an interest in the client’s affairs.

Key clients

Musgrave Retail Partners NI

Norbrook Group

Magir Limited (Medicare)

Park Elect

Rubble Master HMH

Donnelly Group

Norlin Ventures

Breedon Group


Invest NI

Work highlights

  • Advised Musgrave Retail Partners NI on the acquisition and sale of various retail convenience stores across Northern Ireland
  • Acted for Park Elect on its share acquisition of Industrial Valve Specialists
  • Advised Lauak Group on the Northern Irish aspects of its acquisition of Bombardier’s tubing and systems activities at sites located in Canada, Northern Ireland and Mexico
  • Advised Breedon Group on its £450m acquisition of the Lagan Group
  • Advised Norlin Group on the sale of the business and assets of its British Touring Car Championship racing team, BTC Norlin Racing

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell has particular strength in traditional Northern Irish industries such as construction, real estate and manufacturing, as well as growing sector expertise in energy and technology and cybersecurity. The team acts for leading Northern Irish and international businesses. The 'very goodNeasa Quigley, who specialises in energy and the knowledge economy, heads the team along with M&A and finance expert Richard Gray. Gerard Armstrong and managing partner Michael Johnston are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Neasa Quigley; Richard Gray

Other key lawyers:

Gerard Armstrong; Michael Johnston


Carson McDowell consistently provides excellence service and advice in multiple areas of corporate law in a very prompt and effective way.’

Neasa Quigley is our “go to” senior attorney. She provides expert assistance in many areas of corporate law and general counselling.’

Carson McDowell is, in a word, exceptional. The team is always available for advice, responsive in meeting tight deadlines, and focused on the detail whilst never losing sight of the bigger picture.

The difference between Carson McDowell and its competitors is that you always feel that you are Carson McDowell’s most important client.

Richard Gray and dispute resolution partner Declan Magee both offer exceptional service and are highly effective in obtaining results that the clients prioritise.’

Carson McDowell’s partners understand their disciplines fully rather than pretending to and the junior staff are the equal of partner level in many larger firms in terms of ability.

Richard Gray and Neasa Quigley both excel in their disciplines, exude professionalism, create client confidence in their abilities and manage their own in-house teams with the minimum of fuss.

Key clients

SHS Group

Lagan Group Holdings


Statsport Group

Fane Valley Co-Operative Society

Wrightbus International

Eakin Healthcare Group

RiverRidge Recycling

Dalradian Resources

Work highlights

  • Represented the shareholders of the Lagan Group in the sale of their entire shareholding to Breedon Group for over £400m
  • Advised the shareholders of Lowe Rental on the exit of MML Capital and £60m equity investment by Perwyn
  • Acted for the shareholders of Prestige Insurance Holdings in relation to the sale of their majority shareholding in the company
  • Advised SHS Group on its acquisition of 3V Natural Foods
  • Advised Valero Energy on its acquisition of a petroleum storage facility business

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

The 'strong' Hilary Griffith leads the practice at Cleaver Fulton Rankin; she specialises in the higher education, life sciences and technology sectors, and has extensive M&A experience. The team handles corporate finance, M&A, private equity investment, joint ventures and corporate restructurings, among other matters. Agri-business, energy, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals are also areas of particular strength. Stephen Cross, who heads the firm's banking and finance and energy practices, advises on energy-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Griffith

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Cross


The firm is particularly customer-focused and commercially aware.

Hilary Griffith is very commercial and very approachable, seeking to add value for clients wherever possible. She has a strong understanding of contract and commercial law, but take a pragmatic approach, listening to a client’s needs.

Key clients

Ulster Carpet Mills (Holdings)

Lakeland Diaries

JMW Farms


Power NI


Dixons Contractors

Decora Blind Systems

Phion Therapeutics

Equitix Investment Management

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lakeland Dairies Co-Operative Society in relation to its merger with Lacpatrick Co-Operative Society
  • Acted for Equitix Investment Management on its successful bid to purchase Firmus Energy
  • Advised the shareholders of Northern Ireland Plastics Group on the sale of its entire issued share capital to Jain (Europe)
  • Acted for Applegreen in relation to the sale of its Northern Irish assets to Welcome Break Group
  • Advised Jensen Hughes on the Northern Irish aspects of its acquisition of Jeremy Gardner Associates


Private equity transactions are a particular area of strength for Tughans, which has a high-profile client base including a number of investment funds and investee companies. The team also advises on M&A, corporate finance, joint ventures and corporate restructuring, with a focus on the technology, food and drinks, engineering and energy sectors. The 'excellentJohn-George Willis and James Donnelly lead the team, which also includes 'very capable' private equity practice head John McGuckian and the 'personable and practicalCiara Lagan.

Practice head(s):

John-George Willis; James Donnelly

Other key lawyers:

John McGuckian; Ciara Lagan


Tughans has a depth of knowledge both in team and individuals. They put themselves in front and drive and solve whatever the problem. I feel that they are the best in their field.

Tughans gets things done! The partners in the team are exceptional and work together in such a way that complex deals can be achieved through their combined expertise. They don’t just advise and then leave the problem of final decisions at the feet of their client. They work until the right path is clear and then accompany their client to the end of the journey.

James Donnelly is a leader who can guide clients through the demands of a purchaser at exactly the right level. James’ key ability is an appropriately pragmatic approach that balances in favour of his client where to mitigate risks and where to accept risks.

Tughans offers a diverse professional service.

Associate Brendan Donnelly is excellent.

Ciara Lagan is very efficient and pragmatic.

Director Paul O’Brien is very knowledgeable, both with respect to the law and with respect to the client’s business. He is pragmatic and is easy to work with.

Tughans has a very strong team all round. It is experienced and technically highly competent, with good strength in depth.

John McGuckian and Paul O’Brien provide dedication and commitment to every transaction. They are technically strong and take a commercial view. They provide good advice and hold their line when required without becoming entrenched.

John McGuckian is an exceptional local lawyer.

Key clients

Foyle Foods

Pentech Ventures

Kernel Capital

Monaghan Mushrooms Group

Randox Laboratories

Invest Northern Ireland

FP McCann Group

Cordovan Capital

Business Growth Fund (BGF)


Henderson Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders of Vita Liberata Limited on the exit of the private equity shareholder Broadlake Capital and the roll-over investment of management when it was acquired by Crown Laboratories
  • Acted for Elite Electronics in respect of the large private equity investment by Lonsdale Capital
  • Advised the shareholders of William J.M. Fraser & Co. on the sale of the company to Gardrum Holdings, part of the Northern Irish-owned EuroAuctions group
  • Advised on the purchase by Staffline of the Irish business of Grafton Recruitment
  • Acted for Invest NI on its investment into the £30m NI Growth Finance Fund, alongside British Business Bank and a private investor

Keystone Law

Keystone Law acts for listed and unlisted clients, but has been particularly active in public company M&A. The team advises on domestic and cross-border transactions, with particular expertise in the aerospace and healthcare sectors, as well as handling the corporate aspects of real estate financing and forward funding. 'Very capable' Belfast office head John McMahon leads the practice. London-based consultant JP Irvine has strong experience acting for major regulated utilities.

Practice head(s):

John McMahon

Other key lawyers:

JP Irvine


The team is small and provides a high level of personal attention.

John McMahon has a wealth of experience and an eye for the commercial priorities in every transaction.

A very dedicated and capable team who integrate across various aspects of the business. Led by John McMahon, they are both pragmatic and commercial, and very focused on delivering for their clients.

John McMahon and his team are experienced practitioners. They know what the issues are and flag them for discussion in advance. They are not “learning on the job” – they know the job inside out. Experience, locally, nationally and internationally, means that they don’t lead clients down cul-de-sacs.

Keystone Law provides good value advice.’

Danny McKay and John McMahon provide practical and commercial advice. JP Irvine is also a very hungry and commercial lawyer, who seeks to truly help facilitate deals and make things happen, which is indicative of Keystone Law’s progressive, value-adding service.

Key clients

Tayto Group

Hatch Brothers


Causeway Aero Group

Kilmona Property

Giants Park Belfast

Northside Regeneration

Genesis Aerotech

Work highlights

  • Advised Hatch Brothers on its acquisition of the business and assets of Genesis Crafty Bakery
  • Acted for Giants Park Belfast on a major three-phase process submitting a preferred developer proposal to Belfast City Council regarding the proposed development of the significant 250-acre foreshore site in Belfast known as Giants Park
  • Advised Causeway Aero Group on the large-scale acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Belfast Aircraft Stress Engineers

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP acts for local entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses, and private equity and venture capital funds, and advises on M&A transactions, including share sales and acquisitions, capital investments and business purchases. Damian McParland, who is 'accommodating, easy to deal with and very good on detail', is noted for his expertise in corporate finance. Scott Kennedy specialises in advising technology-focused companies on investments and Abbie Long has particular strength in the media and entertainment sector.

Practice head(s):

Damian McParland

Other key lawyers:

Scott Kennedy; Abbie Long


Damian McParland is very experienced, commercial and well respected.

The firm provides an excellent all-round level of service. Partners are technically very good and work is done in a very timely and proactive manner. Lawyers are easily assessible whenever you need to speak to them.

From a technical perspective Damian McParland is excellent. Damian is also exceptional on very quickly getting to grips with the commercial reality of the deal so that the transaction progresses as quickly and efficiently as possible. Damian is always available to deal with issues personally in a very timely and proactive manner.

The team’s expertise in each area is excellent and the practice still has the ethos of treating the customer very well.

Damian McParland is exceptional in his field of M&A.

The service provided by Millar McCall Wylie is way above other firms not just in terms of the team’s knowledge, but also in terms of turnaround and the ability to deliver.

The team is technically strong but also able to take a commercial view when required.’

Scott Kennedy has been a trusted legal adviser for some time. Scott is very strong technically but also pragmatic in approach. He is solutions focused and doesn’t waste time.

Scott Kennedy has the skill and ability to manage complex transactions with many parties involved. He consistently goes beyond the scope of works to ensure all parties remain involved and the transactions complete on time.

The team offers exceptional value for money combined with responsive, practical advice, with great specialisms to help deliver great advice. They are very commercially driven and help drive solutions to issues at all times.

Damian McParland is an excellent lawyer with arguably the broadest skills base of any corporate lawyer in the business, with very strong commercial acumen. He has an excellent ability to summarize complex concepts into simple statements and documents, benefiting his clients and facilitating smooth transactions.

The legal team work and function efficiently together and communicate well.

Damian McParland provides a personal, hands-on approach and has a great working knowledge of what is required.

Key clients

Learning Pool

Cirdan Imaging

Cordovan Capital

Causeway Sensors

Fairfield Finance

McAleer & Rushe Group

Signature Living Hotel Group

WhiteRock Capital Partners

Keystone Group

Kernel Capital

MJM Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Strathspey 7 in relation to its investment into James Tolland Group and then that company’s subsequent acquisition of James Tolland & Co
  • Acted for the shareholders of Antrim Wind Energy in relation to the sale of the shares in the company to Brookfield Renewables
  • Acted for Silform Technologies on its further funding round supported by its existing investor group
  • Advised MJM Group on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Topglass Contracts Holdings
  • Acted for the shareholders of Campsie Veterinary Services on the sale of the company to CVS (UK)

Mills Selig

Mills Selig has longstanding experience advising on IPOs, and acts for one of the few Northern Irish plcs. The team handles complex, high-value transactions for a number of technology, waste management and energy companies. Chris Guy, who 'has a very good reputation, especially for corporate finance', leads the practice. Senior associate Glenn Watterson is noted for his energy expertise. Kathryn Walls moved to an in-house role.

Practice head(s):

Chris Guy

Other key lawyers:

Glenn Watterson

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is known for its strength in the energy, private equity, manufacturing and healthcare sectors, regularly advising large local, UK-based and international corporates and private equity firms. The team is also active in M&A and equity capital markets work. Glasgow and Belfast-based Richard Masters took over as practice head following the departure of Kevin Devanny. Richard Murphy, who focuses on energy-related matters, and associates Lisa Early and Michael Hamill are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Masters


Pinsent Masons stands out for the consistency, experience, and professionalism of the team.

The team has a real understanding of our business and this is vitally important in helping us with difficult and complicated business matters.

Key clients

Viridian Group

Belfast City Airport


Niche Drinks


Foresight Group

TCI Renewables

NTR Wind Management

Portman Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Advised US drinks company Luxco on the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Derry-based Niche Drinks Co
  • Advised Headlam on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Ceco (Flooring)
  • Acted for Foresight Group on the acquisition of 100% of the equity of Simple Power, comprising a portfolio of 52 onshore sub-250kW single wind turbines located across Northern Ireland
  • Acted for Siemens in respect of the acquisition of Lightwork Software
  • Advised Greencoat  UK Wind on the acquisition of Brockaghboy Wind Farm Limited from ERG Power Generation SpA

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors is particularly active advising funds on venture capital and private equity investments, as well as assisting with M&A transactions, corporate restructurings, joint venture projects and corporate structuring on property development financings. Clients range from local family businesses to international companies, while the technology and healthcare sectors are key areas of strength. Vicky Dummigan leads the team, which also includes senior solicitor Raymond Duddy.

Practice head(s):

Vicky Dummigan

Other key lawyers:

Raymond Duddy

Key clients


Crescent Capital

Whiterock Capital Partners

Xperience Group

Automated Intelligence

Analytics Engines


Willis Insurance & Risk Management

Dunluce Healthcare

Orca Money

Kane Group


Work highlights

  • Advised Brogan in connection with a multimillion-pound debt for equity swap involving its Luxembourg-based funders and a related group restructuring
  • Advised Wirefox on its disposal of Gortmullan Energy, the holding vehicle for Snugborough wind farm, to Optinenergy
  • Advised Imperva on its financial assistance arrangements with Invest NI on the set-up of its Northern Ireland business and operations
  • Acted for DDFI on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Nfield Holdings, the holding company for the Oswaldtwistle Mills retail park in Lancashire, England
  • Advised Fscom on the sale of its KYC-Pro product to PricewaterhouseCoopers

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett's 'highly experienced' team acts for local and international clients, including family-owned SMEs and a number of public sector bodies such as housing associations. The team is active in the charity, agri-food, construction, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing sectors, among others. Kevin McVeigh leads the team, and newly promoted partner Cathy Murphy specialises in technology-related transactions.

Practice head(s):

Kevin McVeigh

Other key lawyers:

Cathy Murphy; Caoimhe McCullagh


What has impressed me most is the commerciality of team and the speed of service. The lawyers provide practical, workable guidance and advice in easy-to-understand language, which combines their first-rate knowledge of the law and many years of relevant experience.

What particularly makes Elliott Duffy Garrett stand out is that Kevin McVeigh and commercial property partner Leo Brown are extremely personable and bring calmness and common sense as well as strength in depth of legal knowledge to bear on every assignment. This gives confidence to both clients and other professionals.

Cathy Murphy is very calm, pragmatic and easy to deal with.

Kevin McVeigh is very experienced and gets to the key issues promptly and professionally. He saves layers of drafting and explains clearly to clients in layman’s terms the commercial implications of legal documentation.

Work highlights

  • Represented a company in relation to the sale of the business
  • Advised the shareholders of a company on its sale for up to £6m
  • Advised a company on a private equity investment
  • Acted for a company on its sale to a competitor
  • Advised a company on the purchase of a bottled water business

Johnsons Solicitors

Industry work is a particular speciality for Johnsons Solicitors, which regularly advises clients in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. Other areas of strength are healthcare, including the acquisition of nursing homes and domiciliary care businesses, and retail. 'Excellent communicatorRhys Jones leads the practice and is noted for his M&A experience. Solicitor Jenna Watt and commercial property head David Wilson, who brings additional expertise in telecoms, are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Rhys Jones

Other key lawyers:

David Wilson; Jenna Watt


The Johnsons team combines a high level of technical knowledge and expertise, professionally delivered, with a strong commercial awareness and practical approach to problems. The team is accessible and approachable. The lawyers are strong communicators and make the complex problem “simple” for the client to understand.

Rhys Jones has excellent technical knowledge and a practical approach with strong commercial awareness.

The team provides a high level of practical advice on “day-to-day” legal issues. The team is approachable and the level of accessibility is high.

Rhys Jones has a practical and realistic approach to advice given on day-to-day and higher level, strategic legal issues. He is approachable and accessible.

Key clients

Argento Group

Isaac Agnew Group

Balcas Group


MD Healthcare

Douglas & Grahame

Derry Refrigeration Transport

Domestic Care

Richland Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Balcas Group on the acquisition of the business and assets of Forever Fuels
  • Advised Home Care Services (NI) (trading as Optimum Care) in respect of its acquisition of domiciliary care business Cedars Community Care in Belfast
  • Advised a client on the disposal of multiple retail businesses for around £17.5m
  • Advised the shareholders of a corporate group on the restructure of its business
  • Acted for the shareholders of a debt recovery agency on the sale of the entire issued share capital


TLT's newly formed corporate practice has a good reputation in the private equity and venture capital space, as well as for advising clients in the renewable energy sector on fundraises and M&A transactions. The team's fast-growing client base also includes retail, leisure and digital companies. Andrew Jennings, who moved from Arthur Cox Belfast, leads the team; he is noted for his experience in international transactions. Jennings was joined by associate Grant Edwards from Tughans.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Jennings

Other key lawyers:

Grant Edwards


‘TLT provide a very high standard of service and are very knowledgeable of our business and the retail sector. They have good strength in depth and provide cost effective commercial legal advice.’

Key clients


YFM Equity Partners

Lough Erne Resort (Lough Shore Road)

SQN Capital Management (UK)

McGimpsey Group

Bank of India

Moorefield Contracts



Hadstone Energy

Work highlights

  • Acted for YFM Capital Partners in respect of a £1.5m investment into Northern Ireland company Seven Technologies Holdings
  • Advised Braidwater on a follow-on investment by the Business Growth Fund
  • Acted for Kraydel on a £2.5m investment round by a syndicate of investors
  • Acted for Hurree in respect of an investment by US-based venture capital fund Quake Capital
  • Advised McGimpsey Group on its purchase of the entire issued share capital of longstanding Northern Irish family business McGimpsey Brothers Removals