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Corporate and commercial: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP has a reputation for assembling large deal teams to complete complex transactions in short time frames. The department advises a wide range of clients, from owner managers and entrepreneurs through to SMEs and private equity houses. A large amount of the firm's work is advising on refinancings, disposals and corporate restructurings but it also acts on  M&A deals within sectors such as health, education, tech and retail. James Hawkeswood, who leads the practice, specialises in joint ventures and private equity investments.

Practice head(s):

James Hawkeswood


Hugely responsive.

Gemma Spiceley is a star.

Key clients

Utilita Group

Harwood Wealth Management Group

Cubic Corporation

Gresham Technologies

Be Wiser Insurance Services

Lucketts Holdings

CVS Group

Oyster Yachts


Universe Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Harwood Wealth Management Group on its takeover by an entity controlled by Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners.
  • Advised Ground Control Holdings Limited on its acquisition of JW Crowther & Son.
  • Advised Utilita on two transactions when it acquired a total of 60,000 domestic customers from two companies.

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow's  Hampshire team attracts work from London and across the South East, where the firm has grown its network of offices through the 2020 merger  between Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins. With a reputation for advising on buy and build growth, the firm's Southampton office  has close ties to the IT,  retail and media sectors. Its core work includes disposals, IPOs, fundraisings, management buy-outs as well as M&A. Roger Bailey leads the practice, while TMT expert Thomas Clark was promoted to the partnership and advises clients on complex restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Roger Bailey


Diverse range of expertise and individuals to suit any requirement. Sensible, commercial approach to the legal profession with a view to achieving objectives, not scoring points!

Personable, relatable and pragmatic, demonstrating deep knowledge and a practical attitude to corporate transactions.

Approachable, thorough and experienced.

Manmohan Singh  is calm, collected and always thinking ahead.

Kirsty Bowyer is thorough, highly organised and professional.

This practice knows its subject matter, responds quickly, gives pro-active advice and seeks good commercial solutions.

David Bright did a very good job for us, with his attention to deal and high levels of interactivity.

Key clients

Churchill Retirement

Bytes Technology Group

Phoenix Software

Third Space

Core Technology

Entrust IT

Venture Engineering Group

Crave Interactive

Drake & Morgan

Venture Equity Partners

SKS Business Services

Aura Technology

Secrutiny Limited

Camm & Hooper

Excalibur Unified Communications

Work highlights

  • Sale of majority stake in market leading interactive ordering solutions provider to True Corporation with a deal value of $30,000,000.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Sunbury Holdings Limited, the owner of Planer plc, on its sale to the TSX-listed global provider of precision instruments, consumables, software and services to the fertility industry, Hamilton Thorne Ltd.
  • Advising on a management buyout and reorganisation with a deal value in excess of £20,000,000.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP acts for a broad cross section of clients, with a particular focus on venture capital, private equity and mid-market M&A. The firm has strong connections in the local area and the team also leverages resources from across its national offering to advise on cross-border transactions. Practice head Mark Shepherd specialises in advising both public and private companies in corporate transactions while Sean Wright heads the the private equity practice, which sits within the corporate division.

Practice head(s):

Mark Shepherd

Other key lawyers:

Sean Wright; Jon Smart

Key clients

MW Restaurants

Happen GP

Hamleys Global Holdings

Connect Managed Services

Create Health

Nationwide Hire


Work highlights

  • Advised on the £68 million sale of famous British toy retailer Hamleys.
  • Advising the shareholders of Iruvis Limited.
  • Advised the shareholders of Happen GP Limited on the sale of the company to Accenture (UK) Limited.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP acts for clients ranging from local SMEs through to large international brands in relation to corporate finance, joint venture agreements and articles of association. The team has been growing, following its hire of  Jon Stickland with the addition of Julian Hamblin from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in early 2020. Hamblin is a commercial contracts specialist within the IT, tech and e-commerce sectors. Mike Watson leads the practice and acts for a wide variety of sellers and buyers of privately owned companies.

Practice head(s):

Mike Watson


This practice is unique. The whole team are very knowledgeable in their field and ALWAYS puts their clients first on all occasions. I have found they are willing to go the extra mile and nothing is too difficult for them. Having used other practices in the past, Trethowans are head and shoulders above the rest and their customer service is best in class.

Mike Watson and Lucy Gleisner are key individuals at the practice. Both are well informed, and put their clients’ objectives first. Great listeners and communicators. Both are able to work through complicated issues to a resolution.

Key clients

Riskstop Group

Saint-Gobain / Jewson

Mail Solutions Group

Baker Perkins


The Property Franchise Group


Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition of Farmers Weekly from RELX.
  • Advise on many commercial agreements, including  significant manufacturing and wholesale agreements.
  • Acting for shareholders in the sale of a multi-country manufacturing company for consideration in excess of £20m.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is highly regarded in Hampshire for its energy expertise.  Sebastian Briggs is the name to note here, with significant experience in renewable energy for both national and local companies. The wider corporate practice is led by corporate finance specialist Ian Holden and also advises clients in the retail and financial services sectors. The team is known for its ability to work on cross-border transactions and a significant number of its clients are based outside Hampshire. Julian Hamblin and Jon Stickland both left the firm for Southampton based Trethowans LLP.

Practice head(s):

Ian Holden


‘Very knowledgeable and calm’

Key clients

Chemring Group

Renewable Energy Systems


REG Power Management

Ordnance Survey

The Renewables Infrastructure Group


New Look


Comexposium Group

Imerys SA

Immediate Media

NICE Systems

Lewmar Marine

Work highlights

  • Supported Quilter Plc as part of its ongoing programme to expand its wealth advisory business through acquisition.
  • Acted for the RES Group on the sale of the 25 MW Craiggore wind farm project in Northern Ireland to ERG, the Italian based energy company.
  • Provided corporate governance support to Venerate Solutions Ltd, which acquired an Indian company.

Paris Smith LLP

The nine-partner Paris Smith LLP corporate offering had a record-breaking 2019 in terms of number of deals completed. As well as advising on several venture capital transactions, the team was also instructed on several "buy and build" deals by private equity backed portfolio companies. The practice has significant expertise in the automotive, technology, healthcare, marine, built environment, recruitment and professional services sectors. Michael Moore and Crispin Dick  jointly lead the practice, while Claire McCauley specialises in non-transactional work including solvent restructurings and group reorganisations.

Practice head(s):

Michael Moore; Crispin Dick


Quickly learned about the client, the transaction and the key objectives – they listen.

Strong breadth of talent and experience ensures your transaction is covered from all angles.

Warm, genuine and colourful characters make them fun to be around.

Michael Moore is commercially astute and his all-round experience and talent shines through during the transaction. Extremely strong at building relationships across all those involved in the transaction.

The team I was dealing with showed a caring professional approach that was always commercial. They worked openly with our financial advisers and were happy to have their views altered or moderated by good arguments. The team communicated very clearly about their specialities and responsibilities and seemed to stay well briefed so that when we made contact we got answers quickly without any buck passing.’

Richard Atcherley is an outstanding professional showing great leadership and keeping all parties informed and on side. Probably the best commercial lawyer I’ve ever worked with.

Arezou Rezai is a fast clever focused lawyer with a clear commercial viewpoint. An excellent communicator she steered my team through the due diligence process with a kindly pressure that met deadlines.

Jonathan White managed the data collection and the data room extremely effectively and liaised with all parties and was a main point of contact. He carried on with the process of tidying up to the end.

Key clients

S.H.B Hire

Millbrook Industries

Churches Fire

Guernsey Recycling Group

UK Power Solutions

Lymington Marina

Adam Morey Holdings


Hillier Nurseries

Richmond Cars

Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders of S.H.B Hire Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to a UK subsidiary of global vehicle rental giant, Enterprise.
  • Advised on the demerger of Millbrook Industries Group and the disposal of Millbrook Healthcare Limited to Cairngorm Capital.
  • Acted for Northern Ireland based Totalmobile Limited, backed by Horizon Private Equity, in its simultaneous acquisitions of unrelated Cloud Dialogs Limited and Technological Business Solutions Limited.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans acts on a number of private equity and venture capital backed deals and has seen an increase in activity within the marine, IT and tech sectors. Led by Sean Kelly, the team has particular expertise in mergers, acquisitions, disposals, takeovers, joint ventures, capital reorganisations and restructurings. Oliver Kelly has experience advising on insolvency related distressed acquisitions and disposals and has experience of cross border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Sean Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Kelly; Roger Gregory


Technically very able and very personable.’

‘Make doing deals with clients efficient and effective.’

‘Ollie Kelly is very strong technically and is a high quality deal-doer’ 

Key clients

Red Funnel


Panoramic Growth Equity

ITS Technology Group

The Appointment Group

Premier Marinas

Maven Capital Partners

Amicus ITS


Gamma Technologies

Work highlights

  • Advised on the £45m secondary buyout of ITS Technology by Aviva.
  • Advised Catapult on its sale to SpotX.
  • Advised Amicus ITS on its merger with Aura Technology.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Kelvin Balmont  leads Clarke Willmott LLP 's corporate practice and has specialist expertise in the banking and finance sector, regularly acting for banks in relation to the funding of transactions. The team offers a partner-led service and is comprised of five partners and three associates. Rich Eldridge joined the team in October 2019, bringing with him a wealth of healthcare sector knowledge, while Chidem Aliss heads up the commercial IT team.

Practice head(s):

Kelvin Balmont


Richard Swain is knowledgeable, competent and efficient. Thoroughly recommend without any reservations.

My company has relied upon the legal services of Clarke Willmott for many years, across multiple disciplines. Their advice is always delivered in both a very professional and friendly manner.  As my business continues to grow in different directions, what is invaluable is their ability to bring in colleagues from different departments as and when needed.  This multi-discipline advice is usually project-managed through a single point of contact, making for a simplified approach in a very busy operating environment.

Amy Peacey is a joy to work with. In my opinion, her respective sector knowledge is unrivalled.  Time deadlines are always met. I regularly find myself recommending Clarke Willmott to my industry peers. In addition, they also see the value in what my company does and through events, introduce me to potential clients.

Key clients

Onecom Group



Chapman IP

Nationwide Services Group

InterBay Funding

Tradeweb Europe

Endent Energy

Letco Group

R Hunt

Revive a Phone

Work highlights

  • Acting for Onecom Group Limited in connection with a new £30m loan facility.
  • Advised on the sale of Chapman IP to Murgitroyd Group, funded by Clydesdale Bank.
  • Advising InterBay Funding in relation to their short term finance/bridging products.