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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and Commercial: Hampshire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Corporate and Commercial: Hampshire
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Rising stars

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Corporate restructurings, disposals and refinancing are among the key workstreams for Blake Morgan LLP's corporate team. It has a strong reputation for work arising from the healthcare, education, technology and retail sectors. Team head James Hawkeswood focuses on handling M&A, joint ventures and private equity matters for private entities. Commercial IP specialist Sheilah Mackie departed for an in-house position at BAE Systems in 2018. In another development, corporate tax specialist Simon Court retired from private practice.

Practice head(s):James Hawkeswood

Other key lawyers:Mark Hepworth; Stephen Archibald; Mat Wilson; Gemma Spiceley; Jasmin Eames

Testimonials

'The team was totally professional, dedicated and resourceful'.

'Our deal was completed with the utmost care and attention'.

'Highly responsive'.

'The team adapts its practices to fit the needs of the client'.

'Steven Archibald instilled us with complete confidence from the beginning of the deal to the end'.

'Gemma Spicelely is calm and pragmatic - she ensured we saw our deal through to completion even when circumstances became testing'.

Key Clients

CVS Group plc

Kendalls Group

Oyster Yachts

Cornerstone Healthcare

Gresham Technologies

Be Wiser Insurance Services Limited

Harwood Wealth Management Group

Lucketts Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised CVS on the negotiation and agreement of various documents required to enable it to raise new funds worth £60m from investors on the AIM market.
  • Advised Harwood Wealth on its acquisition of AE Financial Services worth up to £6.2m.
  • Advised an AIM-listed client on its share acquisition of a Luxembourg-based technology company worth up to €8.5m.
  • Advised the shareholders of South Africa Lodge Holdings and Kitnocks Specialist Care (collectively known as Cornerstone Healthcare) on the sale of their entire issued share capital to Ignite Growth for an eight figure sum.
  • Advised Lucketts on its acquisition of Mortons Travel.

In addition to acting for entities in the technology, financial services and manufacturing & logistics sectors, Moore Blatch LLP generates work from private entrepreneurs. Its practice covers M&A, IPOs, private equity transactions, fundraisings, buy-ins and buy-outs. The team is experienced in assisting clients with strategic serial acquisitions. Peter Jeffery is sought out to act for management teams, with a primary focus on the tech sector. Dorothy Agnew is the name to note for IT contract work.

Practice head(s):Roger Bailey

Other key lawyers:Peter Jeffery; Jeremy Over; Dorothy Agnew; David Bright; Thomas Clark

Testimonials

'They are more commercial than most lawyers and tend to focus on keeping legal 'speak' as simple as possible'.

'Jeremy Over is ambitious and driven and genuinely wants to drive fast results'.

'The team of Moore Blatch is outstanding in their response time and always right to the point'.

 

Key Clients

ICS Group Holdings

Churchill Retirement

F.T.E Group

MCT Engineering

Peach Technologies

Venture Equity Partners

Excalibur Unified Communications

Motorcare Motor Factors

Work highlights

  • Assisted the shareholders of ICS Cool Energy with the sale of the company to Ingersoll Rand.
  • Assisted Whiteley based multi-award-winning technology provider Peach Technologies with its acquisition of Taylor Made Computer Solutions.
  • Assisted a client with two rounds of bidding pertaining to an off-shore manufacturing business.
  • Assisted with the disposal of the entire issued share capital of Motorcare Motor Factors to Alliance Automotive Group.

Shoosmiths LLP's practice has a strong reputation in the venture capital, private equity and mid-market M&A arenas. Its team acts for management teams, SMEs and both national and international entities, with particular experience of advising technology sector clients. The head of the national private equity group is Sean Wright, who acts for private equity investors, management teams and portfolio companies. Stephen Porter leads the firm's national corporate division.

Practice head(s):Stephen Porter; Sean Wright

Other key lawyers:Jon Smart

Testimonials

'The team is very knowledgeable and always willing to assist. The responses we receive from lawyers are always spot on, to the point and well articulated'.

'The team is excellent and shows steady growth - certainly a stand-out team in Solent'.

'The firm is extremely knowledgeable and able to draw on the expertise of practitioners from a range of areas'.

Key Clients

Lloyds Development Capital

Shareholders of Taylor Made Computer Solutions

Shareholders of AndersElite

Henkel

Space and Time Group

Meridian Growth Capital

Bofa International

Dukes Education

Cavendish Education

Kondor

Work highlights

  • Advised LDC on the sale of BOFA International to US NYSE-listed entity Donaldson Corporation in a transaction valued at £90m.
  • Advised the shareholders of AndersElite Holdings Limited on the sale of 100% of their issued share capital to the Morson Group.
  • Advised the shareholders of Taylor Made Computer Solutions Limited on the sale of the managed providers company to Peach Technologies.
  • Advised Henkel on the sale of certain business lines in the context of the rationalisation of the business.
  • Advised Meridian Growth Capital on the sale of its shareholding in loveholidays.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has experience of matters with a nexus to the energy, retail and financial services sectors. A significant portion of its work has a cross-border aspect, and the firm has a strong profile among international clients. On the domestic front, the team acts for several large entities, which are headquartered in Hampshire.  Sebastian Briggs often leads on energy sector transactions. Ian Holden's varied practice includes corporate finance, acquisitions and disposals, and shareholder and joint venture agreements.

Practice head(s):Ian Holden

Other key lawyers:Sebastian Briggs; Stephen Pierce; Carly Holt

Testimonials

'Excellent service and high level of responsiveness'.

'Incredibly thorough approach to transactions'.

'Highly accomplished lawyers'.

'London-quality service out of a regional office'.

'Sebastian Briggs and Anthony Alderman combine legal expertise with business acumen'.

'Stephen Pierce is a pleasure to work with; he is incredibly experienced with an excellent understanding of the market and a pragmatic approach'.

Key Clients

Chemring Group

Renewable Energy Systems

Transdev

REG Power Management

Ordnance Survey

The Renewables Infrastructure Group

Quilter

New Look

LV=

Comexposium Group

Imerys SA

Immediate Media

NICE Systems

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Dutch startup Lean Library BV on the sale of the company to UK-based Sage Publications.
  • Advised The Renewables Infrastructure Group on the £195m refinancing of seven UK onshore wind farms.
  • Advised Transdev on the sale of its subsidiary Cabfind, an on-demand taxi service.
  • Assisted RES Group with the £82m sale of its 30MW Solwaybank wind farm project to The Renewables Infrastructure Group.
  • Advised Comexposium UK on its sale of business and assets connected to its right to operate the Ad Tech exhibition in the UK to CloserStill E-Commerce.

In addition to undertaking mid-market M&A, Irwin Mitchell's team also handles joint ventures and corporate restructurings. The team works across offices, enabling it to draw on firm-wide expertise in private equity transactions. Dean Drew is the name to note.

Practice head(s):John Riddick

Other key lawyers:Dean Drew

Key Clients

The Hendy Group

Spire Financial

Ross Holdings

Hectic Europe

Emerson Process Management

Trant Engineering

David Lindley & Co

Compleat Food Network UK

Corvia

Portland Bunkers

Work highlights

  • Assisted The Hendy Group with its acquisition of Unbeatable Cars.
  • Assisted Ross Holdings with its acquisition and subsequent refinancing of Yarm Developments.
  • Assisted Spire Financial with its joint venture with UK-listed entity JUST Group.
  • Assisting the minority shareholder and angel investors with the sale of the entire issued share capital of Corvia.
  • Assisted the shareholders with the sale of Compleat Food Network.

The nine-partner team at Paris Smith LLP acts for clients ranging in size from owner-managed businesses to large national clients. It is also increasingly active in the advice to international entities. The group is led by Sean Davies. Another key figure is Amanda Brockwell, who is active in transactional work for mid-market clients, including those undertaking serial acquisitions. Jonathon Roy is an M&A specialist.

Practice head(s):Sean Davies; Crispin Dick; James McNeil

Other key lawyers:Amanda Brockwell; Jonathon Roy; Michael Moore; Richard Atcherley; Clare McCauley; Laura Trapnell

Key Clients

Box-It

TotalMobile

Churches Fire Security

SHB Hire

T W Metals

Smarter Business

Porvair

Contraload NV

UK Web Media

Hilliers Garden Centres

Work highlights

  • Assisted the shareholders of UK Web Media with their sale to Inflexion Private Equity.
  • Assisted Churches Fire Security with three separate acquisitions of Fire Safety Services, Eton Fire and WMS, with the aggregate deal value totalling approximately £15m.
  • Assisted Diversi Foods with the UK legal aspects of the disposal of its entire issued share capital to Martin Braun-Gruppe.    
  • Assisted TW Metals with its multimillion pound acquisition of Locate supplies.
  • Assisted Smarter Business with its multimillion pound acquisition of Visionist.

The arrival of commercial contracts specialist Jon Stickland from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in May 2018 has bolstered Trethowans LLP's corporate & commercial offering. Team head Mike Watson is experienced in advising buyers and sellers of privately-owned businesses. Elsewhere, the group handles the drafting of investment agreements, shareholder agreements and joint venture agreements. Paula Eckton departed for Steele Raymond LLP in June 2018.

Practice head(s):Mike Watson

Other key lawyers:Nick Gent; Jon Stickland; Lucy Gleisner; Jamie Earley

Testimonials

'A corporate offering that demonstrates strong teamwork and always puts its clients first.'

'The corporate team instinctively knows exactly what its clients require.'

'Each individual is well-versed in their field of expertise.'

'The team never needs to be asked twice - it informs you every step of the way.'

 

Key Clients

Riskstop Group

Jewson

Mail Solutions

R&M Electrical Holdings

Work highlights

  • Assisted R&M Electric Holdings with its management buyout.
  • Assisted Golden Wolf with an investment by US-based animation studio Psyop.
  • Assisted The Young Family with the sale of Sealock to Follman.
  • Assisted shareholders of Armstrong Builders Merchants with sale of the entire issued share capital to Anglesey-based builders' merchants Huws Gray.
  • Assisted shareholders of Phoenix Commercial Collections with the sale of the entire issued share capital.

Led by Sean Kelly, the corporate practice at BDB Pitmans demonstrates strong capabilities in private equity transactions; these include management buyouts and deals backed by private equity or venture capital trusts. Oliver Kelly specialises in M&A, buy-ins and buyouts and corporate finance. The firm has been particularly active in matters connected with the travel, marine/transport and IT/technology sectors recently.

Practice head(s):Sean Kelly

Other key lawyers:Oliver Kelly; Roger Gregory

Key Clients

Clipper Ventures

Red Funnel Ferries

BGF

Panoramic Growth Equity

ITS Technology

The Appointment

Premier Marinas

Specialist Journeys

Amicus ITS

AJM Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Assisted global travel company The Appointment Group with a buy-out by Apiary Capital.  
  • Assisted AJM Healthcare with a buyout by WestBridge Capital.
  • Assisted Red Funnel Ferries with its group restructuring.
  • Assisted global manufacturer of environmentally-friendly, high-tech material E-Leather with a £70 million fundraising from both new and existing investors.
  • Assisted the shareholders of Inflexion Private Equity with its investment in PMC Treasury.

Clarke Willmott LLP works on a steady flow of management buyout deals involving private equity-backed entities. Its team is also increasingly sought out in cross-jurisdictional transactions. Richard Swain has a strong track record of acting for clients in the banking & finance and telecommunications sectors. The firm's ability to deliver full-service corporate and commercial advice is supported by expertise in ancillary areas, such as real estate, IP, and employment. Niall Murphy provides tax support to corporate clients.

Practice head(s):Kelvin Balmont

Other key lawyers:Richard Swain; Chidem Aliss; Emma Couch; Amy Kerr

Testimonials

'Richard Swain and Amy Kerr are both very helpful and efficient; they always meet their deadlines'.

'The team is pro-active and works towards deadline dates diligently. As a banking client, we are fully kept in the loop with regard to pending transactions and concerns as they are raised'.

'Clarke Willmott takes a balanced approach problem-solving; it looks for a solution that achieves client aims without clocking up unnecessary time in arguing over niche legal points for the sake of it'.

'The individuals I work with are always available to discuss matters or answer questions'.

Key Clients

Capital Cash

Total Rail Solutions

Eton Fire

Amiri Construction

Marindus Group

Import Services

Burgon and Ball

NetPay Solutions Group

Orvis

Buse

Work highlights

  • Assisted sellers with the sale of online Islamic fashion retailer Inayah to Wed2b.
  • Assisted sellers with the multi-million pound sale of Total Rail Solutions through a private equity-based management buy-out.
  • Advised Orvis on a corporate reorganisation.
  • Assisted sellers with the sale of Eton Fire to venture capital-backed company Churches Fire Security.
  • Assisted sellers with the multi-million pound sale of Marindus Group to Axel Johnson International.  

In addition to attracting a steady stream of M&A, Coffin Mew LLP's corporate team works on MBOs, MBIs, fundraisings and shareholder agreements. The team is also developing a strategic focus on the private equity space, with it increasingly acting for private equity-backed businesses. Areas of sector expertise include technology, care & protection and real estate. Hayley Bevis is the head of the firm-wide corporate practice.

Practice head(s):Hayley Bevis

Other key lawyers:Dominic Travers; Tim Watkins; Jonathan Sherman

Key Clients

Shareholders of DV02

Teneo

Consumables Solutions

Jolly Property Services

MWR InfoSecurity

NMT Holding

Hughes Ellard

The shareholders of Action Pumps

Work highlights

  • Assisted the shareholders of DV02 with their sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Daisy Group.
  • Assisted Consumables Solutions with its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Safe & Warm.
  • Assisted Jolly Property Services with the sale of its residential property management and lettings business.
  • Assisted Teneo with its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Geode Networks Europe.
  • Assisted Hughes Ellard with its merger with Vail Williams LLP.

Foot Anstey's practice has had a marked uptick in cross-border mandates, with the firm acting for entities in the US, Portugal and Belgium, among other markets. Mark Pinder in Southampton has been instrumental in building up the firm's international practice, and has a wealth of experience of cross-border M&A work, with particular knowledge of the Middle East. The firm has core strengths in matters connected with the banking and finance, media and technology, property, infrastructure and construction, and retail and leisure sectors.

Practice head(s):Mark Pinder

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