Corporate and commercial: Bristol in South West
Burges Salmon LLP advises its impressive client roster across the full spectrum of corporate and commercial work. This includes cross-border deals for international corporates investing in the UK, as well as public M&A. The group has a particular strength in the energy sector, with experience in deals involving nuclear and renewable energy. Other areas of sector expertise include food and drink, leisure and education. Transactional lawyer Richard Spink co-heads the department with corporate finance specialist Rupert Weston. Chris Godfrey leads the corporate and financial institutions group. Also of note are senior associate Alex Lloyd and director Tim Roberts.
‘Partner oversight and involvement is second to none, excellent technical skills and expert legal advice, with a commercial approach.‘
‘The team is very client need focused and flexible according to those needs. Highly accessible, with strong expertise and cost effective. Do not ‘over-lawyer’ unlike many large city firms.’
‘The Burges Salmon team have a great breadth of expertise across the range of specialities including those common to all large corporates, as well as those specific to us within the healthcare sector. Their ability to work effectively between departments enables them to provide fully considered advice.’
‘Rupert Weston has great vision and ability to see the bigger picture, his commitment, involvement and support are second to none, while in possession of excellent technical skills and good humour.’
Premier Asset Management Group plc
John Lewis Partnership
Hamilton Hotel Partners
University of Oxford
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy/UKRI
ITM Power plc
SCISYS Group plc
- Advising Premier Miton Group on the recommended £98m all-share merger between Premier and Miton Group, effected by means of a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement between Miton and the Miton Shareholders to create a UK fund management group with AUM of £11.5bn.
- Acting for pan-European software and IT services company, SCISYS Group, in connection with its £78.9m takeover by the CGI Group, one of world’s largest independent IT professional services groups.
- Advising ITM Power, a leading manufacturer of hydrogen energy solutions that is well known as the developer of the UK’s first public hydrogen station, on a £58.8m fundraising from Linde UK (a new strategic investor), existing and new institutional investors, and an open offer, along with advising the client on its innovative joint venture with Linde to provide green hydrogen to large-scale industrial projects.
The group at Osborne Clarke has experience in domestic and cross-border corporate transactions, as well as venture capital and private equity investments, real estate transactions and commercial contracts. Co-heading the team, David Ferris has particular experience in the energy and technology sectors, while commercial lawyer Lara Burch has significant expertise in commercial contracts relating to logistics, warehousing and manufacturing. Leading the private equity practice, Alisdair Livingstone is another name to note, alongside investments expert Simon Jones.
‘The team provides commercial, grounded and balanced legal advice and execution. They are strong on detail, but keep a keen eye on the bigger picture. The quality of work is excellent.’
‘Alisdair Livingstone is highly experienced, calm and pragmatic, Al is very strong at balancing and managing the detail, maintaining a hands-on role and delivering. His approach is straight forward and well received, building good relationships with his counterparts, which is invaluable when things get tough.’
Lloyds Development Capital
M&G Real Estate
London & Country
Round Hill Capital
Western Power Distribution
Eversholt Rail Group
Ashfords LLP has developed a strong practice in MBOs, financial services transactions, corporate restructurings and corporate governance issues. The group is led by Andrew Betteridge, who has vast experience in transactional work. Chris Dyson is the name to note for venture capital, and is often instructed by major investment funds. In November 2019, Jocelyn Ormond arrived from Simmons & Simmons, bringing with him significant expertise in healthcare and life sciences transactions.
‘Friendly and approachable.’
‘Jocelyn Ormond provided exceptional support for a recent transaction, pulled together a very competent team and ensured that all details were considered. We were made to feel we were in safe hands in what proved to be a tricky transaction.’
Armada Civil Engineering (SW)
Redland Business Solutions.
- Advising on the sale of Redland Business Solutions to Ideagen PLC for £15m.
- Advising leading HR software company People HR on a sale to tech unicorn the Access Group.
- Advising VC fund Notion Capital on the sale of portfolio company Idio, a content personalisation and analytics platform to Episever.
TLT's corporate team in Bristol is led by Andrew Webber, who took over from managing partner John Wood in April 2020, and has vast experience in M&A transactions. The commercial group is led by Perran Jervis, who is additionally an expert in retail and consumer goods. Jon Gill is noted for private equity and venture capital investment work, with expertise in the digital and financial services space. In addition to M&A, reorganisations and joint-venture expertise, Alice Gardner has experience in management buy-outs (MBOs).
‘Industry leading reputation in the renewable energy space – working on a large proportion of the deals in our market place. This links well with other areas of the firm (banking, property, commercial) which can draw on similar energy experience.’
‘Kay Hobbs – Kay is excellent and we enjoy working with her. She is experienced, commercial and pragmatic. She is also committed and will work hand in hand with us to close a deal.’
Longacre Group (previously Sea Equity)
The Shareholders of Lorient Group
J Sainsbury plc
C & J Clark International (Clarks Shoes)
- Advised Herman Miller on its acquisition of the remaining shares of contemporary British furniture designer Naughtone for approximately $46.1m – solidifying its ownership of Naughtone directly aligns with Herman Miller’s strategic priority to accelerate profitable growth.
- Advised the shareholders of Acquis Insurance Management on a management buyout backed by Dunedin private equity including leverage finance from HSBC.
- Advised shareholders of high performance door sealing system leader, Lorient Group, on its sale to global intelligent lock and security solutions provider, ASSA ABLOY.
The team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is regularly instructed on high-value regional and national corporate transactions and private equity deals, specialising in matters concerning the energy, insurance and real estate sectors. Simon Hewes heads the department, focusing on M&A and private equity transactions, but with additional expertise in deals in west Africa and the Middle East. Tom Fitzpatrick is another practitioner with private equity, insurance and financial services knowledge.
‘Very knowledgeable and commercially sharp.’
‘Very responsive, can discuss issues and get proactive ideas.’
Vitol Group (Vitol SA)
Cuadrilla Resources Holdings
Third Energy Holdings
Noble Energy Inc
Piper PE LLP
Rockpool Investments LLP
Puma Private Equity
Willis Towers Watson plc (including Innovisk Capital Partners)
Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative
- Advised NCR Corporation, a global enterprise technology company for the retail, hospitality and banking industries, on the acquisition of Bath based Zynstra Limited for approximately £100m.
- Advised new client Dunedin LLP, the UK mid-market private equity house, on its management buyout of Acquis Insurance Management, an independent insurance broker and administrator providing specialist solutions to the finance and leasing industry.
- Advised Third Energy Holdings Limited, a specialist in the production and exploration of gas reserves, on the divestment of the entire issued share capital of Third Energy Offshore Ltd to Anglo-Dutch oil company Hague and London Oil plc (HALO).
At Clarke Willmott LLP, lawyers have experience advising clients on serial acquisitions. The group is also well-geared towards assisting large owner-managed businesses with selling to trade buyers and private equity-backed management teams, as well as in relation to cross-border transactions. Simon Thomas leads the corporate team, which includes cross-border acquisitions expert Simon Smith and private equity specialist Robert Ridd.
‘Partners and associates very responsive and patient. Matters dealt with in a calm and competent manner. They seek solutions for problems.’
‘Everyone we interacted with was informed, competent and responsive.’
‘They work collaboratively, have the depth and breadth of expertise required and deliver to my clients what I’ve told them to expect.‘
‘Simon Thomas and his commercial team are excellent at appreciating different stakeholders’ positions and communicating with them clearly on complex matters. This is an under-rated skill much appreciated by clients.’
Addnode Group AB
Jacksons Stops & Staff
Sustainable Drainage Systems
Symetri (Addnode Subsidiary)
Talent International UK
Prysm Media Group
Turtle Bay Restaurants
- Advised longstanding client Addnode Group AB (a Nasdaq Stockholm listed IT Company) on its £22m acquisition of Excitech .
- Advised sellers on the private equity backed purchase of a portfolio of events in the environmental, marketing and technology sectors (including the RWM, Naidex and B2B Marketing Expo brands) by Roar Techmedia .
- Advised sellers on the private equity backed purchase of IMD Group, a management consultant to the defence industry, and management on their continued role in the business post-completion.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
Healthcare-sector corporate transactions are a key area of expertise for the team at DAC Beachcroft LLP, which has a solid track-record in M&A in the industry. The team, which advises UK and international clients on their in- and out-bound investments, is jointly led by corporate finance, capital markets and private equity specialist John Williams and James Reed, who focuses on M&A and joint ventures, drawing on cross-border transactional experience. Michael Pearce is another name to note for corporate transactions.
‘The team is managed by experienced partners who are adept at choosing the right level of associate to support the transaction.’
‘Mike Pearce was excellent leading on our corporate sale transaction, he was diligent, communicative, very commercial and understood how to get the deal done, as opposed to score legal precedent points.‘
Ceres Power Holdings plc
Focus Financial Partners
Steinhoff UK Manufacturing
Elysium Healthcare Holdings 3
Agile Property and Homes
Gallagher Benefit Services Management Company
Gallagher Bassett International
- Assisted Ceres Power Holdings plc with fundraising, via a reverse bookbuild, and potential tender offer from a global German headquartered shareholder for a combined £80m deal.
- Advised Focus Financial Partners on the acquisition of the assets of London-based Skeet Kaye Hopkins via a subsidiary company of Financial Partners LLC and in connection with Focus’ partner firm Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, LLC, a Los Angeles-based multifamily office and business management firm.
- Advised shareholder, Relyon Group , together with other Steinhoff group companies, in relation to the sale of Pritex , a Somerset-based manufacturer of acoustic and thermo-acoustic insulation products, to Saint-Gobain High Performance Solutions UK .
Roxburgh Milkins Limited
Roxburgh Milkins Limited has expertise in the sale and purchase of SMEs, private equity transactions, MBOs and fund-raisings. The group has particular experience in mid-market deals involving private company M&A and investments. The department is led by Bruce Roxburgh and includes fellow founding partner Jason Milkins. Charles Van Der Lande is a noted practitioner for technology sector transactions, which are a specialism for the wider firm.
‘All the partners and other team members are very personable and are happy to go the extra mile. They are also willing to suggest alternative solutions when other firms might just go along with client instructions.‘
‘We have long-standing relationships with a number of the partners, particularly Jason Milkins and Charles van der Lande. I have always valued their pragmatic approach to finding the right solution, often when dealing with challenging individuals on both sides of a deal!‘
‘Bruce Roxburgh – measured, informative, able to communicate complex matters to us laymen, utterly committed to our success.‘
The Multiplayer Guys
Grain Connect (Pinnacle)
Sweetnam & Bradley
Carbis Bay Holidays
Innecto People Consulting
GL Education Group
- Advised gaming specialists The Multiplayer Guys on their sale of the entire share capital to Improbable World (after just 18 months of trading), with investment from SoftBank.
- Advised long-standing tech innovator client, Bristol-based Blu Wireless, on their investment of £12.7m to help fund the rollout of its 5G telecoms technology.
- Advised Grain Connect (part of long-standing client Pinnacle Group) on their £10m investment in equity finance to fund the bolt-on acquisition of the fibre business of Solway Communications and the further development of Grain’s UK full fibre broadband network.
At VWV, Robert Collier leads the corporate group, which has made a name for itself for education sector work, where it advises owner-managed, entrepreneur-led and family-run businesses on a variety of transactions. In the corporate team, Nathan Guest takes the lead on matters arising in the technology sector. Doug Locke leads on commercial contracts, while Jos Moule has built a notable contentious partnership practice.
‘We worked with Ed Rimmell and Daliah Houghton. We found them both to be extremely approachable, with excellent listening skills, an in-depth knowledge of our sector and very accommodating.’
‘In depth sector knowledge of education. Flexible and responsive team that find solutions not problems.’
‘Rob Collier is well networked, unassuming yet sharp, and efficient in all that he does.’
‘Renowned as one of Bristol’s best tech lawyers. They are incredibly knowledgeable. All team members are transparent over what they know or don’t know and will always offer to pass you onto a resource who can assist better on a subject matter.’
Broadway Family (Broadway Education)
Next Green Car Limited t/a Zap Map
University of Bristol
Hills Waste Solutions
SWRnewstar (and certain of its shareholders)
Smartbox Assistive Technology
- Advised on the sale of Broadway Education to Bright Scholar. This was a sale of a significant school business. The buyer was Bright Scholar.
- Advised on the sale of Quay Marinas. This involved the sale of the Quay Marinas business to Dean & Reddyhoff.
- Advised on the sale of SWRnewstar Limited to Biffa PLC.
Foot Anstey's team handles high-value M&A, private equity deals and investments for a range of UK and international corporates, entrepreneurs and owner-managed businesses. The Bristol team is led by Mark Millar, who has additional experience in IPOs, group restructurings, financing and corporate governance issues. Managing associate Alexandra Hammond leads the general counsel workstream, handling day-to-day commercial matters. In 2019, Emily Settle moved to Freeths LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Foot Anstey is a good fit for our business. The firm recognises the need to maintain its client relationships and is transparent on fees/time incurred. They offer good solid advice (even on short notice) and have a number of very talented individuals working for them.’
‘Martin Cuell (partner) – Martin has significant experience, and has broad capability, in dealing with Suppliers providing these types of licences/services. He has a very commercial approach, and clearly outlines the various legal options available to resolve issues. He is a great communicator and responds quickly and succinctly to queries raised.’
‘Henry Beattie (Solicitor) – Henry is a gem in the making. I was extremely impressed with the way he conducted himself throughout negotiations, how he was able to manage the topic and speed of discussions during conference calls, as well as being exceptionally capable in articulating the legal and commercial issues in order to achieve the best possible outcome for our business. I was stunned when I realised how junior he was – he is definitely a talent to look out for in the future.’
‘Annalisa Checchi (Managing Associate) – Annalisa is focused on addressing the businesses requirements, offers sound advice and responds quickly to enquiries.’
Silvergate Media Group
Barbon Insurance Group
Supporting Education Group
Reed & Mackay Travel
Plymouth Argyle Football Club
- Advised shareholders of the international children’s media business, the Silvergate Media Group, on its sale to Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony acquired 100% of the ‘Silvergate Topco Group’ , whose assets include Silvergate’s 49% interest in a joint venture with Beijing-based Wanda Group, which holds the rights to Octonauts. Additionally, SPE has acquired a minority stake in Silvergate BP Bidco , which produces the Peter Rabbit television series.
- Advising Eden Project on all legal aspects of the set up and operation of Eden Geothermal , a joint venture entity set up to implement a deep geothermal project at the Eden Project site in Cornwall.
- Advising Future plc and Future Holdings 2002 on their strategic acquisition of the Barcroft Studios group, an independent studio backed by Channel Four Investments, that creates original content for publication on a variety of owned and operated social sites in additional to being distributed across mass media channels.
Gregg Latchams LLP regularly handles corporate work including M&A, share sales, restructurings, investments, MBOs and joint ventures. On the commercial front, the team has experience in contracts, technology and IP agreements and data protection compliance. Director Paul Hardman leads the team, which was joined by associate director Bridget Juckes from Wards Solicitors LLP in 2020, who brings with her experience in the care home, hotel and retail sectors. In 2019, the team lost Marti Burgess to Bevan Brittan LLP and Ed Boal to Stephenson Law.
Other key lawyers:
‘The lead partner coordinated the work effectively and was available when needed. On HR-related matters, he was particularly strong.‘
Grosvenor Consultancy Asset Management
Lansdown Place Wealth Management
- Advised and developed a strategy for the board and shareholders of Kelston Precision Gears Limited resulting in the demerger of the actuation business of the company and placing the rest of the business into voluntary liquidation. Value of the assets transferred and/or realised about £4.5m
- Completion of a final investment (bringing aggregate of investment to £4.2m) for Francis Hornak. The investment involved complex priority and security arrangements and new articles.
- Advising the shareholders of Grosvenor Consultancy Asset Management on an £8.87m share sale to Brompton Asset Management
The offering at Thrings LLP is led from Swindon by John Davies, who also coordinates the team in Bristol. The team specialises in lower- to mid-market M&A, exit planning, equity investments and joint ventures, as well as corporate restructurings and reorganisations and corporate governance issues. Elaine Meyrick is a key name in the group, and focuses on corporate transactions. Brett Lambe left the firm for Stephenson Law in 2019.