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Corporate and commercial: Bristol

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Bristol
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Bristol clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Burges Salmon LLP attracts praise for its ‘extensive commercial and industry knowledge’. The department has been increasingly active in deals with US and Asian funders, especially those from Singapore and Malaysia, and continues to see substantial instructions emanating from Europe. Jonathan Eves assisted Netherlands-based Maas Capital with a large-scale joint venture agreement with Solarplicity for a rooftop solar panel installation, which will provide energy to 800,000 housing association tenants across the UK. Though the majority of its clients are based outside of the South West, the team does win significant regional instructions. For instance, Dominic Davis advised the founding shareholders of Bristol’s Pukka Herbs on its acquisition by Unilever. Mark Shepherd and Richard Spink ‘ensure positive outcomes for their clients’ and specialise in private equity transactions. In addition to its M&A work, the corporate group also has experience in equity capital markets and funds transactions, which are relatively unique to the region. Chris Godfrey has experience advising issuers and brokers in equity capital markets transactions, while Jeremy Bell , who specialises in structuring private investment funds, joined the team from Ashurst in 2017. Camilla Usher-Clark has been involved in a number of significant energy transactions, and Rupert Weston is another key figure in the department.

Osborne Clarke is noted for its ‘excellent strength in depth’ and has continued to expand its team through a number of promotions and junior-level hires, in part to keep pace with its rapidly increasing work flows in 2017-2018. The practice's sector expertise spans digital business, corporate real estate, infrastructure, and investment funds; one of the team’s most unique features is its capability across the spectrum of funds-related mandates, from fund-backed M&A to fund formation. Alisdair Livingstone advised Lloyds Development Capital and the senior management of A-Gas on the sale of A-Gas International to KKR, while the team assisted Deutsche Alternative Asset Management with the structuring and establishment of the Europe II Fund, which achieved €588m at its first close. Helen Parsonage is another key contact in the funds team. The practice is also able to devise flexible payment schemes for promising start-ups and early-stage businesses. The ‘professional and reliable’ Simon Jones acted for Prodigy Finance, a fintech start-up, in a financing round involving venture capital funders Index Ventures, Balderton Capital, and AlphaCode. Mark Wesker assisted Actual Experience with a bookbuilding exercise through a new ordinary share placement, and Matthew Lewis has been involved in high-value cross-border disposals in the energy industry. Conrad Davies, Simon Spooner and David Ferris are additional contacts.

TLT fields distinct corporate and commercial groups which ‘regularly outperform many of their regional counterparts’. An ‘excellent communicator and a known deal-maker’, John Wood heads the corporate department and advised Convivality on its £30m acquisition of certain business operations and assets owned by WS Retail, which was funded through a placement of new ordinary shares. A testament to the firm’s commercial expertise, the commercial group, which is headed by Perran Jervis, sits on the Crown Commercial Services’ tier one panel. Indeed, acting across the table from one of London’s Magic Cirle firms, Jervis counselled Sainsbury’s on a strategic collaborative agreement with the owners of a national chain of petrol station forecourt convenience stores. Bill Hull leads the firm’s commercial services group, and Alice Gardner helped secure a joint venture agreement for one of the department’s major ongoing clients, Greene King. Jon Gill has experience of fund-backed transactions and Kay Hobbs is active in the renewables sector. Moreover, the department has enviable clients across a variety of industry sectors, such as WHSmith, Dyson and Lloyds Development Capital.

Ashfords LLP is well placed to leverage the South West’s position as a tech and start-up hub; the firm's corporate team is accordingly one of the most active in  the UK venture capital space by deal volume. Headed by Andrew Betteridge, the corporate team stands out for its experience in M&A, MBOs, corporate restructurings and other corporate governance exercises demand extensive cross-border experience. Indeed, Betteridge advised Dynmark International and its sister company Donky Networks on the £11m sale of its entire issued share capital – included Dynmark’s Polish and US subisidiaries – to DotDigital Group plc. Chris Dyson leads the firm’s technology sector team and is noted for ‘blending excellent commercial acumen and legal expertise’. Dyson acted for multiple funders including Atlas Venture Funds VIII and Xange Private Equity in a £20m series D investment round for Currency Cloud Group. Additionally, Rory Suggett has assisted growth companies and private investors in numerous fundraising rounds. The department made two major lateral hires in 2017, bringing in corporate tax expert Nicola Manclark from Burges Salmon LLP, and Andrew Braithwaite who specialises in IP and tech and joined from Thrings LLP.

Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘sensible, practical, and fit-for-purpose advice’ to mid-market corporates, owner-managed businesses and early-stage companies, for which it handles serial acquisition strategies and venture capital and private equity-backed transactions. The department also has extensive experience in cross-border deals and has been increasingly involved in inbound investment transactions since the 2016 referendum. In 2017, Simon Smith assisted Addnode Group with its strategic expansion into the UK market through two parallel acquisitions: the £23m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Intrinsys, and the £22m purchase of the entire issued share capital of Service Works Group. Notably, the group has a dedicated China desk, which is peopled by Mandarin-speakers and is managed by corporate department head Simon Thomas. Thomas advised Charlo Carabott and Wai Keung Lam on the multimillion-pound sale of their shareholding in Ventura Telecom Holdings to Hong Kong-based EcoAsia Technologies Holding. Robert Ridd was promoted to partner and has been involved in multiple European cross-border transactions in 2017.

Leveraging the continued expansion of the firm’s global network, DAC Beachcroft LLP's Bristol-based corporate team  is handling a growing workload on behalf of US-backed companies and European investors. Jonathan White (who was promoted to partner in 2017) advised a third-party administrator on the regulatory and commercial aspects of its strategic acquisition of a UK-based solicitors firm, and has also handled multi-jurisdictional transactions in the private healthcare sector. In an illustration of the latter, James Reed advised Elysium Healthcare on two strategic acquisitions: its £45m acquisition of Lighthouse Healthcare, and, separately, its £35m acquisition of Raphael Healthcare. Other key figures include department head John Williams and Michael Pearce, who acts for a number of wealth and asset managers, such as St. James’s Place, for which the team handles regular corporate governance work and cross-border M&A.

Employing ‘flexible fee-structures’ and known for ‘working in true partnership with its clients’, Roxburgh Milkins LLP specifically targets private equity-backed companies, promising start-ups and other owner-managed businesses in the south west, and has been called ‘an ideal firm for SMEs’. Charles van der Lande is often instructed by early-stage and growth companies and acted for Blu Wireless in a multimillion-pound funding round led by ARM Holdings. As an illustration of the group’s comprehensive client-relationships, Ian Grimley has counselled Blu Wireless on commercial agreements and IP protection, while the firm has also been able to assist the client with commercial work in Hong Kong and India through its informal network of international contacts. The department’s work regularly has international elements, and Bruce Roxburgh advised Trio Motion Technology – a company with US, Chinese and Indian subsidiaries – on its £15.5m sale to China’s Etsun Automation. Richard Hopkins is rated for his ‘calm in the face of challenging situations’, and Jason Milkins and Philip Edmonds are also recommended.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s corporate team often works alongside the firm’s energy and real estate departments and provides ‘high-level service’ in M&A and upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions. The department also has considerable experience in private equity transactions. In 2017, Tom Fitzpatrick assisted Rockpool Investments with its multimillion-pound investment in House of Hackney Group. Similarly, department head Simon Hewes advised Piper PE on a number of UK investments including its £10m investment in Flat Iron Restaurants, which marked the first investment of the client’s sixth fund. In the oil and gas space, the team is instructed by international energy groups in relation to increasingly cross-border mandates. Indeed, Hewes assisted a European global commodity group with the establishment of a joint venture in western Africa for the acquisition and operation of an African oil terminal. Following Bond Dickinson’s 2017 merger with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, the Bristol-based corporate group has benefited from the firm’s expanded cross-border service, which has attracted instructions from US-based corporates, particularly in the energy sector.

Foot Anstey has supplemented its Bristol-based department with a number of promotions, lateral hires and significant internal reshuffles, which brought corporate capabilities to its existing commercial team. Noted for its ‘quick responses and fast turnarounds without a reduction in quality’, the team is increasingly targeting large multinational clients, but has maintained its local and regional work in sectors such as leisure, food and drink, infrastructure and property. Newly promoted partner Emily Settle advised a Middle East-based manufacturing company on its purchase of the entire issued share capital of a group of companies from institutional and individual sellers. Martin Cuell leads the commercial group and supported Egress Software Technologies’ international expansion through the establishment of certain arrangements in Australia. Jonathan Oddy is another key figure in the commercial team and specialises in the media and telecoms sector. Chris Worrell heads the department and senior associate Alexandra Leonidou ‘stands out for her insightful tech and privacy advice’.

Thrings LLP has extensive experience of mid-market M&A, equity investment transactions and corporate restructuring, and is particularly active in the retail, food and drink, health and tech sectors. Mike Tomlin is a key contact in the Bristol office and advised TrueSpeed Communications on multiple investment rounds with angel and institutional investors; a mandate that involved debt and equity investments. Elaine Meyrick acted for Charon Holdings and the company’s shareholders in relation to the sale of Paul Davis Freight Services to Channel Island Lines. Acting alongside John Richardson, who relocated to Bristol from the firm’s London office, Meyrick also advised a real estate services franchisee on multimillion-pound convertible note investment from an Asian jurisdiction. In an example of the team’s buy-side instructions, Jane Oakland counselled Fundamentals on its acquisition of Ferranti Tapchangers and Ferranti Engineering. Solicitor Lizzie King joined the team from Burges Salmon LLP in 2017.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’ clients praise the corporate and commercial group’s ‘straightforward pricing’ and ‘sound industry knowledge’, but note in particular the ‘feeling of comfort and trust in the firm’s advice’. Fielding dedicated corporate and commercial teams headed by Robert Collier and Doug Locke, respectively, the group has been increasingly active for start-up and tech businesses and has been involved in a number of transactions with inbound foreign investors. In one of the group’s highlight transactions, Nathan Guest advised the shareholders of an internationally active technology company on the £55m sale of their shareholding. Solicitor Katie Hanson acted for Bath-based e-commerce company Prezola in relation to a £3m investment by the Business Growth Fund. The team remains active in the education and healthcare sectors and Edward Rimmell assists North Somerset Council with its outsourcing of statutory and non-statutory education services. Oliver Pool and Andrew Gallie were made partners in the commercial team, and Jos Moule is a recommended corporate partner.


Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

‘One of the highest-quality corporate practices’ in Bournemouth, Lester Aldridge LLP has a strong SME-focused client base with particular experience in the software and IT sectors. Practice head Grant Esterhuizen is highly regarded in the local market and has been engaged by a number of UK corporates in various share transactions involving foreign purchasers. Esterhuizen advised the shareholders of a south west aerospace group on the sale of the entire issued share capital to a US-based acquirer. Similarly, the department head acted for the shareholders of South Coast Oil and Lubricants in a high-value share transaction with a Brazilian acquirer. Susan Cowan specialises in the care home sector and is another key figure in the department. Associate Alexandra Clapp joined the firm from Moore Blatch LLP and has since handled the finance aspects of a number of property-related transactions. Indeed, Clapp advised a borrower on the security, facility and intercreditor documents related to a £25m acquisition finance facility for the purchase of a group of care home companies. Alex Bilionis left the legal field in 2017.

By some clients’ measure, the service at Steele Raymond LLP ‘far exceeds that of many of its regional contemporaries’. The team is especially active in Bournemouth’s tech sector and has taken on a number of new instructions from clients in the digital and creative tech sectors in 2017. ‘An excellent lawyer and skilled diplomat’, department head Tim Stone advised a Bournemouth-based e-learning company on the negotiation of an investment and subsequent establishment of a joint venture for the commercialisation of a potentially lucrative mobile app. In an illustration of the firm's aviation-sector expertise, the ‘proactive and commercially minded’ Nick Davies assisted the shareholders of a UK aerospace company with the sale of the group to a subsidiary of a US-based aircraft parts company. Paul Longland has a range of corporate and commercial experience and advised a UK property developer in the demerger of its investment property portfolio from its trading arm. Craig Hardman is another key figure in the department.

Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF is highly regarded in the local market and is lauded by local and regional SMEs and growth companies as ‘one of the strongest corporate teams’ in Bournemouth, providing ‘exemplary customer service’ in complex corporate and commercial matters. The department is led by Sam Freeman, regarded by clients and peers alike as ‘a knowledgeable yet highly practical’ lawyer, who ‘approaches problems in a commercially astute manner’; Freeman has handled a number of corporate restructurings and share sales for UK companies looking to expand their domestic businesses. ‘A powerhouse corporate lawyer’, Natasha Duffy-Jones acted alongside Ella Gould for a UK aviation group in connection with the establishment of a certain business, which will employ a degree transatlantic operation; this is illustrative of the corporate department’s recent activity in the aviation sector. Moreover, the highly recommended Edwina Young assists an aerospace company with ongoing advice related to the research and development of aerospace technologies in the public sector. Victoria Boynes-Butler joined from Streathers in 2017.

Wilsons’ ‘balanced and measured approach’ is characteristic of the corporate partners’ ‘vast experience’, which for some includes years of practice at leading City firms. The team has historical strengths in tax and transaction structuring in the technology and charity sectors and was strengthened in 2017-2018 by a number of additions to the team. Of note, Philip Stephenson joined from Barlow Robbins LLP and was engaged by the main shareholders of CSI Group (with whom he had an extensive business relationship) to advise on the shareholders’ £36m exit transaction with a private equity-backed newco. Acting alongside Stephen Whitmore and Jonathan Stephens, Stephenson also assisted US-based Entrust Datacard on the UK aspects of its acquisition of Trustis. In the charity space, James Johnson acted for The Royal Marines Association in connection with its multimillion-pound merger with the The Royal Marines Charity. Senior corporate consultant Clare Charles joined the team from consultancy Bradbury Sheerin, while former Burges Salmon LLP senior associate Mark Cook joined in 2018.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP provides clients in the telecoms and care home sectors with ‘very sensible advice at a good price’. Department head Neil Cook has ‘a good commercial background’ and has been involved on the sell-side of multiple share and asset sales across a number of industry sectors. Cook also handled a multimillion-pound corporate reorganisation for a company in the care home industry. Noted for his ‘clear and knowledgeable advice on commercial contracts’, Hugh Craig assisted a contractor with the licensing of custom software for use in airport terminals for booking private-hire cars. In 2017, employment specialist Kate Brooks was promoted to partner while Gustav Patrick took an in-house position.

Primarily acting for regional owner-managed businesses, Frettens LLP regularly handles M&A, corporate reorganisations and general commercial work for clients in the insurance, care home, manufacturing, engineering, and tech sectors. Matthew Fretten leads the team and assisted a property developer with a £25m refinancing and corporate restructuring matter following the sale of one of its business operations, which the team also handled. The name partner also leads ongoing strategic advice for a nationally recognised growth company in the tech sector. Associate Sarah Sillar assisted a company with the establishment of a tax-efficient employee share scheme, and also has experience of tax-efficient investment structures, such as seed enterprise investment schemes. Additionally, associate Karen Edwards was involved in a number of share transactions in 2017.

Trethowans established its Bournemouth-based corporate and commercial practice with the arrival Mark Nixon – ‘an intelligent and decisive’ corporate and M&A lawyer, who joined the firm from Blake Morgan LLP. Since joining the firm, Nixon advised the shareholders of iSupply Energy on the highly publicised sale of its entire issued share capital to Sweden-based Vattenfall. Similarly, Nixon assisted the shareholders of a local medical care business on the sale of its entire issued share capital to a French buyer. Further, Nixon often works alongside the firm’s Southampton-based corporate, employment and banking practitioners. Mike Watson heads the corporate group from the firm’s Southampton office, which also includes Nick Gent.


Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Made up of partners with high-profile City experience, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is often instructed in large, cross-border business and asset transactions. The Cheltenham group has longstanding relationships in the Middle East, Africa and Cyprus and has traditional strengths in the aviation and renewable energy sectors. In 2017, Adrian Mayer advised Actis Africa Real Estate Fund on a variety of commercial arrangements and corporate governance concerns, which included a high-value joint venture agreement. Department head Richard Norton assisted Supergroup plc and its founder, Julian Dunkerton, with an employee share incentive scheme affecting roughly 4,500 employees. In the capital markets space, Norton is advising an energy company on its high-value proposed listing on the London Stock Exchange. Further, Jonathan Morley assisted Datatec with its UK reorganisation in relation to its disposal of Westcon Americas to Synnex. The partners are supported by senior associate Edward Robinson and senior associate Emma Hickson, who recently joined the team from DXC Technology Company and specialises in commercial contracts. Other key clients include Bladeroom Group, Newmedica and Cypriot hotelier Tsokkos.

BPE Solicitors LLP runs an ‘experienced and approachable’ corporate group, with an active banking practice and ‘particular strength in the SME space’. Anthony Rudge leads the department’s listed companies practice and is instructed by numerous AIM-listed corporates. Indeed, Rudge assisted clients including Totally and Sosandar with multimillion-pound placings and open offer fundraisings. Rudge also advised Integumen with a number of acquisitions and a related share placing and admission to AIM. Highly regarded by clients and peers alike, Tim Ward ‘really stands out in the department’. Iain Garfield leads the firm’s commercial practice and has extensive experience advising SMEs and AIM-listed companies on high-value and often cross-border commercial contracts. John Workman handles M&A and share option scheme mandates, and senior associate Louise Grzasko has diversified, international experience in corporate finance law. Commercial solicitor Dianne Devlin joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, while Zoe Reynolds left the firm and now acts as a locum solicitor in Cheltenham.

‘Responsive, knowledgeable, professional, but approachable’, Harrison Clark Rickerbys is ‘excellent in all respects’. The team focuses on large national M&A and cross-border commercial agreements, and also has expertise in private equity transactions. Richard Wilkey heads the department and advised the management of TeamSport Holdings on a £42m secondary buyout transaction with a company backed by Duke St Capital. Wilkey also acted for Hilco Capital in its acquisition of South West Industrial Valves Services. Leveraging over 30 years of corporate and commercial experience, Richard Knight acted across from prominent London firms in numerous high-value transactions, including the sale of a UK cyber security company. Knight also advised a charitable organisation on its multimillion-pound distressed acquisition of a four-star hotel. The Cheltenham team regularly works alongside the ‘practical and responsive’ Nicolas Groffman, who runs an active China-facing practice from the firm’s Thames Valley office. Indeed, a Cheltenham-led team, including senior associate Rachael Reeves, advised a Chinese investment fund on the multimillion-pound acquisition of Thetford Grammar School. Additional clients include Sequence Care Group and A-Plan Holdings.

‘A go-to team for owner-managed and smaller listed companies’, Royds Withy King is ‘one of the best options, locally, when balancing cost and quality’. Headed by Katharine Mortimer, the sector-driven team has particular experience in the financial services, technology and healthcare sectors. Mortimer assisted a listed environmental sustainability consultant with a high-value corporate restructuring, and is also instructed by a Dutch-listed corporate with a multibillion-euro annual turnover. In one of the team’s flagship highlights, Hazel Phillips and highly recommended senior associate James Worrall acted for the sellers of Gold Care Holdings in connection to the £90m acquisition of the company by OHI UK Healthcare Properties, a subsidiary of a US REIT. Senior associate Rishi Ladwa is ‘down to earth’ and makes himself ‘very available to clients’. Solicitors Natalie Jones and Janetta Barrett joined the team from Knights Professional Services Limited and Lyons Davidson, respectively.

Clark Holt has a highly experienced corporate team with expertise in corporate finance, M&A, MBOs and MBIs, and public company corporate governance. Philip Humphreys heads the practice group and advised Bensussen Deutsch & Associates on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Sports Merchandise Global and its French subsidiary. Joe Lewis acted for the selling shareholders in relation to Surgical Innovations Group’s £9.4m acquisition of Elemental Healthcare. Lewis also has extensive experience of transactions in the oil and gas sector. Additionally, Jeff Jenkins counselled Extreme Sports Product Distribution on a large reorganisation.

Thrings LLP specialises in regional mid-market corporate transactions and though the team works across a variety of industries, with particular emphasis on the healthcare and education sectors. The team assisted Wishford Schools Group with a number of independent school acquisitions, which recently included its acquisition of Prior Park Prep School. Simon Hore assisted the selling shareholders of Young Black Industrial Stapling with the sale of its entire issued share capital to Sweden-based Indutrade. John Davies advised the management team of Weird Fish on its secondary private equity buyout by Total Capital Partners. Kate Westbrook and Jonathan Payne acted for the shareholders of Resterra Group in relation to Dublin-based Origin Enterprises’ £16m acquisition of the company.  Alex Pyatt is the key figure in the Bath-based team, which includes associate Sarah Ellis.

‘Exceptionally knowledgeable and extremely prompt’, Willans LLP prides itself on ‘a firm culture where excellent client service is the expectation’. Moreover, one client noted in particular the firm’s competitive pricing and approachability in relation to many of its local competitors. Headed by Paul Symes-Thompson, the corporate team has particular focus on advising manufacturers, professional practices, charities and technology companies on commercial agreements and corporate transactions. Symes-Thompson acted for Twistar in connection with proposed investments by several worldwide investors. The ‘pragmatic’ practice head also handles ongoing commercial and corporate work for a well-known national charity. Further, a team including the ‘highly respected’ employment practitioner Matthew Clayton assists Cheltenham Festivals with ongoing commercial matters. Other key clients include Frazier Properties and Medical First. Theresa Grech left the firm for Gordon Dadds LLP and Caroline Leviss took a senior associate position at Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Mogers Drewett LLP’s Bath-based corporate team has been instructed by regional SMEs and high-street banks and has particular experience in corporate and commercial mandates in the IT, tech, media, food and drink, and hotel and leisure sectors. The department is headed by Tom Webb, who advises buy-side and sell-side clients primarily in M&A valued between £1m to £25m. Webb and associate Emily Eccles handle a range of commercial agreements. The team also sits on a number of bank and corporate legal panels.


Corporate and commercial: The West Country

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: The West Country
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • David Gebbie - OTB Eveling

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: The West Country clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Ashfords LLP is widely recognised for its presence in the European venture capital space and, in terms of deal volume, has been identified as one of the most active corporate teams in the UK. The firm’s ‘top-class’ lawyers have experience in a wide variety of corporate matters and are especially well known in the region for their capital markets and private equity work. Louise Workman assisted a UK-based specialist equipment manufacturer with the establishment of a multimillion-pound joint venture in an Asian jurisdiction. Workman was also involved in the complex restructuring of a listed company’s subsidiaries, which included a capital reduction, asset transfers and a winding up exercise. The ‘very professional’ Stuart Mathews advised the shareholders of W.C. Rowe (Falmouth) on the sale of the company’s entire issued share capital to Iberia Industry Capital Group. Specialising in corporate finance, Rebecca Dury is instructed by high-street lenders and corporate borrowers and regularly handles the financing aspects of the group’s corporate transactional mandates. Further, the team advised Rawle Gammon & Baker Holdings on its purchase of Tec Build Services’ infrastructure, business and other assets. C&C Group plc is another of the department’s key clients.

Foot Anstey ’s corporate group is regularly involved in sizeable corporate transactions and is rated for its ‘commercial savviness and legal expertise’ in addition to its emphasis on ‘helping clients develop their business’. Duncan Sykes ‘typifies the group with his responsiveness and high-quality advice’; Sykes has been especially active in energy-sector transactions and advised EW Solar on three concurrent transactions with Next Energy Capital, in which EW Solar sold its stake in three solar farms. Matthew Stoate is another of the team’s ‘pragmatic and entrepreneurial’ partners; Stoate assisted Charlie Parsons, Sir Bob Geldof and Lord Waheed Alli with the high-value sale of the entire issued share capital of Castaway Television Productions. Stoate also handled a number of strategic acquisitions for private equity-backed The Parts Alliance, which included its multimillion-pound acquisition of SAS Autoparts. Ken Lewins leads the West Country private companies and entrepreneurial practice and advised Marbel on its sale to Swiss-incorporated Hape Holding, as part of the buyer’s strategic global expansion. Chris Worrell heads the corporate and business groups and divides his time among the firm’s various regional offices.

Michelmores LLP has extensive experience in domestic and cross-border corporate transactions and complex commercial agreements. Corporate department head Richard Cobb, who divides his time between Exeter and London, advised the shareholders of Cobell, a regional food and drink company, on the sale of its business to Germany-based Symrise. Additionally, Cobb acted for Haynes Publishing Group plc in its acquisition of certain business operations from CarweB, a subsidiary of US-owned Solera; a transaction which was triggered by a CMA investigation into a previous acquisition by Solera. Samantha Billingham acted for Kew Green Hotels on the disposals of two separate Holiday Inn hotels: one involving an Indian buyer, and the other involving a Thai buyer. In the energy space, Alexandra Watson acted for Downing in relation to its £15.3m sale of anaerobic digestion plant Vulcan Renewables to John Laing Environmental Assets Group. Watson also assisted a fund manager with its multimillion-pound investment into a large community energy project. Further, a team including Henry Taylor counselled Succession Group on 16 acquisitions in the 12 months leading up to December 2017. Other key clients include Girlings Retirement Rentals, Credit Reporting Agency and Zoeftig Group.

In addition to acting for a large number of local and regional SMEs, OTB Eveling is regularly instructed by multinational corporates and London-based investment syndicates on complex cross-border corporate transactions and commercial agreements. Clients rate the team for ‘successfully closing deals in the face of demanding timescales, difficult personalities and unfamiliar foreign business practices’. In a standout matter which has received international media coverage, David Gebbie acted for Monaco-based ES-KO International in relation to a €48m joint venture project with Trevi to repair the Mosul Dam in Iraq. On the local transactional front, the team assisted Rew Hotels with the multimillion-pound sale of the business and assets of the Corbyn Head Hotel in Torquay. Leveraging a wealth of international and general corporate experience, James Eveling has experience assisting target companies and investors with strategic equity investment transactions. Indeed, Eveling acted for a digital healthcare provider in relation to a multimillion-pound investment from a large venture capital fund, and, separately, advised Van Ameyde UK Holding on an equity investment into Advent Insurance Management. The firm has also been investing in its corporate support practices, such as employment.

Stephens Scown LLP is ‘a strong regional player providing an extensive range of services’ to a client base primarily composed of local and regional SMEs and owner-managed businesses in the food and drink, healthcare, caravan park and energy and natural resources sectors. Having acted in a number of refinancing transactions in 2017, department head David Culshaw advised Phoenix Learning and Care Holdings on the refinancing of its existing senior debt and the parallel restructuring of investor and management loan notes. Culshaw also assisted Wookey Hole with the £2m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Bucklegrove Camping and Caravans, as part of the client’s strategic diversification strategy. ‘A tough, results-driven negotiator’, Christian Wilson has spearheaded the department’s burgeoning employee ownership practice. Additionally, Wilson advised Hengar Manor on a multimillion-pound sale of one of the largest holiday parks in the region. Further, Giles Dunning acted for WTW Cinemas in its merger with Scott Cinemas, and Simon Morris advised a renewable energy plant operator on the refinancing of a limited recourse finance facility. Sally Norcross-Webb specialises in the mining and mineral sector.

Murrell Associates is ‘a niche corporate and commercial firm that stands out among its local peers’ and ‘punches well above its weight, largely due to the tremendous leadership’ of name partner, Hugh Murrell. The department has historically been focused on the renewable energy sector, but has diversified its sector approach and is increasingly active in areas such as hospitality. Indeed, practice head Chris Wills led a multi-disciplinary team that advised Gara Rock Resort on the multimillion-pound sale of a luxury resort and related development opportunity to a fund managed by Angelo Gordon & Co. In the energy space, Wills is acting for German solar energy contractor ib vogt in connection with its joint venture with a Spanish company for the development and sale of several solar photovoltaic projects in Spain. Displaying ‘a calm and considered approach that belies his age’, senior associate Henry Maples is considered by some clients as ‘more of a business partner than just a legal service provider’. Maples acted for Hub Box in multiple rounds of debt and equity investments, and assisted London-based fintech start-up Jigsaw XYZ with various corporate matters, including group structure arrangements and strategic investment advice.

Acting primarily for local and regional SME clients, GA Solicitors has ‘a very strong reputation in Plymouth’, developed through ‘clearly demonstrated technical knowledge’ and ‘an attentive and responsive’ client-facing attitude. Newly promoted partner James Peterson heads the corporate department; Peterson provided comprehensive support to a digital business regarding the set-up of the company, which included advising on issues such as ownership and shareholder agreements, IP rights and supplier agreements. The department head also advised a nationally operating UK business on a corporate restructuring matter, which sought to order a group of companies so as to enable tax-efficient asset transfers within the owners’ family. Tony Cusack assisted PTG Precision Engineers with the £2m sale of its main engineering business. Additionally, the team handled share transactions for a number of veterinary businesses and is also instructed by local lenders and high-street banks.

Kitsons LLP ‘compares favourably’ to its regional competitors and is noted for approaching transactions with a ‘professional and proactive attitude’. The department is headed by Dominic Hollingsworth, a ‘good communicator and someone who can be relied upon to get the deal done’. Hollingsworth advised the shareholders of a UK software company on the multimillion-pound sale of its entire share capital to a US buyer. Additionally, the team has acted for a number of clients in the hotel and leisure sector in relation to various hotel sales involving purchasers in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, Corri Pedrick was promoted to partner and the team also took on a number of new junior-level practitioners.

‘Responsive, proactive and extremely capable’, the corporate lawyers at Nash & Co provide ‘excellent commercial advice in language that is easy for clients to understand’. The firm significantly enhanced its corporate capabilities in 2017 with the hires Tim Jackman (‘a driven and passionate deal-maker’) and associate Duncan White, both of whom joined from the legal team at media company Twofour Group, and had previously worked together at Bond Pearce. Given the pair’s pedigree, the team has unique experience of commercial matters in the media and telecoms sectors. Acting across from two multinational law firms, Jackman and White assisted Patrick Corporate Investment with its sale of Quickstore Storage to Big Yellow, in a transaction that required a complex pre-sale restructuring. The ‘responsive and relatable’ Austin Blackburn has been involved in a number of corporate restructurings and has particular expertise in IP law.

Porter Dodson LLP attracts praise for its ‘impressive response times and willingness to turn around complex work quickly and efficiently’. Headed by the highly recommended Evelyn Adfield, the team is regularly instructed in relation to multimillion-pound share transactions. Adfield advised the selling shareholders of 20:20 Retail Data Insight on the sale of their holding to US-based StayinFront. Adfield also assisted a longstanding client with a corporate regorganisation and related financing arrangements. The team, including associate Sarah Young, has also developed a niche expertise in integrating GP partnerships with NHS trusts. Further, the group advises on a host of commercial contract matters and employment law. Brian Maxwell retired in 2017.

The corporate team at Tozers Solicitors LLP provides ‘timely and competent service at a competitive price’. James Orpin heads the practice group and has experience in a wide range of corporate work, including general share transactions, joint venture agreements, MBOs and corporate restructurings. On the buy side, Orpin has handled strategic acquisitions for clients such as Auto-Sleepers Group. Conversely, the practice head advised an individual on the sale of a large holiday caravan park. James Evans and Richard King handle ongoing corporate governance work for clients in the charities sector. Additional clients include Haulfryn Group and Blacker Sheep.


Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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Burges Salmon LLP’s tax department is often involved in corporate mandates and large UK property transactions. John Barnett and department head Nigel Popplewell recently acted for a UK investment manager in connection with a £14m debt restructuring as part of a corporate rescue of two defaulted energy holding companies, the shareholders of which held tax advantaged investments that needed to be protected in the ensuing acquisitions of those companies by a third party buyer. Similarly, Barnett is advising a well-known dairy product producer on the preliminary tax issues of a corporate restructuring following a demerger. Popplewell has particular expertise in property-related taxation and advises The Crown Estate on a wide variety of VAT and SDLT issues. The team also has experience of remuneration taxation and tax planning in the context of family wealth. Nicola Manclark left the firm for Ashfords LLP.

The tax team at Osborne Clarke is regularly called upon to provide comprehensive structuring advice to support the firm’s top-tier real estate, projects and corporate teams. Quite unique outside of London, the department also has expertise in the tax aspects of fund formation and partnership restructuring. Head of the international tax department Erika Jupe acted for Actavis UK and Actavis Ireland in relation to Teva’s £603m divestment of Actavis to India-headquartered Intas Pharmaceuticals; a European antitrust requirement following the Israeli pharmaceutical giant’s acquisition of Allergan’s generics business. Tracey Wright heads the UK tax team and is rated for her ability to ‘anticipate problems in advance and find practical solutions’ to property tax issues. Wright assisted real estate investment manager M&G RPF with the tax structuring of two build-to-rent forward funding acquisitions of sites in Ilford and Wembley. In 2017, former practice head Michael Bell left the firm for an in-house role.

By one client’s reckoning, Ashfords LLP is ‘on par with some of the best’ in the South West. The team is known for advising individual shareholders on exit transactions, capital gains and income tax liabilities, and also supports the firm’s M&A activity and property work. Department head Angus Bauer assisted an energy management group with the tax structuring of the establishment of tax-efficient holding and operating companies in a European jurisdiction. Further, Bauer provided comprehensive tax advice a local authority in relation to a number of investment property acquisitions. After joining the team from Burges Salmon LLP in 2017, Nicola Manclark advised Dynmark International on the sale of its entire issued share capital - including Polish and US subsidiaries - to DotDigital Group. Clare Werry has experience of the tax aspects of corporate reorganisations.

Foot Anstey has been called ‘a go-to firm for complex VAT and corporate restructuring’ matters. Indeed, John Pindard, the ‘pragmatic and approachable’ practice head, advised Beachdown on a multimillion-pound corporate reorganisation involving substantial property portfolio transfers, which required careful structuring to account for potential SDLT liabilities. The department head also acted in conjunction with a ‘Magic Circle’ firm in relation to a high-value cross-border disposal of a Southeast Asian holding company and various subsidiaries. Further, Pindard advises clients such as Maybank UK on increasingly sensitive regulatory compliance issues. Senior associate Anna Parker is a key figure in the firm’s personal tax team, and senior manager Rhys Pippard, who specialises in indirect taxation, joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP.

TLT provides transactional and ongoing tax advisory support to its multinational client-base, which often includes advice on real estate tax, cross-border structuring in the context of M&A, employer and employee taxation and enterprise investment scheme (EIS) fund investments. Working across the firm’s London and Bristol offices, Nathan Williams advised Conviviality plc on the tax aspects of its acquisition of a particular business operation of WS Retail (in administration), which included the acquisition of 127 convenience stores under various ownership structures. Legal director Mark Braude counselled Green Hedge International on a European investment fund’s £30m equity investment in Green Hedge Energy UK by way of a share sale. Braude has also assisted local authorities with multimillion-pound freehold investment acquisitions. Ben Watson specialises in employee share incentive schemes and is another key figure in the department.

Michelmores LLP’s corporate tax director, Brian Garner, provides ongoing support to the firm’s corporate team in strategic M&A and MBO transactions and has developed expertise in share incentive programmes. Indeed, Garner advised Haynes Publishing Group plc on the structure and establishment of a global share incentive scheme, which was subsequently rolled out across the client’s US, Australian and Dutch network. The practice head also acted for Gro-Group in connection with its complex £22m sale to Mayborn Group, and provides ongoing support to Succession Group in relation to its acquisition strategy. Additional clients include Zoeftig Group and TJ International.

With expertise in acting for clients in the charities and education sectors, VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s tax department regularly supports the firm’s flagship corporate and property transactions. The team has also received instructions from non-UK domiciled individuals regarding various changes to personal tax regulation and has extensive experience in contentious tax issues. Practice head Emma Bradley assisted a professional trustee company on tax relief negotiations with HMRC. Bradley also advised Bath-based e-commerce company Prezola on the tax aspects of the Business Growth Fund’s £3m investment into the client. Consultant Ann Farquhar acts as a tax consultant and the team took on a newly qualified solicitor in 2017.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides ‘focused and pragmatic’ tax advice to its multinational client-base made up of private equity investors and corporates in the energy and financial services sectors. Managing associate and South West tax head Ronan Lowney has ‘excellent legal and commercial experience’ and is ‘willing to go the extra yard to help his clients achieve their goals’. Lowney assisted Canadian energy group Dream Alternatives Wind with its acquisition of 13 UK wind farm projects. The department has been increasingly involved in US-facing instructions following Bond Dickinson’s 2017 merger with US-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Indeed, Lowney, who has considerable experience in private equity transactions, advised Rockpool Private Equity on the sale of NCE Group to Park Technologies, a member of a multinational US-based technology group.


EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Bill Hull - TLT
    • Julian Maitland-Walker - Maitland Walker LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Burges Salmon LLP provides comprehensive advice on merger control issues, regulatory investigations and competition litigation, and is especially active in the food and drink sector, as well as highly regulated industries such as rail transportation. The department was significantly strengthened in 2017 by the arrival of Chris Worall from Clifford Chance. Since joining, Worrall has taken on a number of high-profile instructions, which has included advising Abellio, as member of a tripartite joint venture, on the merger control aspects of the joint venture’s acquisition of the West Midlands rail franchise. Additionally, Worrall and Laura Claydon represented The Co-operative Group in pre-notification negotiations with the CMA in connection with the client’s proposed £143m acquisition of Nisa Retail. Further, Claydon is acting for The Co-operative Group and Somerfield Stores in a multimillion-pound claim against the CMA regarding an historical fine concerning the retail pricing of tobacco products. John Houlden specialises in state aid and procurement law and Noel Beale has ‘particular expertise in competition issues facing the water industry’.

Osborne Clarke is ‘a go-to law firm’ for non-contentious merger control, state aid and regulatory compliance advice in the technology, telecoms and media, transport and retail sectors. The firm also has perhaps the region’s most prolific antitrust litigation practice. Indeed, Andrew Bartlett is advising the liquidators of Granville Technology Group on two separate follow-on damages claims arising from the EC’s highly publicised decisions concerning the operation of cartels in the DRAM memory and LCD screen industries. ‘A collaborative and calm commercial adviser’, Simon Neill is assisting Fexco Merchant Services with its complaint to the EC concerning its ongoing investigation into dynamic currency conversion. Neill was also instructed by White & Black Limited to advise Matchesfashion.com on the merger control aspects of the sale of a majority stake to Apax Partners. Marc Shrimpling has a wide-ranging practice covering market investigations, merger control and state aid. Shrimpling, who made partner in 2017, is acting for EE in connection with the Home Office’s procurement for the emergency services mobile communications programme. Other recommended contacts include senior associate Zoe Hodgins and Catherine Wolfenden, the latter of whom specialises in public procurement.

Headed by the highly regarded Julian Maitland-Walker, Maitland Walker LLP has ‘a high-quality competition practice’ that is regularly involved in high-profile competition litigation. Maitland-Walker is instructed by international and domestic corporates, joint ventures and law firms in relation to complex transactional and regulatory compliance matters. On the contentious side, the team is representing groups of claimants in various follow-on claims concerning the well-known air cargo and LCD panel cartels. The group also has expertise in IP disputes in connection with freedom of movement in the pharmaceuticals industry and often appears before the CJEU in that context. A consultant in the department, Susannah Sheppard is a solicitor advocate with considerable experience working at major public sector bodies and City firms.

The team at TLT has expertise in merger control and competition regulatory compliance and is regularly instructed by corporates involved in CMA investigations. Department head Miles Trower provides ongoing competition assistance to the National Franchised Dealers Association, which has included advising on trade advocacy and potential compliance issues following Brexit. Further, Trower acted for BGL Group in connection with the CMA’s digital comparison tools market study, and represented West Coast Property Services in the CMA’s real estate agency services cartel investigation. The team also assisted Conviviality with the merger control aspects of its £25m acquisition of certain business operations from WS Retail. Bill Hull advised Mineral Products Association on compliance with CMA-mandated remedies following the well-known investigation of the aggregates market. Imperial Brands, C&J Clark and WHSmith are among the department’s major clients.

Acting primarily for local authorities and public sector companies, Ashfords LLP’s dedicated state aid practice has expertise in state aid funding structures for significant local infrastructure and services projects. Department head Elizabeth Gibson provides ongoing state aid advice to clients such as North Yorkshire County Council. Additionally, Gibson is advising Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council on the state aid aspects of a £67m project to provide enhanced broadband services to rural areas. The department head has also provided state aid advice to the Council of the Isles of Scilly in relation to various energy projects. Lucy Woods is an active senior associate in the department, with experience in state aid and public procurement.

Michelmores LLP assists its corporate clients with regulatory compliance and CMA investigations, and is often instructed by local authorities and public sector organisations in state aid and public procurement mandates. Senior associate Michail Papadakis advised HaynesPro on its participation in a CMA investigation concerning a completed acquisition in relation to which the client was a third party; following applications to the regulator, the acquirer submitted undertakings-in-lieu to the CMA, which comprised certain business operations that were subsequently purchased by HaynesPro. Carol McCormack has acted for project bidders and tenderers in relation to construction projects and services contracts tendered by various NHS trusts. Further, Andrew Oldland represented a participant in a price-fixing cartel in a settlement negotiation with the CMA; Oldland splits his time between the firm’s London and Exeter offices.


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