Next Generation Partners

Corporate and commercial: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP’s large and experienced corporate and commercial team handles a wealth of matters for a broad base of clients based in the region and elsewhere. Practice head James Hawkeswood is well known for his expertise in M&A and joint ventures, while Mark Hepworth and Mat Wilson bring experience in healthcare, special educational needs and social care. Stephen Archibald is also highly regarded. The team also handles work for a range of SMEs, publicly listed corporates, and high net-worth individuals, and clients across the energy, technology, and retail sectors. Gemma Spiceley has recently been promoted to partner, and has led on significant matters involving sales and acquisitions. The corporate team also benefits from the experience of in-house specialists across other sectors.

Practice head(s):

James Hawkeswood

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Archibald; Mark Hepworth; Mat Wilson; Gemma Spiceley

Testimonials

‘They are knowledgeable, bring you into the process while maintaining focus on key commercial aspects to be considered. A very hard working team that delivers.’

‘Blake Morgan have created a strong, professional relationship with me. Every member of their team takes the time to understand fully my requirements and consequently satisfy my needs every time. I am totally confident that they will address my needs quickly, efficiently and cost effectively, regardless of the advice I seek. Their team are thoughtful, patient and reflective and guide me through options I may have. They recognise my limited legal knowledge and carefully explain the critical elements of law. For example, designing new commercial agreements for complex customer needs. Completing internal mergers with ease and efficiencies to name but two examples.’

‘They are capable and confident , and good communicators.’

‘The team work in partnership with us as an extension of our team. We have a strong working relationship which allows to have open discussions post project on what lessons we can draw and incorporate into future work or projects.’

‘Mat Wilson is accessible and responsive, despite his busy and varied portfolio of clients. He and his team treat my companies with dignity and respect, though we are relatively small in scale. I have a strong sense of cultural alignment within his team as all staff behave with the same commitment towards me and the same level of enthusiasm, regardless of the nature of my inquiry or needs. Their advice is sound and reliable and always considered with partners from around their group supporting quickly on specialist topics when needed.’

‘The Blake Morgan team very rapidly assessed the needs of our specific company sale and put the appropriate people in place. Their responses to the purchasers solicitors were prompt and accurate. I have been with Blake Morgan and its predecessors for some 30 years and they have always dealt with both private and commercial matters in a similar professional manner.’

‘Matt Wilson at Blake Morgan handled the sale of my business from start to finish. He took me through the whole process and there is no way I could have managed without his patient and good humoured assistance. His support team were excellent.’

‘All partners and associates I have dealt with over the years have been approachable and of a very high standard of subject knowledge. Too many to mention individually over the years.’

Key clients

Utilita Group Limited

Harwood Wealth Management Group Limited

Applerigg

Gresham Technologies plc

Be Wiser Insurance Services Limited

Supermassive Games Limited

CVS Group plc

DEKRA UK

Hardide plc

Ridgecrest plc

Work highlights

  • Advised on the sale of Esotec Limited to ADT Fire & Security Group Plc, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls International Plc.
  • Instructed to advise on the MBO/MBI (inc sale and roll over) of The Really Useful Skills Company Ltd, the holding company of the Teach and Travel Group Ltd, to a new company Learndirect Digital English Language Limited under the new education platform and consolidator, the Learndirect group.
  • Advised Gresham on the class 1 circular, senior facility agreement and related security documentation and on the UK aspects of the US stock purchase agreement.

Moore Barlow

With lawyers boasting broad experience in the full spectrum of corporate and commercial work, Moore Barlow is well placed to act for its broad client base of owner-managed businesses, SMEs, entrepreneurs, private equity houses, and more, with particularly strong presence in the IT and technology, education, and charity sectors. John Warchus leads the commercial team from London, and Jeremy Over heads up the corporate team, where he has niche expertise in buy and build strategies and management buyouts. Roger Bailey is well regarded for his work in private equity, capital markets, and banking transactions, while David Bright handles major transactions, in particular for clients in the telecoms sector. Dorothy Agnew (commercial), Peter Jeffery (corporate), and Thomas Clark (corporate) are key contacts for clients in IT, telecoms, and technology. Kirsty Bowyer, newly promoted to senior associate, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Over; John Warchus

Other key lawyers:

Dorothy Agnew; Roger Bailey; David Bright; Thomas Clark; Peter Jeffery; Kirsty Bowyer

Testimonials

‘Great team – really got to understand our business and what is important to us, to be able to advise us and help us with decisions where they counted.’

‘Deep market experience in IT commercial transactions mean that familiarity with the business models, language etc. is a significant strength. The team are partner led with excellent team interaction so they work cohesively. Fair and understandable fee structure with high low estimates and cost waterfalls are helpful. This is important as fixing costs does not work out.’

‘Corporate and commercial – very practical, Strong technically and they get the job done.’

‘I work regularly with several of the corporate partners (on mutual clients) all of whom are very high caliber individuals. A couple of specific mentions: Peter Jefferey has a sharp mind and commercial acumen; he quickly gets to the route of client issues and is highly capable in solving them. David Bright is hugely personable and adept in delivering pragmatic advice in terms a lay person can readily understand.’

‘They are friendly and accessible. They speak plain English and translate complex legal drafting into something we understand. Peter Jeffery is the absolute stand-out lawyer here, he is incredibly smart, charming and efficient. He is also great fun to work with. High praise that is well due.’

‘Roger Bailey – extremely responsive, very pragmatic and easy to deal with – feel assured that our risks are covered.’

‘Peter Jeffery is outstanding for good practical advice which is technically well supported. Thomas Clark is good too.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Smartlogic

Bedroq

Serocor Group

D4TD PLC

SKS Business Services Ltd

Fluorogenics Limited

Hall & Woodhouse Limited

New Path Fire & Security

Aqua Cooling Limited

R&D Groupe SAS (trading as FOLAN)

Southern Communications Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of long-term client Smartlogic on their sale to $1.2bn Silicon Valley tech giant Marklogic (a portfolio company of Vector Capital).
  • Acted for the shareholders of Fluorogenics Limited in relation to the sale of the entire issued share capital to New England Biolabs, Inc. based in Massachusetts.
  • Advised New Path Fire and Security Ltd on numerous acquisitions.

Shoosmiths LLP

Based out of the national firm’s Solent office in Southampton, Shoosmiths LLP’s regional corporate team advises a wide range of regional, national, and international clients in the key areas of venture capital, private equity, and mid-market M&A. The national corporate offering is led by Stephen Porter , based in Southampton, and Mark Shepherd heads the local team on corporate and commercial matters, with Sean Wright leading on private equity. The team deals with a variety of high-value and complex matters, including deals that are crucial to clients’ longer-term strategy. Lisa Sigalet brings experience in both M&A and private equity, and is noted for her crucial roles supporting team leadership and acting on complex cross-border transactions. Emma Livesey and Laura Austin are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Porter

Other key lawyers:

Mark Shepherd; Sean Wright; Lisa Sigalet; Emma Livesey; Laura Austin

Testimonials

‘The key individuals on the team had a fantastic work ethic and were incredibly proficient in turning documents around efficiently. Without their proactive approach the deal would have dragged on far longer than it did.’

‘The key team members were Lisa Sigalet and Laura Austin. They dealt with all matters pragmatically and there was never any problem with them posturing or procrastinating with the other side’s lawyers when issues came up.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Solent Global Limited

Alliance Marine UK Holdings Limited

Phoenix Datacom

Fresh Eight Limited

Nobody’s Child

Onecom

Trimline Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders in the £117,000,000 sale of Solent Global Limited to Humble AB.
  • Advised the shareholders on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Phoenix Datacom to private equity house LDC.
  • Advised Nobody’s Child in relation to the high profile investment received from Marks & Spencer plc.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP‘s sizeable corporate and commercial team provides transactional assistance to clients ranging from local SMEs to larger blue-chip corporates and national and international household names. Nick Gent recently took over as team lead; he handles mid-market M&A and private equity work, along with highly regarded partner Lucy Gleisner. Gent’s predecessor, Mike Watson, remains on the corporate team as a valued partner handling transactional work. On the commercial side, the team is particularly well-equipped to act for clients in the IT sector and matters relating to data protection. Julian Hamblin is a key specialist in this area, and associate solicitor Susie Sanusi is also developing a strong IT and data protection practice, where she focuses especially on helping clients address data protection issues that arise out of large-scale IT system procurements. Senior associate Jamie Earley is also noted for his corporate expertise.

Practice head(s):

Nick Gent

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Gleisner; Mike Watson; Julian Hamblin; Jamie Earley; Susie Sanusi

Testimonials

‘The team at Trethowans truly understand our business, and can act as a genuine extension of the in-house legal team which is extremely valuable. The advice is prompt, commercial and good value.’

‘I have experienced a high level of support. Knowledgable professionals who are very helpful & willing to offer advice that is beneficial to all.’

‘Very strong corporate team well placed to advise on a very wide range of M&A transactions.’

‘The Trethowans team tailor complex legal solutions to my business requirements. Their engagement and effort is exceptional.’

‘Professionalism, thoughtful, considerate and approachable.’

‘Trethowans consistently deliver a great customer service as well as high quality, practical advice and solutions.’

‘Nick Gent is an exceptionally strong adviser, with an ability to provide practical guidance and reassurance through the most challenging of transactions.’

Key clients

The Property Franchise Group plc

Britvic

Belport Investments LLP

Bacardi-Martini

The MCG Group Holdings Limited

The Innovation Group plc

Stark Software International Limited

HSP Valves Group Limited

Elliott Builders Merchants Limited

Just Develop It Limited

Ross Holdings (IW) Limited

Mark Allen Group

Stannah Stairlifts

Saint-Gobain (Jewson)

Carnival plc

Aquaswitch Limited

For the Creators

Work highlights

  • Acting for The MCG group on securing a £20m debt and equity funding package from Tosca Debt Capital LLP to support its buy and build programme.
  • Advising the shareholders of Orbis Technologies Limited and Orbis Hosting Limited on the sale to PDI Software, a US Acquirer.
  • Advising Britvic plc on two agreements with Esterpet and Esterform, which relate to the supply of recycled plastic and the production of bottles used for Britivic’s drinks.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP‘s Southampton-based corporate and commercial offering is jointly headed by Ian Holden, who leads the corporate group, and Paula Bartlett, who heads the commercial group. Holden also heads the firm’s French desk, and has particular expertise in M&As, joint venture agreements, and corporate finance. Bartlett, meanwhile, is well known for her work for clients in the technology sector and on issues relating to data protection. Stephen Pierce heads the corporate offering at the national level. The corporate and commercial team boasts significant strength in depth, while its structure, split into four subteams, allows it to offer specialist, focused advice in commercial contracts and outsourcing, data and privacy, IP, and technology. Sebastian Briggs acts for clients in the marine and technology sectors, and is well known for his work on renewable energy transactions. Legal director Carly Holt is recommended for her experience in the financial industry.

Practice head(s):

Ian Holden; Paula Bartlett

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Pierce; Sebastian Briggs; Carly Holt

Testimonials

‘This team is our go-to for corporate M&A and restructuring. They’re pragmatic, thoughtful, commercial and competitive on fees.’

‘Stephen Pierce is pragmatic, commercial and always accessible.’

‘Commercial solutions at a reasonable cost.’

‘We work particularly closely with Sebastian Briggs who has become a trusted friend to my business and has the absolute confidence of my CEO and board. He is expert, unflappable and very effective.’

Key clients

Chemring Group Plc

Renewable Energy Systems

Transdev plc

REG Power Management

Ordnance Survey

The Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited

Quilter Plc (formerly Old Mutual Wealth)

New Look

LV=

Comexposium Group

Imerys SA

Immediate Media

NICE Systems

Lewmar Marine

Monnoyeur SAS

Neidax GmbH & Co. KG

Hartwell plc/Ebbon-Dacs Limited

Post Office Limited

Sterling Pharma Solutions

TSB Bank

ITV

AIG

PD Ports

Brittany Ferries

Department for Transport

Work highlights

  • Advised on the disposal by FTSE 250 listed Quilter plc of Quilter International to Utmost Group plc.    
  • Continued to support LV= throughout 2021 in connection with the high-profile proposed £530m sale of LV= to Bain Capital.
  • Advised an international DIY retailer on various business-critical supply chain and logistics contracts during 2021 and 2022 to support the rapid growth (particularly due to COVID-19) of their online and store offering.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans’ Southampton corporate and commercial team handles significant private equity transactions across sectors including retail and leisure, IT and telecoms, and marine and transport, as well as advising clients on broader corporate and commercial issues. Practice head Sean Kelly covers the range of work for the practice, and has particular experience in handling large private equity deals. Oliver Kelly specialises in M&A and management buy-ins and outs, with additional expertise in cross-border transactions and corporate restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Sean Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Kelly

Testimonials

‘As a team they have the expertise to cover many different legal issues all in one place, which is essential in ensuring that our requirements are handled correctly.’

‘The people we deal with take the time to understand our issues, including the bigger picture, and by dealing with the same people each time, this makes the whole process a lot easier each time.’

Key clients

Wren Sterling

Premier Marinas

Red Funnel Ferries

BGF

Ski Weekends

Dr Wills

EV Chargers

Flit Technologies Limited (trading as Karhoo)

HCR Group Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised longstanding client Premier Marinas (Premier) on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of John Willment Marine Limited, which trades under Universal Marina.

Paris Smith LLP

Paris Smith LLP‘s sizeable corporate, commercial, and finance department is well regarded for the strong sell-side work it does for its primarily Hampshire-based client base. The department is made up of three smaller teams: corporate, commercial, and IP and finance. Michael Moore heads the corporate team from the firm’s offices in Southampton and Winchester, with key experience in investment work. Crispin Dick leads the commercial and IP and finance teams, and is based out of Southampton. Winchester-based Amanda Brockwell is at the centre of the team’s efforts to expand its private equity offering, and has built a strong reputation for her buy-side expertise. Jonathon Roy is also recommended, while senior associate Jennifer Packer acts on a range of investment work, including matters relating to crowdfunding and advance subscriptions.

Practice head(s):

Michael Moore; Crispin Dick

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Brockwell; Jonathon Roy; Richard Atcherley; Jennifer Packer

Testimonials

‘Great strength in depth across the corporate team.’

‘The people at Paris Smith have consistently demonstrated a real awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing my business, and a willingness to design and deliver solutions that fit my needs, rather than a narrow focus on “legal work”.’

‘Jonathon Roy is hugely experienced, providing clear and balanced guidance to clients through complex transactions.’

‘The real strength of the team at Paris Smith is the willingness to invest time in understanding a client’s needs and the business challenges they face.’

‘Michael Moore – superb people person who is pragmatic and commercial in his approach. A real heavyweight in the local legal community who is well respected by his clients.’

‘The culture at Paris Smith is to provide a quality, high end service without any attempt to intimidate or be pretentious. Paris Smith very much have their feet on the ground whilst retaining the reliable professionalism that you would expect.’

‘Richard Atcherley was the partner in charge of acting for me on two back to back business sales. He was calm and assured throughout both transactions, used his experience to overcome the inevitable bumps in the road and dealt with the purchasers solicitor productively and without ruffling feathers.’

‘Great bandwidth across the various elements of commercial and corporate law and strength in depth.’

Key clients

Haskins Garden Centres Limited

Meachers Global Logistics Limited

Churches Fire Security Limited

Halo Accident Repair Centre Limited

Totalmobile

The Rick Stein Group

Berry Telecom Limited

Dolphin Homes Limited

Associated British Ports Plc

Hobbycraft Trading Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders of Halo Accident Repair Centre Limited to IRS Group, a PE-backed fast-growing firm with vehicle repair operations in Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.
  • Acted for PE backed Totalmobile Limited in its largest acquisition so far of Cognito IQ Limited, a Newbury based provider of Field Service management software and its US based subsidiary, Cognito IQ Inc. to add to its suite of software solutions.
  • Corporate team advised Nineteen21 Limited (trading as ismybillfair.com) on a rights issue combined with a media credit investment made by ITV.

Phillips Solicitors

Phillips Solicitors’ full-service corporate team is based in Basingstoke and jointly led by Jack Gardener and Jonathan Pender. It works with a growing client base of SMEs based primarily within the region. The team works on a range of projects including acquisitions and asset purchases, and succession planning for family businesses is a key strength.

Practice head(s):

Jack Gardener; Jonathan Pender

Testimonials

‘Professional, attentive, solution focused, commercial.’ 

‘Phillips have never let us down and their genuine interest in our goals is refreshing.’

‘The corporate team has an ability to not only look at the legal aspects of any transaction but also the commercial sense and makes clients feel well advised by this skill. In working closely with other professional advisers, the clients get a seamless service.’

‘Very approachable and knowledgeable team, who are proactive and seek to add value to any transaction. A good combination of experience and youth, which keep the practice relevant and ready for the future.’

‘The stand out members are Jonathan Pender and Jack Gardener. A generation apart in age but same values and clients can be matched to them as they have differing skills and personalities . Compared with the other firms we work with, the big difference is that Phillips simply deliver and do not let down on timing.’ 

‘I worked with Jack Gardener on a piece of advice for one of his clients last summer. I was providing the tax advice, and he was providing the corporate advice. He was a pleasure to work with, very friendly and easy to deal with. He clearly had the trust of his clients and they took his advice, even when it conflicted with their original intentions.’

‘Jack Gardener is approachable and helpful, guiding us through what would otherwise be difficult issues. But every member of staff share the same ethos.’

‘Jack Gardener is excellent in his approach, especially with commercial transactions. this is aided in part by his own, personal, experiences, which give him an understanding of both sides of the transaction.’

Key clients

Supernatural Food Limited

TrustMark

Crescent Pharma Limited

Savona Foodservices Limited

LS Estates Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Crescent Pharmaceuticals on acquisition of Thorpe Laboratories Limited.
  • Advised Bill Kenwright Limited on acquisition of Entertainment Theatres Limited.
  • Advised Savona Foodservice Limited on acquisition of assets of Essex Flour and Grain Company, Limited.