Burges Salmon LLP's corporate team has a stellar reputation among clients and peers for its work in the energy sector, where it has expertise in transactions involving nuclear and renewables. The group has a growing offering in the technology sector, as well as a steady stream of work relating to hospitality, education and transport. Public M&A is another area where the team stands out, drawing on its capital markets expertise. Jointly taking the lead, Rupert Weston is a specialist in public and private M&A, while Nick Graves is a corporate transactional lawyer with additional expertise in corporate governance issues and transformation projects for public sector clients. Camilla Usher-Clark is singled out by clients for her knowledge in co-operatives and alternative investment structures. Mark Shepherd leads the private equity offering. Other notable team members include Chris Godfrey, who heads the corporate and financial institutions department; Richard Spink, who has notable expertise in the private equity sector; and directors Tim Roberts and Alex Lloyd.
Corporate and commercial: Bristol in South West
Nick Graves; Rupert Weston
Other key lawyers:
Richard Spink; Chris Godfrey; Camilla Usher-Clark; Mark Shepherd; Tim Roberts; Alex Lloyd
‘Working in this environment this firm is able to call on resources to cover all aspects in the corporate and commercial sector.‘
‘All of the staff are easy to work with and demonstrate a desire to get the job done. The specific mandate we work together on provides many challenges and the firm are able to deal with anything that comes their way.’
‘A sensible and pragmatic firm, focused on getting the deal done. They are very knowledgeable about the renewables sector and work well with the other side.’
‘Camilla Usher-Clarke leads the team, stays involved where necessary and is accessible. She takes a relaxed approach and flags the key points, with a view to getting a deal across the line.‘
‘We have worked with Burges Salmon’s corporate and commercial team in Bristol for over ten years and have had no hesitation in recommending them to other business contacts. The corporate team has the best breadth of experience and extensive specialist knowledge that we have come across within the sectors in which we operate. There are a number of fantastic partners who grasp often complex issues with ease and always give considered advice in a timely and helpful manner. ‘
‘Camilla Usher Clarke is, from our perspective, the most knowledgeable legal professional with regards to cooperatives and community benefit societies.’
‘The team is a pleasure to work with, offering a proactive and agile approach to solving the legal issues that we are facing.’
‘Alex Lloyd provided excellent transactional support, advising on complex issues with confidence and experience.’
Premier Asset Management Group plc
John Lewis Partnership
University of Oxford
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/UKRI
ITM Power plc
Muzinich & Co
- Advised ITM Power in respect of a significant fundraising of £172m – the third largest fundraising on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) this year.
- Advised long-standing client Bluefield Solar, a UK-focused income fund that invests primarily in solar assets, on the acquisition and financing of a portfolio of 15 operational solar photovoltaic plants.
- Advised LCM Interest Holding LLC and the LCM group founders on the sale of the brokerage business of Louis Capital Markets and MidCap Partners to Tullet Prebon Investment Holdings Limited.
Osborne Clarke LLP's team runs impressive national and cross-border transactions from the Bristol office. The group is also known for its advice on venture capital and private equity investments, as well as M&A, with the energy sector being a key focus. The corporate team is led by David Ferris, while Lara Burch leads the commercial group, with significant experience in commercial contracts. Alisdair Livingstone is another standout practitioner, leading on private equity matters. Conrad Davies is responsible for the urban dynamics group, which focuses on transactions relating to innovative issues such as smart cities and the future of work. Simon Jones, who specialises in advising technology-focused venture capital funds, angel investors and high-growth companies, is also noted.
David Ferris; Lara Burch
Other key lawyers:
Alisdair Livingstone; Conrad Davies; Mark Wesker; Sarah Knight; Simon Jones
‘Good teamwork. Nothing gets dropped – they are excellent communicators. The transition to lockdown was seamless and was never an issue.’
‘Alisdair Livingstone and David Ferris are both in our view exceptional lawyers. They are very low key and are always calm under pressure and focused on solving issues efficiently.’
‘One of the few firms with expert knowledge in all areas of the housebuilding industry. They delivered very impressive training during lockdown to a large number of our staff, with live test questions. They also offer an impressive quality and amount of breakfast seminars.’
Lloyds Development Capital
M&G Real Estate
Synova Capital LLP
London & Country
Round Hill Capital
Ultra Electronics Plc
- Advised Hargreaves Lansdown on a non-core asset disposal.
- Advised Growth Capital Partners on the management buyout of GTS Flexible Materials Group Limited and its subsidiaries by Forest Bidco Limited, following an investment into Forest Bidco Limited and its ultimate parent company by funds managed by GCP and certain members of the management team.
- Advised David Evans and Martin Jonik and others on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Techmodal Limited to BAE Systems Surface Ships (Holdings) Limited.
TLT's corporate team is praised for its 'excellent advice and sensible rates', handling a wide variety of corporate transactions. The group has core expertise in the retail, clean energy and digital sectors, as well as a strong track record in private equity, venture capital and international investment deals. The firm provides a full service, and is able to pull together a team including experts in competition law, financial services, regulatory issues and capital markets. Andrew Webber heads the corporate team, while the commercial group is led by Perran Jervis, who also leads the retail and consumer goods practice. Alice Gardner brings substantial expertise in cross-border corporate transactions. Antonia Silvestri is an expert in turnaround transactions, as well as clean energy deals, an area that is also a specialism for Kay Hobbs. In February 2020, the group was further strengthened by the arrival of legal director Dan Whitewood, an investments expert, from Simmons & Simmons. John Wood is now managing partner of the firm.
Andrew Webber; Perran Jervis
Other key lawyers:
Alice Gardner; Antonia Silvestri; Kay Hobbs; Nina Searle; Bill Hull; Dan Whitewood
‘Excellent advice, sensible rates.’
‘Practical and focused advice.’
‘Alice Gardner always has a commercial and pragmatic approach to ensure client interests are met.’
‘What stands out is the flexibility of the team in being able to seamlessly link in other partners and senior members of the team to provide a complete solution to often complex situations needing a diverse range of skills.’
‘Antonia Silvestri stands out due to her strong communication and stakeholder management skills, and her ability to focus all parties on the key facts and not allow the noise to distract parties from arriving at a practical solution. She is hardworking and delivers on time.’
‘A very good team with local knowledge and good project management of transactions.’
Longacre Group (previously Sea Equity)
boohoo group plc
Maven Capital Partners
YFM Equity Partners
Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
Sine Wave Entertainment
- Advised boohoo on the acquisition of the online business and intellectual property rights relating to Debenhams and its sub brands, three Arcadia Group brands (Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis) and Oasis, Warehouse and other brands.
- Advising Sainsbury’s on a strategically important and price-sensitive commercial collaboration with the owner of a national chain of petrol station forecourt convenience stores.
- Advising Forthglade Foods’ management team on the secondary buyout backed by IK Investment Partners.
VWV's corporate and commercial team is praised for being 'extremely proactive', with a focus on the education and technology sectors. On the corporate front, a practice led by the 'excellent' Robert Collier, the group handles major transactions initiated by a strong clientbase of SMEs and owner-managed businesses. The team also includes 'truly passionate' partnership expert Jos Moule, whose reputation extends nationally. Doug Locke heads the commercial group, and has expertise in advising UK independent schools on the establishment of overseas franchises in other jurisdictions.
Robert Collier; Doug Locke
Other key lawyers:
Nathan Guest; Jos Moule; Ed Rimmell
‘The team is extremely proactive in identifying potential issues as well as seizing opportunities to improve the outcome for me as a client. Very responsive when I needed to get in contact and very commercial as well as legally proficient.’
‘They really took the time to understand my issues and situation to see what I needed out of the transaction, and helped me secure a great outcome.’
‘Their strengths are in working with seed to series A company on their investment transactions and with companies spinning out of universities, and in working to deliver an equivalent level of service in Covid times while juggling family commitments.’
‘Easy to work with, professional and knowledgeable in the education sector. ’
‘Rob Collier has provided excellent general and sector-specific education advice with a professional, easygoing manner.’
‘We received a very personalised service from both their education specialist team, as well as their wider commercial lawyers. Our contacts come across as warm, caring and friendly and very much on our side.’
‘Our lead is Ed Rimmel. He is very personable, friendly and approachable, as well as being considered and extremely knowledgeable. We trust Ed implicitly.’
‘Jos Moule has an extremely deep understanding of corporate law issues including case law. He is very conscientious and takes time to gather all the details but stays aware of the bigger picture. He is truly passionate and has lots of knowledge of relevant case law. More than anything, he provides advice that is the most helpful for the situation, taking into account both the legal and non-legal issues. Jos has been extremely generous with his time and was always available when needed.‘
TGS (UK) Limited
Bellevue Education Group
Great Western Regional Capital
Bristol Waste Company
Science Creates Incubators/Unit DX
Enable (Marketing and Promotions) Ltd
University of Bristol
Hills Waste Solutions
North Somerset Council
Smartbox Assistive Technology
- Advising Ripjar on a series B round of investment.
- Advising North Somerset Council on the arrangements by which its contract with Biffa to deliver municipal waste collection and processing services is brought to an end, and the responsibility for those services is transferred to a new delivery vehicle.
- Advised Space Forge on an equity investment funding package from the Development Bank of Wales.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's Bristol team is best known for its work in the energy sector, with an additionally strong transactional offering for private equity, insurance and real estate clients. The firm has incorporated innovation into its platform, utilising WBD Advance which aids with due diligence, document review and risk management. The team is led by M&A and private equity investment specialist Simon Hewes, who works alongside Tom Fitzpatrick. Managing associate Sammy Hill is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Tom Fitzpatrick; Sammy Hill; Alex Fergus
Vitol Group (Vitol SA)
Third Energy Holdings Limited
Noble Energy Inc
OVO Energy Limited
Piper PE LLP
Rockpool Investments LLP
Puma Private Equity
Willis Towers Watson plc (including Innovisk Capital Partners)
Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative Limited
- Advised Arch Insurance on the £164m part VII transfer of its insurance business (excluding the inwards reinsurance business) to within the European Economic Area to Arch Insurance (EU) dac, based in Ireland.
- Acted for Piper on the sale of its shares in Mindful Chef to the Nestlé group.
- Advised Molendotech, a University of Plymouth spinout company, on securing an investment to speed the development of its novel bacteria-testing technology.
The team at Ashfords LLP is well known for its experience in the technology, retail and financial services sectors, running a wide variety of transactions from the Bristol office, including management buy-outs and buy-ins, M&A and corporate restructuring matters. Andrew Betteridge leads the corporate department and the business services division, and has experience in venture capital investments. Chris Dyson leads on the firm's technology sector work, advising investment funds and growth companies. Jocelyn Ormond is an M&A lawyer with a focus on the health care and life sciences sector.
Other key lawyers:
Chris Dyson; Jocelyn Ormond; Rory Suggett; Scott Preece
‘Ashfords delivered the quality of a large London firm, with a strong, integrated, multidisciplinary team.’
‘Jocelyn Ormond is an excellent team leader.‘
‘The corporate team took us through an M&A process with calmness, efficiency, strong technical knowledge and good negotiating prowess. Despite the company on the other side of the table being significantly larger, I always felt that Ashfords managed to level the playing field. We would not have completed without their skills – I could not commend them highly enough.’
‘Chris Dyson and Scott Preece stood out. Both had strong negotiating skills and a clear ability to see the wood for the trees, so that management time could be focused on the points that mattered. Both of them showed integrity, technical skills and a fantastic work ethic when getting close to the acquisition.‘
‘We were looking for legal professionals with the volume and complexity of experience of City law firms but with a broader understanding of community-based healthcare businesses and, given the budget constraints of healthcare businesses, slightly lower price points. Ashfords offered the knowledge, the tax, technical, governance and commercial advice.’
‘A broad range of skills and capabilities with specialists in a broad range of practice areas. It is more comparable in breadth to a much larger firm.’
‘We worked with Jocelyn Ormond, who is a talented and thoughtful lawyer with significant Magic Circle and international experience. London law firm quality at Bristol rates.’
Curtis Banks Group Plc
Nordson Corporation Plc
Lloyd Warwick International
Fitzgerald & Law LLP
- Advised Lloyd Warwick International (LWI), a global loss adjusting and claims management company, on the firm’s acquisition by McLarens, a global insurance services provider.
- Advised Curtis Banks Group Plc on the acquisitions of fintech business Dunstan Thomas and pensions provider Talbot & Muir for over £52m in aggregate, together with a £25m cash box placing.
- Advised leading VC fund Notion Capital on a $68m investment round in Paddle, a global SaaS revenue delivery platform.
Clarke Willmott LLP's team has a strong track record of advising mid-market corporates on acquisition strategies. The firm also has an active practice advising owner-managed businesses on their transactions and is increasingly instructed on cross-border deals, leveraging its position in the South West to provide price-sensitive services. Simon Thomas is head of the national corporate practice, with experience in M&A, private equity investments and company law issues. Simon Smith is known for cross-border work, drawing on links with the Swedish market. Robert Ridd is another corporate transactional lawyer of note.
Other key lawyers:
Simon Smith; Robert Ridd
‘Simon Thomas provided good access at short notice and excellent support through difficult commercial decisions. He was happy to discuss tactics as well as the law, and helped us manage emotions through difficult negotiations. He kept things simple and we felt well supported and clear on our position.’
‘They give a London-quality service at non-London fees. The service and advice was exemplary.’
‘A friendly, approachable and very expert team. Lead partner Simon Thomas was always available.‘
Turtle Bay Restaurants
Prysm Media Group
Harpsden Wealth Management
Evergreen Garden Care
Assured Digital Technologies
Wasserman Media Group
Addnode Group AB
Bramley and Gage Limited (6 O’clock Gin)
Fowlers of Bristol
- Acting for the management of Panther Logistics (a £60m turnover logistics group) to advise on its sale to US global transport group AIT Worldwide Logistics.
- Acting for the management of Prowrap on the sale and reinvestment in a private equity-backed MBO that valued the company at £17.5m.
- Acting for the shareholders in the merger of MDS Technologies Limited and Bristol IT Company Limited under one holding company.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP's team is known for corporate transactions arising from the healthcare sector, with expertise in cross-border deals. The group is jointly steered by business advisory division lead John Williams and corporate and commercial lawyer James Reed.
John Williams; James Reed
Roxburgh Milkins Limited
Roxburgh Milkins Limited has built a solid reputation for advising technology-sector clients on private equity transactions, management buy-outs and fund raisings, as well as M&A. Providing 'wonderful leadership', Bruce Roxburgh heads the corporate practice. The 'reasonable and flexible' Jason Milkins, who co-founded the firm with Roxburgh, handles the full spectrum of corporate transactions, supporting start-ups at all stages of their growth. Charles Van Der Lande deploys a 'razor focus' for private equity deals, while Richard Hopkins is known for his work in the food and beverages sector. 'Efficient' solicitor Laura Guest plays a supporting role on a variety of corporate transactions.
Other key lawyers:
Jason Milkins; Charles van der Lande; Richard Hopkins; Laura Guest
‘The service in which Roxburgh Milkins offers its clients continues to be nothing short of exceptional. They really understand their clients and their requirements. The people-led approach really makes them stand out in their sector.’
‘They are actually a team, not a collection of individuals. They are straight-talking, actually listen to what you say, and are pragmatic and commercial about the possible outcomes. They do not over-promise and under-deliver, and provide a reliable service, keeping on top of things at all times.’
‘Their service was excellent. They were upfront and flexible with their charging structure. Roxburgh Milkins were recommended to me initially for one transaction, and they impressed me so much they were the obvious choice for the next.’
‘I dealt with Richard Hopkins, who did an outstanding job. He was friendly, efficient and a pleasure to deal with. He did a superb job of explaining legal terms and the ramifications of the agreements in clear and simple language. He also gladly worked late where needed to accommodate differing time zones and maintained excellent communication with all parties throughout.’
‘Jason Milkins is extremely knowledgeable, easy to negotiate with, reasonable and flexible. Laura Guest is hardworking, efficient and very capable. Both have worked extremely long hours on our projects including weekends and late nights.’
‘Jason Milkins is a very approachable individual who went way beyond the normal service one would expect from lawyer in very challenging times with Covid-19 and home working being the norm. Our matter was carried out to a very tight deadline which could not be missed. His team followed up with the same enthusiastic manner with all the large amount of legal documents.’
‘‘Bruce Roxburgh is available, concise and pragmatic, with a great ability to communicate complex legal matters to us lay folk. He showed wonderful leadership of the legal team behind our project.’
‘Bruce Roxburgh offers decades of experience coupled with an intuitive and open mindset that makes him a delight to work with. A wonderful blend of ability, humility and practicality. Charles Van der Lande is a breath of fresh air – a lawyer that can speak client with a razor focus on what matters in any given situation.’
- Advised IT services provider Vysiion Group on its acquisition by Exponential-e (a cloud, network and unified communications company).
- Advised Air IT (an award-winning managed service provider) on its investment from August Equity to now proceed on a buy and build strategy.
- Advised Premier Veterinary Group plc on its acquisition of Animal Healthcare Company Limited (AHCL), a subsidiary of Denplan, itself a subsidiary of Simplyhealth Group.
Bevan Brittan LLP has knowledge in advising public sector clients, including local authorities, the NHS and central government bodies, on corporate transactions, alongside a healthy diet of private sector work. The group has experience in M&A, establishing new corporate vehicles and joint ventures, as well as investments, buy-outs and spin-offs. The department is co-led by Chris Harper, a corporate lawyer with expertise in complex corporate restructuring and investment vehicles, and Marti Burgess, who focuses on SME transactions. Legal director Richard Hiscoke has developed a practice advising local authorities on social investment projects.
Chris Harper; Marti Burgess
Other key lawyers:
Richard Hiscoke; Hannah Ward; Laura Dodds
‘I found the team very attentive and knowledgeable. The different legal disciplines required to complete our deal collaborated perfectly to ensure the deal went through on time and with the commercial terms that we were comfortable with.’
‘Bevan Brittan has a strong client focus and really worked on building a relationship and supporting our goals, not just providing disparate pieces of advice. We have had a number of strands on a major project, including corporate, property and state aid, and they have seamlessly brought these together.’
‘Richard Hiscoke held our hand during the acquisition. He was very calm and reassuring and enabled us to complete a deal that was on our terms.’
First Corporate Law Services
Sirran Engineering Services
Commerce Business Systems
Red Arrow Electrical Distribution
Concept Plastic Packaging
Compass Business Finance
Canal & River Trust
Places for People
Wirral Borough Council
Commercial Services Kent Limited
- Advising Lincolnshire County Council on the establishment of an alternative business structure for a new vehicle which would enable it to deliver legal services in an innovative way and assist partner local authorities in the east of England as well as other local public bodies.
- Advised and assisted Retirement Living on a solvent restructure arising out of a rationalisation of its care home portfolio.
- Advised Together Housing (the group manages 36,000 units and is one of Homes England’s strategic partners) on its corporate joint venture with Lovell Partnerships, aiming to build 3,000 homes across the North and Midlands in the next five years.
At Foot Anstey, the corporate team specialises in M&A, private equity and investments, while the commercial group has expertise in outsourcing projects, supply chain management and IP licensing arrangements. Following the departure of former practice head Mark Millar for an in-house role at Ontic in December 2020, Ken Lewins heads the corporate department, as well as the entrepreneurial and private companies offering in the South West, focusing on transactions, restructurings and reorganisations. Martin Cuell leads the commercial offering while managing associate Alexandra Hammond is noted for her work supporting general counsels and in-house teams on day-to-day business issues.
Other key lawyers:
Martin Cuell; Alexandra Hammond; Annalisa Checchi
The Royal Shakespeare Company
The shareholders of K2 Medical Systems Holdings Limited
Mole Valley Farmers
Innova Capital Limited
Livingbridge EP LLP
Phoenix Equity Partners
- Advised BGF on a number of investments, as well as advising several of its portfolio companies.
- Advised the shareholders of W. Stevenson & Sons on the sale of 70% of the entire issued share capital of the company to Vistgate Limited, part of the Ocean Fish group.
- Acted for the shareholders of K2 Medical Systems Holdings Limited, a medical technology company, on its sale to N. Harris Computer Corporation (part of Constellation Inc.), a major global software firm headquartered in Canada.
The Bristol office of Freeths LLP opened in 2019, with Emily Settle brought in from Foot Anstey to lead the corporate and private equity group. The team is steadily building a notable practice, with instructions relating to M&A and distressed M&A, as well as complex capital structuring for private equity portfolio companies. Settle is particularly experienced in acting as co-counsel with Magic Circle firms on private equity transactions and portfolio issues. The team continues to expand, and added managing associate Charlotte Hugo from Foot Anstey in February 2021.
Other key lawyers:
Carlsberg Breweries A/S
Public Group International Limited
The Cornwall Council
- Acted as co-counsel to Carlsberg on its £780m deal with Marston’s plc to form a new joint venture beer company in the UK, Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC).
- Advising the Govtech platform and venture firm PUBLIC.io on the strategic acquisition of Microtest Limited and subsequent structuring and shareholders’ arrangements.
- Advising Cornwall Council on the development of the Stadium for Cornwall, a new 16,000-seat stadium in Truro with ancillary hotel and commercial/retail space, in a joint venture with the Cornish Pirates, Truro City Football Club, Truro Penwith College and grant funded by HM Treasury and LEP.
GL Law focuses on advising SMEs and owner-managed businesses on their transactions, including share and asset sales and purchases, restructurings and management buy-outs. The team is also well versed in handling equity investment and shareholder issues. Paul Hardman leads the department, providing considerable expertise in corporate finance. Associate director Bridget Juckes is a veteran of company law issues.
Other key lawyers:
CRS Building Supplies Limited
Staverton Building Supplies
R&F Care Limited
Vegan Chocolate Brand
Mobius Works Limited
- Advised the management team of Agylia Limited on its sale to Civica Group.
- Advised the management shareholders of CRS Building Supplies Limited on its sale to Stone & Grant, backed by Cairngorm Private Equity.
- Advised Sapling Spirits on a start- up capital investment round.
The team at Thrings LLP is experienced in M&A work, as well as management buy-outs, fund investments, corporate restructurings and share incentives, with numerous clients in the software, agricultural and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. The commercial group is particularly active in advising businesses on Brexit-related import and export issues. Leading the Bristol team is Elaine Meyrick. John Richardson is another key lawyer.
Other key lawyers:
Sellers of E-recycling Ltd
Sotheby’s International Realty (UK Franchise)
Dimensions Group (Dimensions Training Limited)
- Advised the sellers of the Learndirect group, and the group itself, on its acquisition by Queen’s Park Equity.
- Acted for Wildanet in respect of an investment of up to £50m from Gresham House, which will support the client in becoming the leading gigabit-capable altnet service provider in Cornwall.
- Advised the sellers of E-recycling Ltd (an owner-managed business) on the sale of their shares to Restore Technologies Ltd.