Counting AIM-listed companies and private equity houses amongst its key clients, the Blake Morgan LLP team has extensive experience of handling complex M&A in the technology, education, and social care sectors. James Hawkeswood specialises in joint ventures and private equity investments, representing retail and energy corporations, while Mark Hepworth has in-depth expertise in advising on acquisitions and disposals in the healthcare and special educational needs industries. Stephen Archibald is knowledgeable on public company takeovers, and Gemma Spiceley routinely assists private companies from the franchise and childcare space. Matthew Wilson acts for high-net-worth-individuals. Senior associate Jasmin Taylor focuses on group reorganisations.
Corporate and commercial: Hampshire in South East
Other key lawyers:
James Hawkeswood; Mark Hepworth; Stephen Archibald; Gemma Spiceley; Mathew Wilson; Jasmin Taylor
‘The engagement has been proactive, timely and very supportive. Access to partners and associate across the Blake Morgan portfolio has been first class and has given me and my trustees a great deal of comfort to know that we work with skilled and professional lawyers.’
‘Extremely competent team with people who engaged with an appropriate level of detail in an industry that was unusual but with clear ability, competence, and helpfulness. Really effective and gave confidence to us that we could take the step of buying a significant business.’
‘Gemma Spiceley was seriously impressive and helped us understand and negotiate the details with great care and competence. Seriously impressive and we would not hesitate to use the firm again or recommend them in future.’
‘Gemma Spiceley is strong and realistic in her advice. A good lateral thinker to address complex issues.’
‘The Blake Morgan team are professional and thorough. Our company has used them on many occasions and we always get a great service. All of the team that I have worked directly with are knowledgeable and efficient. The benefit to potential clients is the wealth of experience across the firm and their responsiveness, particularly when there is an urgent task to be carried out.’
‘Gemma Spiceley and Jasmin Taylor know our business which is essential. They explain the complex legal jargon in simple terms to make it understood.’
Utilita Group Limited
Argentis Group Limited
Gresham Technologies plc
Vocational Training Charitable Trust
Hughes & Salvidge
Peachstate Hobby Distribution, LLC
- Advised Hughes & Salvidge Waste Management on the disposal of its entire issued share capital and subsidiaries, which followed on from an acquisition and previous restructuring exercise.
- Advised Vocational Training Charitable Trust on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Skillsfirst Holdings and its subsidiaries, Skillsfirst Awards and Skillsfirst Assess.
- Advised Eve (the former AIM-listed direct-to-consumer mattress, bed and sleep wellness brand operating in the UK, Ireland and France) and its directors on a strategic review undertaken by way of a 4-month long, takeover code-governed formal sale process.
With the 2020 merger between Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins fully finalised, the strengthened Moore Barlow group is well placed to offer bespoke advice on the whole spectrum of corporate work, particularly acquisitions and disposals. Guildford-based John Warchus is the practice head of the commercial team, while Jeremy Over leads the corporate department from Southampton, bringing extensive expertise in IT and technology-related transactions to the group. Roger Bailey has over 30 years’ experience supporting clients with M&A deals; David Bright is an expert in the telecoms field, and Dorothy Agnew handles complex commercial agreements. Thomas Clark focuses on long-term incentive plans, while Kirsty Leary, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, is knowledgeable on corporate reorganisations.
Jeremy Over; John Warchus
Other key lawyers:
Roger Bailey; David Bright; Dorothy Agnew; Belinda Walters; Thomas Clark; Kirsty Leary; Polly Cross
‘A high-quality firm with a relatively young and highly driven team of partners. Significant experience in the South of England and provide sensible good value advice to businesses.’
‘Kirsty Leary – an experienced and approachable practitioner who has provided clear and concise guidance to clients. Jeremy Over – an experienced practitioner who has worked on a number of flagship company sales in the technology sector.’
‘The Moore Barlow corporate team fulfils the classic criteria: small enough to care, big enough to cope. Partners are visible and add tangible value even on smaller transactions, and the team combines commercial acumen with a firm technical grasp.’
‘Roger Bailey leads transactions with a quiet but highly effective competence, both hands-on and accessible around the clock.’
‘They have been extremely helpful, supportive and quick to respond to all enquiries.’
‘We work closely with Thomas Clark and his team. We receive excellent service from everyone and they listen carefully to any concerns or specific matters that need to be addressed.’
‘The quality of service remains high, the work gets done without delay and, critically, the vendors don’t see any delay or breaks within the process.’
‘David Bright is a great, down-to-earth guy. No ego and not out to ‘win’ on our behalf. His calm, assured skill and experience mean we seldom experience deadlock or ‘toys-out-of-the-pram’ moments with the other side, something I have experienced with other lawyers in the past.’
Southern Communications Limited
FR Consultants Ltd
New Path Fire and Security Ltd
4Com Group Limited
Bytes Technology Plc
PHL Group Limited
Hall & Woodhouse Limited
- Advised the shareholders of CellPath Holdings on the sale of the whole of the issued share capital of the company to StatLab Medical Products Holdings UK.
- Assisted with strategic acquisition for the Southern Communications group, which involved advising on a complex consideration structure.
- Advised the sellers on the sale of cybersecurity company Security to private equity-backed Acora Group.
A broad cross-section of clients, including private equity houses, venture capital funds, and local SMEs, instruct the team at Shoosmiths LLP. The team demonstrates considerable strength in handling M&A and private equity transactions, covering industries ranging from fintech to education. Stephen Porter is the national head of the corporate division, and focuses on transactional services, including corporate restructuring and tax-related issues. Julia Ishak leads the commercial department, handling complex contractual issues. Sean Wright is the key contact for equity providers and financial sponsors. Mark Shepherd specialises in private company M&A, while principal associate Lisa Sigalet has expertise in venture capital transactions. Principal associates Emma Livesey and Laura Austin are also noted.
Stephen Porter; Julia Ishak
Other key lawyers:
Sean Wright; Mark Shepherd; Lisa Sigalet; Emma Livesey; Laura Austin
‘Great team, very responsive and driven.’
‘Emma Livesey – stellar associate. Takes time to know the client and how they work.’
‘Sean Wright – very knowledgeable, commercial and responsive.’
‘Shoosmiths are an approachable but highly skilled firm with excellent depth of technical resources to cover any and all requirements clients might have.’
‘Lisa Sigalet – an experienced solicitor, Lisa has an innate ability to keep clients relaxed and focused on the commercial outcomes rather than getting bogged down in the complexities of transactions. Her advice and manner makes her a pleasure to deal with, both as a professional and client.’
‘Emma Livesey has a keen eye for detail, with experience in the TMT and education sectors that has proven invaluable. We have been consistently impressed with Emma’s ability to interact with clients and other professionals. Laura Austin is a calm, studious and highly intelligent solicitor, and a huge asset to her team and to her clients.’
‘Key points for the team are responsiveness and legal talent. Also willing to use technology to improve efficiency.’
‘They took the time to understand our business, our objectives, our strategy and advised us accordingly. Great with both high-level direction and detailed delivery on legal services. Stand-out for us was Lisa Sigalet, who is highly expert and a consummate professional, great communicator and open to the use of technology and always looking to make her practice more efficient.’
Humble Group AB (Publ)
Una Terra Venture Studio AG
Media Do International Inc
Royale Life / Royale Resorts
- Advised Onecom Group on the acquisition of Solution IP Communications, a Bristol-based company providing unified communications, network and data solutions.
- Advised the Royale Life group on the acquisition of four holiday parks in Kent, together with an associated term loan facility with a European private investment firm.
- Advised mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec Group on the acquisition of Bluecoat Software.
Trethowans LLP’s team operates out of Southampton, advising regional and international companies on all aspects of M&A and private equity transactions. Nick Gent heads up the corporate group, bringing vast expertise in handling equity investments, mergers, and joint ventures to the team. Lucy Gleisner focuses on acquisition strategy and disposals. Jon Stickland, who leads on the commercial side, is experienced in advising start-ups and listed companies on their operational contracts. Mike Watson specialises in assisting with the sale and purchase of businesses. Julian Hamblin regularly guides entities within the IT and technology field. In team news, Kirsteen Hook joined the firm from Blake Morgan LLP in November 2022.
Nick Gent; Lucy Gleisner; Jon Stickland
Other key lawyers:
Mike Watson; Julian Hamblin; Mark Nixon; Jamie Earley; Kirsteen Hook; Louise Thompson; Jonathan Sherman
‘Trethowans have an exceptional local presence with a strong team of young and diverse solicitors. We have been consistently impressed with the calibre of their team and the work they have undertaken for us and our clients.’
‘Lucy Gleisner is an experienced and successful practitioner who has led a number of complex transactions for our clients. Her ability to defuse emotional and stressful situations and ensure that clients focus on the right topics to get them the desired result has been invaluable. Lucy is exceptionally well networked in the area and an asset to her organsiation.’
‘The team at Trethowans are an indispensable addition to our internal legal team, supporting us on commercial contracts where there is a significant level of complexity. The team knows our business very well having supported us for a number of years, and strikes the right balance between ensuring we get the best contractual protection while being pragmatic and keeping the business moving.’
‘Jon Stickland is remarkably calm under pressure, and we can count on him to support us on complex matters often with short deadlines. He understands our business and therefore feels like an extension of the in-house legal team, often dealing directly with internal stakeholders.’
Just Develop It Limited
Nutrawise UK Limited
ICA (JV) Ltd
The MCG Group Holdings Limited
Mark Allen Holdings Limited
Betting Shop Services Limited
The Property Franchise Group plc
Industrial Cleaning Equipment (Southampton) Limited
HSP Valves Holdings Limited
The Innovation Group Limited
- Assisted in a $1.4bn international deal involving special purpose acquisition company Trebia Acquisition Corp, which saw System1, become a publicly-listed company on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Assisting Britvic with ongoing negotiations in relation to two agreements with Esterpet and Esterform, which relate to the supply of recycled plastic and the production of bottles used for Britvic’s drinks.
- Advising serial acquirer, Mark Allen Holdings, on the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Sterling Events.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP
Co-headed by Ian Holden and Paula Bartlett, the Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP corporate finance team specialises in advising national and international clients from across the energy, retail, and finance industries on complex commercial arrangements and M&A transactions. From Southampton, Holden focuses on private equity and joint venture agreements, while Bartlett has expertise in commercial contract law matters. Sebastian Briggs supports clients from the energy and natural resource sectors, and Stephen Pierce advises on corporate reorganisations. Legal director Stephen Anderson handles commercial bids and agreements. Carly Holt, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, advises on M&A deals.
Ian Holden; Paula Bartlett
Other key lawyers:
Sebastian Briggs; Stephen Pierce; Stephen Anderson; Sheilah Mackie; Carly Holt; David Wathen; Luke Andruszewski; Hannah Severgnini; Eleanor Bentley; Claire Brady
Renewable Energy Systems
REG Power Management
DG Innovate plc
APCOA Parking (UK) Limited
CSM Sport & Entertainment LLP
Cobra Coffee Limited
R & M Electrical Group Limited
South of England Funeral Partners Limited
PSH Holding B.V.
Marine Services Topco Limited
London Theatre Company Ltd
Windel Energy Ltd
- Advising an international retailer on various business-critical supply chain and logistics contracts.
- Advising the RES Group on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Corlacky Energy, the project company of 47MW Corlacky Hill wind farm in Northern Ireland, to Italian developer ERG.
- Advised Humphrey Farms on the sale of its poultry feeds and pullets businesses, by way of a sale of entire issued share capital of a newly incorporated target holding company, and on a pre-sale restructuring of the group, including a transfer of the businesses and respective assets into the target.
The Southampton-based corporate and commercial group at BDB Pitmans specialises in both private and public M&A, along with joint ventures and private equity dealings. The department exhibits significant strength in the leisure, IT, and technology sectors, advising clients ranging from start-ups to household names. Oliver Kelly leads the team, routinely handling private equity transactions and management buy-ins. Sean Kelly brings in-depth expertise in debt financing, corporate reorganisations, and reductions of capital to the group.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team have a very strong and well-respected senior team with a strong reputation for their commercial advice and ability to complete transactions in an efficient and effective manner.’
‘They are very personable and have the ability to build relationships with advisers and principals on both sides of a transaction. Oliver Kelly is exceptional in building these relationships and maintaining a commercial view on all aspects of a deal.’
Harrow House International College (Swanage) Limited
K.B. Salon Supplies Limited
Vision Logistical Solutions Limited
City & Country Residential Limited and Topland (No. 14) Limited
EVC SPV 1 plc
- Assisted ITS (Holdco) and its subsidiaries with its £100m investment by Aviva Investors Infrastructure Income NO.6B.
- Advised Harrow House International College (Swanage) on its sale of the entire issued share capital to Westcoast Developments Group.
- Advised K.B. Salon Supplies oin its strategic acquisition of L’Oreal wholesaler P.H.A.B Wholesale.
Boasting private equity funds and SMEs amongst its client list, the Paris Smith LLP group consistently advises on M&A and restructurings across industries ranging from life sciences to construction. Michael Moore leads on the corporate side, while Crispin Dick focuses on commercial matters from the Southampton office, specialising in software licensing and technology transfers. Amanda Brockwell operates out of the Winchester office, assisting buyers, sellers and investors with management buy-outs. Southampton-based Jonathan Roy assists with private equity matters. Emily Sadler was promoted to partner in March 2022, and has 10 years’ experience supporting clients with their commercial contracts.
Other key lawyers:
Amanda Brockwell; Jonathon Roy; Richard Atcherley; Emily Sadler; Claudia Mihai; Ryan Mitchell
‘The Paris Smith team has stood out for their ability to respond in a consistently timely and professional manner at all times across a broad range of legal advice areas.’
‘The Paris Smith team acts as a genuine partner and are there where and when you need them, consistently and professionally – I couldn’t ask any more of them.’
‘Jonathon Roy has acted with clear advice and guidance, always seeking the outcome we needed but not wasting time and money on areas that aren’t necessary. His open guiding manner is very easy to work with and follow. He has a team around him who turn documents and responses around very quickly and efficiently. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough.
‘We have worked with Ryan Mitchell on commercial contracting and Ryan has produced and advised on a wide range of commercial contracts in a very timely and professional manner.’
‘Clear and quality legal advice, hardworking legal counsel.’
‘Dedicated to the service they provide.’
Haskins Garden Centres Limited
Hobbycraft Trading Limited
Berry Technology Group Limited
Hiller Nurseries Limited
Totalmobile Holdings Limited
Churches Fire Security Limited
Schneider Electric Limited
British Friendly Society
Alfred Homes Limited
Soletanche Freyssinet SAS
- Advised exiting shareholders of Berry Technologies Group on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Babble Cloud.
- Advised the majority shareholders of SAL Scientific on the sale of their shareholding interests to Advanced Industries, the UK subsidiary of Advanced Instruments LLC, a global provider of scientific and analytical solutions for the bioprocessing and clinical industries.
- Advised Hillier Nurseries on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Rosebourne, which added three centres to Hiller Nurseries’ estate.
Phillips Solicitors’ corporate department has extensive experience assisting SMEs and family-run businesses with complex M&A, spanning across the pharmaceutical and digital marketing spaces. Jonathan Pender and Jack Gardener co-head the team from Basingstoke, with the former regularly advising high-net-worth-individuals, and the latter specialising in the sale and purchase of corporations.
Other key lawyers:
‘Jack Gardener is a standout corporate/commercial lawyer. He is driven and highly able. He gets straight to the heart of a problem, and drives corporate deals forward with energy and enthusiasm.’
‘The team work in a joined up way with their corporate lawyer colleagues so when a transaction for a company involves a property sale or lease work, it is all presented together. This rarely happens elsewhere.’
‘Jack Gardener works to a very high standard and is constantly evolving his work to make it clearer and more easily understood by clients.’
Supernatural Food Limited
Crescent Pharma Limited
LS Estates Limited
Savona Foodservice Limited
Edward Rawlings Properties Limited
Velocity Marketplaces Limited
- Advised Savona Foodservice on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Debono.
- Advised Crescent Pharma on the purchase of the solid dosage manufacturing site previously occupied by M&A Pharmachem, based in Bolton.
- Advised Kingscastle on a £17.34m senior loan facility from GRE Finance.