Firms To Watch: Corporate and commercial: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall

Plymouth-based White Jackman is making a name for itself in mid-market M&A and management buy-outs. The firm was founded in 2019 by Tim Jackman, who is well-regarded for his experience in corporate transactions.
Spencer West LLP established its presence in the South West in 2021 with a string of new partner hires. Practice head Sonya Bassett joined the team in January from Coodes Solicitors and handles share and asset transactions as well as joint ventures. The firm took over Probert Legal  in August, with Jo Probert bringing expertise in the energy sector to the team. The practice was further bolstered in November when Sonya Bedford joined from Stephens Scown LLP, alongside Christian Wilson, a well-regarded expert in employee ownership trusts.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP bolstered its corporate offering in January 2021 with the addition of Stuart Mathews from Kitsons LLP. Mathews now co-heads the team alongside Lynne Rathbone; the pair advise on corporate transactions including M&A, management buyouts and investments.

Corporate and commercial: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in South West

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP advises on the full gamut of corporate and commercial transactions from its office in Exeter, with the team’s partners offering a range of specialisms. Andrew Betteridge leads on corporate matters, and alongside Andy Young often acts on investments and M&A deals in sectors including technology, utilities and energy. In addition to the scale of the transactions it is involved in, the practice also stands out for its work for public companies. Brian Farrell and Plymouth-based Tom Phipps are key names to note on commercial matters, with expertise spanning joint ventures, distribution agreements and the commercialisation of IP. Louise Workman serves as CEO of the firm and is also highly experienced in the corporate space.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Betteridge; Brian Farrell

Other key lawyers:

Andy Young; Tom Phipps; Louise Workman; Mark Lomas


‘We engaged Ashfords to support with an investment transaction in 2021. Their in depth experience with similar transactions and personal attention given by the CEO set them apart from other firms we were considering at the time. A number of specialist solicitors were brought onto the project as needed, and we were able to heavily lean on these resources throughout.’

‘Andy Young demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and capabilities. The CEO, Louise Workman, maintained regular oversight of the project and was directly available throughout.’

‘They provide very straightforward advice in a number of business areas and always have someone to hand who can advice from general commercial matters to specialist areas. They are also very responsive, pragmatic and down to earth.’

‘Tom Phipps not only has excellent knowledge and experience but he is also very pragmatic and personable. I feel comfortable referring non legal members of the company directly to him as he is very responsive, approachable and can explain complicated matters very simply.’

Key clients

Pennon Group plc

Ahren Innovation Capital

Schlumberger plc

FTI Management Limited

Management of Behavioural Insights Ltd

Reevoo Limited

Malcolm Hollis LLP

Altus Holdings Limited

Viridor Limited

Samworth Brothers Limited

Fontaine Limited

Framptons Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Pennon Group, on the acquisition of Bristol Water for an enterprise value of £814m, adding a business with approximately 1.2 million customers.
  • Acting on the acquisition by Schlumberger plc, the world’s largest supplier of products and services to the oil and gas industry, of Zilift Holdings Limited, a Scottish manufacturer of magnet materials for use in the oil & gas sector for approximately US$28,000,000.
  • Advising Fontaine Ltd, the owner of the luxury fragrance brand “Creed” on the acquisition of its main distributor and selective distribution rights for its fragrances (online and offline) in the UK and on establishing its subsidiary business and premises in China.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey continues to be highly active in the private equity space, where it is particularly noted for its work on bolt-on transactions for portfolio companies. Practice head Matthew Stoate handles a steady stream of transactions in this space alongside managing associate Adam McKenna; the pair have developed strong working relationships with a number of mid-market PE houses. The team also offers clients ‘commercially minded’ expertise in M&A, management buyouts, and investment rounds, with Duncan Sykes and Ken Lewins are the key names to note on this work.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Stoate

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Sykes; Ken Lewins; Adam McKenna; Chris Worrell; Fergus Baker; Dominic Cromwell


‘Commercially minded and great M&A deal lawyers.’

‘Dom Cromwell is an excellent associate, great to work with, excellent on the detail yet able to remain commercial and pragmatic’

‘Ken Lewins takes the time and effort to get to know and understand your business and coupled with their sector expertise makes it easy to work with them. Ken also has unparalleled expertise on complex corporate reorganisation structuring.’

‘Ken Lewins is easy to work with, understands your needs and provides quality and focused advice.’

‘Matt Stoate is commercial, fights for his clients and looks after them. He makes the client know he’s on their side and not just doing his work. Great to work with him.’

‘We are a City of London firm and use Foot Anstey for most of our corporate needs. We have a long standing relationship with one of the senior partners who over the years has introduced us to colleagues in other specialist areas , all of whom have provided us what we needed and we have retained them as our go to lawyers.’

Key clients

August Equity (and its portfolio companies)

Access UK Limited (backed by TA Associates and HgCapital)

Growth Catalyst Partners LLC

Livingbridge (and its portfolio companies)

Phoenix Equity (and its portfolio companies)

Shervey Ltd

Shareholders of Silverfish

FRP Advisory Group

Blacksand Real Estate Company W.L.L.

Stripe & Stare Ltd

Hawksmoor Group Ltd

Flynn Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Simply Conveyancing, a portfolio company of Livingbridge, in connection with its purchase of residential conveyancing firm Pirie Palmann.
  • Advised Access UK Limited (backed by TA Associates and HgCapital) on various deals including the acquisition of Northstar Innovation Group Limited, My School Portal Limited, Oosha Limited, Legal Bricks Searches Limited (and associated companies) and the purchase of assets from Enhanced Computer Solutions Limited.
  • Advising the shareholders on the sale of Flynn Group Limited to M&J Evans.

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP stands out in the Exeter market for the breadth of its corporate practice, with expertise in handling M&A, investments and capital market transactions. Technology, professional services and mining are all sectors of focus for the team, which is also increasingly active in the renewable energy space. Henry Taylor and Richard Cobb co-head the Exeter-based team, and alongside Stephen Morse count private equity and venture capital funds amongst their clients. Alexandra Watson is the key name to note in the energy sector, where she acts for investors and developers, and senior associate Francesca Hubbard continues to act on a steady stream of mid-market M&A transactions. Harry Trick was promoted to partner in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Richard Cobb; Henry Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Morse; Alexandra Watson; Francesca Hubbard; Samantha Billingham; Harry Trick; Ian Holyoak


‘Responsive, down to earth, pragmatic and commercial. A great team to work with.’

‘Alex Watson is a fantastic lawyer. I really value my relationship with her, she is down to earth, delivers pragmatic advice and deals with fees in a transparent and helpful way to fir with deal lifecycle.’

‘A really capable team across the board – from Partner to admin. They have a totally joined up way of working and can convey the key points clearly and concisely. They worked extremely well with our CF advisors and were professional yet challenging with the opposite party’s team of advisors. Despite the lockdown requirements, the team were always available and communicated very effectively whilst working remotely.’

‘Henry Taylor and Francesca Hubbard are an excellent team to have behind you in a transaction. Both calm and pragmatic, keeping everything focused. At higher intensity moments their support was invaluable. They explain the position and the options clearly, and maintain a focus on the desired end position. Dealing with professionals who are highly skilled in their field, but are also just genuine and likeable people.’

Key clients

Triple Point VCT 2011 Plc

Urbaser Limited

Gresham House/The Environment Bank Limited

Vian Marketing Limited (Tushingham Sails)

Harmonic Limited (and shareholders)

XDES Professionals BV

DSM BV and NOVO Holdings

DEXDA Limited shareholders

Exeter Rugby Club (Exeter Chiefs)

Mobeus (VCT Sale)

Succession Wealth

TechMet Limited

Pay4Later Limited (Deko)

Work highlights


    At Laceys, the ‘proactive and commercial’ team is instructed on corporate transactions including share sales and buybacks, M&A deals and restructurings for a host of local and national clients. The team is particularly active in advising shareholders and owners-managers on exits from businesses, including handling sales to private equity and public companies; the practice also regularly acts on the buy-side of transactions. Sam Freeman and Natasha Jones jointly lead the Bournemouth-based team, which has a client base spanning sectors including insurance, hospitality, real estate and professional services. Jones is particularly noted for her focus on financial services. The team also stands out for the strength of its associates, with Ella Gould and Victoria Boynes-Butler particularly praised by clients.

    Practice head(s):

    Sam Freeman; Natasha Jones

    Other key lawyers:

    Ella Gould; Victoria Boynes-Butler


    ‘Our firm conducts a significant amount of work with Laceys Solicitors and find them to be proactive and commercial in their advice to our commercial and private clients. They are always on hand to provide advice as they appreciate on some occasions that the advice is time sensitive and critical to decision making.’

    ‘The team are very joined up and clearly share the same values in particular in delivering client service. A USP is how they can see through the eyes of the client and understand what they need and how it needs to be delivered. This is a rare skill in the profession. A true corporate specialist team which can provide support on the full range of corporate advice which is rare locally in Dorset.’

    ‘We were recommended to Lacey’s because of their expertise in the care home market and this has proved to be right. They are very knowledgeable and experienced in this field and we have been reassured by this. They seem to have up to the minute technology which has saved us a lot of time and effort. All in all, we really couldn’t have wished for a better service.’

    ‘The team at Laceys are brilliant. They helped me to dynamically asses my legal options as the case evolved, and allowed me to ultimately achieve my desired outcomes, saving me a huge amount of time and money in the process due to their diligence and ongoing advice.’

    ‘Natasha Jones provided everything we needed. She always makes herself available – whether that\’s ad hoc telephone conversation or a quick response on email. I always feel like she has time for me – and that she\’s truly interested in understanding the problem to allow her to give the best advice.’

    ‘Natasha Jones and Sam Freeman are both extremely friendly, energetic and approachable partners who I am always confident to introduce new clients to. Although I appreciate that law is complex, they are both able to explain things very clearly and simply to clients, and are both able to come up with innovate and commercial solutions to problems without creating undue complexity. ‘

    ‘Sam Freeman and Ella Gould demonstrate their experience in commercial transactions by providing innovative and practical solutions. They typify the high standards of professionalism and expertise expected from modern solicitors.’

    ‘I worked with Victora throughout my engagement with Laceys and she was truly brilliant! A very kind, understanding and fantastically knowledgeable individual, who pulled out all the stops to help me achieve my desired outcome. I wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for her brilliant work, so I am incredibly grateful for her professionalism and support.’

    Key clients

    Home Grown Hotels Limited

    Limewood Group Limited

    Wessex Group Limited

    Virginia Hayward Limited

    Consilium Insurance Brokers Limited

    Williams Jet Tenders Limited

    Solace Global Limited

    Aventum Group Limited

    MeeLee Food Co Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised an insurance company in respect of their multi-jurisdictional restructure of its £400 million group.
    • Advised a financial services company in respect of multiple acquisitions.
    • Advised shareholders of a company in their sale.

    Lester Aldridge LLP

    At Lester Aldridge LLP, the Bournemouth-based team handles a steady stream of deals involving SMEs across sectors including IT, hospitality and manufacturing. In addition to its corporate offering, which includes expertise in M&A, demergers and restructurings, the practice also advises on joint ventures and commercial transactions. Practice head Grant Esterhuizen has substantial transactional experience, with Dean Drew and Edward Adamson also key partners in this area; Adamson particularly stands out for his work in the hospitality space, while Drew takes the lead on much of the practice’s commercial work. Danielle Slater was promoted to associate in May 2021 and has taken a lead role on a number of high-value share sales. Senior associate Alexandra Clapp departed in June 2021 to join Steele Raymond LLP.

    Practice head(s):

    Grant Esterhuizen

    Other key lawyers:

    Dean Drew; Edward Adamson; Susan Cowan; Danielle Slater; Ruth Chornolutskyy


    ‘Very easy to work with, excellent subject matter expertise relevant to my transaction, very responsive to my needs.’

    ‘Grant Esterhuizen – good communicator, quite accessible, very relevant experience for my issue. Susan Cowan – thorough, detailed, high quality support.’

    ‘I can not emphasize enough how excellent, incredibly efficient and professional the firm has been. Their extensive legal knowledge and service excels on both commercial and personal matters.’

    ‘Grant Esterhuizen is without any doubt on all matters an exemplary lawyer with incredible, impressive expertise.’

    ‘Lester Aldridge are our ‘go to’ solicitors for all our commercial requirements. They have an excellent team with a real depth of knowledge and experience; and excellent attention to detail. You feel you are in safe hands and know that you are going to get a thorough job.’

    ‘Grant Esterhuizen’s knowledge and experience are excellent, I’d say the best in the area. We wouldn’t undertake any significant transaction without having him on board. Danielle Slater also stands out as a pleasure to work with. Nothing appears to phase her and you know everything will be done accurately and on time.’

    ‘Lester Aldridge LLP have advised our business for a number of years on various non-contentious matters. We find their approach to be clearly focused and their advice to be thorough and easy to understand. They guide us through more complex issues patiently and make sure that we understand their advice.’

    ‘The key individual that I have spent the most time working with is Susan Cowan,. Her approach is typical of the various members of staff that I’ve worked with at Lester Aldridge LLP. She quickly grasped a number of rather unique factors influencing the transfer of our business and successfully reflected this in her advice and drafting of documents.’

    ‘Very personable and keen to understand how our business works and what our objectives are so they can best guide the legal response.’

    ‘Ruth Chornolutskyy has felt like an extension of my team in recent months when we’ve had many projects to tackle. Dean Drew has also been easy to talk to and puts legal jargon in plain English for easier understanding.’

    Key clients

    Supernova Events and Esports Limited

    LA Technologies Limited

    Think Research Limited

    Futwiz Ltd, the leading esports platform and part of the Wiz Media Group

    ESET Software UK Limited

    Mar-Key Marquees Limited

    Osprey Europe Limited

    Wealth Migrate Limited

    Langham Industries Limited

    Supernova Events and Esports Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised the outgoing shareholders/owners of Park School Bournemouth on the sale of the entire issued share capital to a corporate buyer.
    • Advised Enhanced Computer Solutions Limited on the sale of part of its business and assets to Access UK Ltd.
    • Advised Limited on its debt finance and restructuring including employee incentive scheme.

    Steele Raymond LLP

    Bournemouth-based Steele Raymond LLP is recognised for its expertise across both corporate and commerical matters. On the corporate side, practice head Tim Stone, Nick Davies and Craig Hardman handle a steady stream of mid-market M&A for SMEs and owner-managed businesses, including advising on cross-border transactions. Paula Eckton leads on commercial matters and has a varied practice covering the negotiation of distribution, services and licensing agreements, employment issues and regulatory matters. The two sides of the practice frequently collaborate to provide both corporate and commercial advice to long-term clients. Amongst the associates, Shaun Guppy is strongly praised by clients. The commercial offering was bolstered in June 2021 by the addition of Alexandra Clapp from Lester Aldridge LLP. Clapp has experience in the drafting of a range of commercial agreements, including financings and refinancings. Paul Longland  retired in October 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Tim Stone

    Other key lawyers:

    Craig Hardman; Nick Davies; Paula Eckton; Alexandra Clapp; Shaun Guppy


    ‘It is a pleasure to be asked to compare Steele Raymond’s commercial team to other legal practices I have worked with, because they are so exceptionally different and better in numerous ways; including their proactivity to communicate, ability to explain a complex concept or situation in lay terms, value for money and experience.’

    ‘The commercial team at Steele Raymond are characterised by their professionalism. Over the past few years, they have always dealt with enquiries and projects incredibly efficiently and mindful of cost considerations for small independent businesses.’

    ‘Shaun Guppy is still the best young lawyer in the South of England.’

    ‘There are three particular aspects that make this practice unique; quality of service, consistency and reliability. Steele Raymond’s strength, in my expereince, is its ability to form and build relationships with our business across several areas of law.’

    ‘Having worked with Tim Stone over a number of acquisitions and other corporate matters over many years, I would never move to another company. Tim will always give us excellent and timely advice.’

    ‘Paula Eckton has the ability to keep things simple and to make sense of commercial law for her clients – an invaluable skill.’

    ‘Tim Stone has provided us with sound and practical commercial advice over many years. We have always found him attentive; listening to the problem and considering all aspects before offering advice and guidance.’

    ‘My main dealings are with Shaun Guppy and Tim Stone who are in my view excellent.’

    Key clients

    Harvest Fine Foods


    Arden Group

    Estate of Robert Braithwaite (founder of Sunseeker International Yachts)


    The Drewitt Group of Companies

    The Clark Group

    The Hill Brush Company Limited

    Goadsby Estate Agency Group

    Fusion Wifi

    Riskstop Group Limited

    Rebuild Cost Assessment Limited

    Protect Line Limited

    Forte Organics Ltd

    Muc Off

    Work highlights

    • Advising Muc-Off Limited n connection with various UK and international commercial contract matters.
    • Advising RiskSTOP Group Limited and its group entities in connection with their corporate and commercial trading arrangements.
    • Advising Forte Organics Ltd in respect of its commercial contracts and corporate matters.

    Stephens Scown LLP

    Stephens Scown LLP is engaged by clients on a range of transactions, including share sales, management buyouts, investments and joint ventures, and is particularly active in advising SMEs and family-owned businesses. Lawyers handle deals in a range of sectors, with strengths in healthcare, manufacturing and consumer goods. Giles Dunning and Laurie Trounce jointly lead the practice; Dunning has broad expertise in M&A while Trounce is particularly active on deals involving the public sector. Simon Morris also has a varied practice, including recently handling cross-jurisdictional M&A as well as refinancings and joint ventures. Gavin Poole is another name to note, with significant experience acting for owner-managed businesses in Cornwall. Senior associate Tim Lane is also well-regarded for his work across corporate and commercial matters. Christian Wilson departed in October 2021 while Catherine Carlton was promoted to partner in June 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Giles Dunning; Laurie Trounce

    Other key lawyers:

    Catherine Carlton; Simon Morris; David Gebbie; Tim Lane; Helen Wallwork


    ‘I found this practice to be always available to answer and assist with any question raised. They always responded within a given time schedule and all members of their team were inter cooperative and had instant access nd knowledge of our case. Mainly I found them a pleasure to work with, nothing was too much trouble, whatever the time of day.’

    ‘David Gebbie was always available to assist in the challenges we encountered. His knowledge and history within the hospitality industry made his knowledge invaluable. I found the diversity of the partners rewarding, whatever our problem or challenge there was always someone within the practice who had the expertise needed.’

    ‘Tim Lane develops an understanding of client needs.’

    ‘Simon Morris clearly demonstrates significant knowledge and ability in his field.’

    ‘Stephens Scown have a team of specialists which can be used as a group where the matter is complex, and individually where a single specialism is called for. Receiving upfront costing estimates per transaction or group of transactions was very welcome.’

    ‘We worked with Giles Dunning on the sale of our company. We were delighted that the timeframes forecasted were met. We later learnt that this involved a well managed team of experts covering every aspect of the transaction, working beyond normal office hours and weekends. The friendly manner of the team(s) handling the clinical analysis of the complex transactions, made matters clear and digestible to us as shareholders.’

    ‘Comprehensive services.’

    ‘They develop an understanding of client needs. We recommend Tim Lane.’

    Key clients

    Shareholders of Taylor Lewis Limited

    Shareholders of UK Healthcare Group Limited

    Shareholders of Highbullen Hotel Limited Limited

    Truro and Penwith College


    Phoenix Learning & Care


    CJ Medical

    Cornish Metals Inc.

    Clientbase Fulfilment Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised the shareholders of Taylor Lewis Limited on the management buyout of their business. The company is a quantity surveyors firm and we previously acted on the departing shareholders management buy-in in 2009
    • Acted for the shareholders of UK Healthcare Group Limited in the sale of 100% of the entire share capital. The group included numerous subsidiaries which needed reorganisation prior to the sale.
    • Assisted in the third round of funding for Limited, resulting in us helping them to raise new equity finance totalling £1.5 million.

    Porter Dodson LLP

    Porter Dodson LLP is instructed by SMEs and owner-managed businesses on acquisitions, exits, management buyouts and restructurings. The practice, led from Taunton by Evelyn Adfield, also receives instructions from private equity funds. Adfield has expertise across both corporate and commercial transactions; David Culshaw is another name to note, with varied transactional experience, and recent deals spanning sectors including technology, agriculture and life sciences. Culshaw and Adfield both receive praise from clients for their ‘pragmatic and cost-effective advice’.

    Practice head(s):

    Evelyn Adfield

    Other key lawyers:

    David Culshaw; Sarah Young


    ‘A helpful team demonstrating knowledge across a broad range of subject ares.’

    ‘Evelyn Adfield is a calm and very knowledgeable individual working in a very capable team. Evelyn assisted us in a complex business disposal and it was very comforting to be guided through this process by someone as experienced as her. Demonstrating a friendly but business like manner we owe Evelyn a great deal for her advice and her attitude.’

    ‘Combination of quality advice and value for money I haven’t come across in any other firm.’

    ‘Evelyn Adfield and David Culshaw are both excellent corporate advisers knowing when to give pragmatic and cost effective advice.’

    ‘Technically very knowledgable, always keeping commercial environment in mind.’

    ‘Excellent communication, loyalty and make all contact an excellent experience.’

    Key clients

    Shareholders of Prognostix-Poultry Limited

    Members of Daniells Harrison Surveyors LLP

    Iam Compliant Limited

    Ashridge Capital

    Mark Gamble

    Toolstation Limited

    Powerfuel Group

    Tentamus UK Limited

    JMC-Group Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised the shareholders of Prognostix-Poultry Limited on the sale of their shares to an overseas acquirer within the Merck group.
    • Advised the members of Daniells Harrison Surveyors LLP on their sale to Eddisons Limited, part of the Begbies Traynor Group.
    • Advised Ashridge Capital in connection with the management buy-out of Fargro Limited, the leading supplier of horticultural supplies in the South and South East.

    Tozers Solicitors LLP

    Tozers Solicitors LLP continues to be engaged by owner-managed businesses to handle transactions, and is especially active in advising clients on exits from their businesses. The team assists on deals involving a range of sectors, with holiday parks a particular area of focus. James Orpin leads the team and is supported by Amy Laver.

    Practice head(s):

    James Orpin

    Other key lawyers:

    Amy Lever; Rebecca Roberts; Oliver Kent


    ‘The team completing the work for us was very responsive and worked outside normal hours to get the transaction done.’

    ‘James Orpin supported by Oliver Kent were the main lawyers on our team. They were very helpful and responsive.’


    Key clients

    Kensa Group Limited

    The British Holiday & Home Parks Association

    Work highlights

      Trethowans LLP

      Trethowans LLP‘s Bournemouth-based corporate offering is well-integrated with its Southampton team, with the two offices often working closely on corporate transactions. Nick Gent leads the overall corporate practice from Southampton, while Mark Nixon is the key partner to note in the Bournemouth office, bringing to bear experience in acting for regional and international clients. In 2021, Nixon's work included handling share sales, refinancings, investments and management buyouts, and he is valued by clients for his ‘extremely commercial approach’ to transactions.

      Practice head(s):

      Nick Gent

      Other key lawyers:

      Mark Nixon


      ‘Mark Nixon is an excellent communicator and has an extremely commercial approach.’

      ‘We have been with Trethowans for many years utilising skills and knowledge from many departments whether it be property conveyancing, Corporate legal and personnel/employee advice. With a consistent Partnership/Senior Management team who look after our business the team have developed a very good knowledge and understanding of our business which means that when we present a challenge to Trethowans the team are able to pick up the issues quickly.’

      ‘Mark Nixon understands our business and as a result is able to add significant value as part of any legal process he is involved in. Mark is very approachable and communications whether it be via email or verbal are clear and concise.

      Key clients

      The Property Franchise Group plc


      Belport Investments LLP


      The MCG Group Holdings Limited

      The Innovation Group plc

      Stark Software International Limited

      HSP Valves Group Limited

      Elliott Builders Merchants Limited

      Just Develop It Limited

      Ross Holdings (IW) Limited

      Mark Allen Group

      Stannah Stairlifts

      Saint-Gobain (Jewson)

      Carnival plc

      Aquaswitch Limited

      For the Creators

      Work highlights

      • Acting for The MCG group on securing a £20m debt and equity funding package from Tosca Debt Capital LLP to support its buy and build programme. This was the first integrated finance transaction for Tosca.
      • Advising the shareholders of Orbis Technologies Limited and Orbis Hosting Limited on the sale to PDI Software, a US Acquirer. The target group involved companies across four jurisdictions, including Malaysia and New Zealand.
      • Advising Britvic plc on two agreements with Esterpet and Esterform, which relate to the supply of recycled plastic and the production of bottles used for Britivic’s drinks.

      Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

      At Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP, the corporate team has a notable specialism in transactions involving care homes and is also active in the financial services, energy and real estate sectors. Practice head Neil Cook previously worked in the care sector and also has experience working in-house in the City and in New York; his workload includes M&A, financings and reorganisations of share capital. Wayne Spolander joined the firm as a partner from Frettens LLP in January 2021.

      Practice head(s):

      Neil Cook

      Other key lawyers:

      Wayne Spolander; Hugh Craig; Gerta Xoxi


      ‘Everyone we have worked with at Ellis Jones has been super responsive, constructive and invaluable help with our business.’

      ‘Neil Cook seems to work every hour available. He is thoughtful, incisive and practical.’

      ‘Ellis Jones is very responsive to queries and the quality of advice and work is always high quality.’

      ‘We have built very good relationships. Our prime contact is always available for a chat and will refer to colleagues where ever neccessary.’

      ‘The team is friendly, approachable, informative and clear, and goes above and beyond such as working late to process an exchange/completion. They make their clients feel valued and as if they are getting a one to one service.’

      Key clients

      Luxurycare Group Limited

      Southey Care (Dorset) Limited

      NMAR Property Ltd

      Malcolm Edwin Hicks & Iris Gladys May Hicks & Jason Hicks & Paul Hicks

      M Warwick Holdings Limited

      Canford Renewable Energy

      Ian Phillip Dilks

      Work highlights

      • Acted for Ian Phillip Dilks in the sale of a company providing independent financial advice and related services
      • Acted for NMAR Property Ltd in the acquisition of a care home involving loans and personal guarantees.
      • Advised on the sale by our client of a successful family-owned insurance company which was family owned. The matter required FCA approval.

      Frettens LLP

      Based in Dorset, Frettens LLP acts for shareholders and SMEs in transactions including M&A, management buyouts and reorganisations. The team experienced changes at the top in July 2021, when Karen Edwards was promoted to partner and took over as practice head; former practice head Matthew Fretten remains active in the team and is praised by clients as ‘calm, patient and positive’. Associate Sarah Sillar joined the practice in June 2021 and has since led on a number of corporate and commercial deals.

      Practice head(s):

      Karen Edwards

      Other key lawyers:

      Matthew Fretten; Sarah Sillar


      ‘Frettens always take a personal approach to their work. They don’t seem rushed or focusing on the clock/fees, rather they use a human and helpful approach.’

      ‘The team at Frettens are always easily accessible, polite and extremely knowledgeable. They work extremely hard to walk you through what could be a complicated and stressful situation!’

      ‘Matthew Fretten has been fundamental to my business’s success and we truly couldn’t have done it without him! He has guided us in all things legal from signing contracts to advising us throughout obtaining our first round of PE Investment.’

      ‘The team goes over and above to understand its clients needs and requirements. They build long term relationships to truly understand the clients business to be able to offer the best advice and service. The team are friendly and professional and provide an excellent service giving you 100% confidence in their work.’

      ‘Matthew Fretten is stand out in his role. He is always accessible, friendly, professional and knowledgeable. It’s never too much trouble and he goes over and above to help. No question is too small or trivial and no problem too big or troublesome. You always know you are in safe hands.’

      ‘We have had a very good working relationship with lawyers acting on our behalf. Karen Edwards has been excellent.’

      ‘Matthew Fretten has the ability to take complex legal topics and make them easier to understand, which has been a blessing. Calm, patient and positive are three qualities that I really appreciate in Matthew.’

      ‘The team is very complementary in terms of skills for our M&A work, including employement, property and commercial.’

      Key clients

      Sleek Technology Ltd

      Gray & Timoney

      The Shareholders of Rokill Group

      Branded Marketing Limited

      Pro2col Limited

      Joss Mackenzie

      Onyx Events Limited

      Concentrate Limited

      Gareth Owen

      Work highlights

      • Advised Singapore-based Sleek Technology Ltd on the purchase of the business and assets of a UK based company formation agency, to be purchased through a newly formed UK company.
      • Acting for the shareholders of the Rokill Group in connection with the sale of the group to Nurture Landscapes.
      • Acting for the Sellers in a sale of entire shareholding in Your Room Self Storage Limited. Buyer was part of a group listed in the FTSE 250 Index.

      GA Solicitors

      Plymouth-based GA Solicitors receives instructions from corporate clients on matters ranging from acquisitions and disposals through to restructurings. The practice provides ongoing advice to many of its clients, advising them on a series of transactions, and also provides assistance on commercial contracts. James Peterson leads the team with Tony Cusack taking the lead on much of the practice’s restructuring work.

      Practice head(s):

      James Peterson

      Other key lawyers:

      Tony Cusack

      Key clients

      Taxi Services (Plymouth) Limited

      Castle Air Group

      National Westminister Bank PLC

      GMD Eurotool Limited

      Euro Lifts Limited

      ATN Teaching & Consultancy Services Ltd

      I Marshall & Sons LLP

      Drew & Co Group

      AutoRIM Limited

      Compass House Medical Centres

      Work highlights

      • Taxi Services (Plymouth) Limited: Advising the Need-A-Cab group on its growth and expansion strategies, together with the acquisition of several businesses in the same sector across the South West.
      • National Westminister Bank PLC: Representing and advising National Westminster Bank on several large refinances to protect the bank’s position (predominantly in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors).
      • GMD Eurotool Limited: Advising GMD Eurotool Limited and its stakeholders on investment and growth options, together with the sale of a majority stake in this family owner-managed business to a sector specialist investment group.

      Murrell Associates LLP

      Murrell Associates LLP has a varied corporate and commercial practice which encompasses M&A transactions, investment rounds, group restructurings and sales of companies to employee ownership trusts. The practice is active on deals backed by private equity, acting both for management teams and the PE funds themselves. Henry Maples is the key name to note in the Truro-based team, and counts both Cornish and national companies amongst his clients. Senior associate Nikki Reid is also praised for her ‘sound advice and collaborative approach’.

      Practice head(s):

      Henry Maples

      Other key lawyers:

      Hugh Murrell; Nikki Reid


      ‘I deal with the commercial arm of the business. The firm specialises in a few areas of law and provides a fairly personalised as well as prompt service.’

      ‘Nikki Reid clearly understood client instructions, kept client informed in understandable language (dealing with four parties) and offered openness.’

      ‘Great team with a real wealth of experience across the board. They all take a really personal approach too.’

      ‘Henry Maples is the best solicitor we have worked with over the years. His knowledge is unparalleled, but he is also able to take operational and financial views for this business.’

      ‘Hugh Murrell justifiable enjoys a great reputation and widely respected in the Cornish business community. He provides the right blend of technical knowledge and common sense. He is always shrewd and insightful. Clients are very positive about the level of support they get.’

      ‘I was introduced to Murrell Associates by a friend in the legal profession who recommended them, to represent me in the negotiations and legals for a management buy-out. The company took a practical approach, explaining risks and areas of concern thoroughly, with eyes firmly on the end goal – this was exactly what I needed. The value of the service was exceptional.’

      ‘Henry Maples was an excellent first point of contact. Nikki Reid became a valued part of the team advising me on the buyout and on strategies for negotiation. I am grateful for her sound advice and collaborative approach.’

      ‘The individuals with whom I’ve dealt are highly professional and personable and exhibit a very pro-active and supportive approach’

      Key clients

      Sapphire Holidays Limited

      Hub Box Limited

      Fintech consultancy & development business and its shareholders

      Clean Earth Energy

      Shareholders of Falfish (Greet)

      ISO Spaces South West Limited

      Provenance Investment Partners

      Radix Communications Limited

      Work highlights

      • Advised shareholders of UK fintech business on sale of the UK group to a US private equity fund in a $40m value transaction.
      • Advised the shareholders of Falfish Limited on the sale of the Falfish group to Morrisons plc.
      • Advised Provenance Investment Partners on its part investment, part acquisition of Bert & May a specialist supplier of handmade artisan tiles.


      Wollens continues to expand its presence in the South West corporate market. The team has a strong offering in share sales and acquisitions, with Dominic Hollingsworth leading on this. Commercial specialist Jon Dunkley heads up the team, which also handles transactions involving business assets and provides assistance on commercial contracts. Daniel Gresswell has a focus on acting for owner-managed businesses, and Hayley Green stands out for her knowledge of state aid. Green and Hollingsworth were promoted to the partnership in October 2021, and Emma Reed joined the team from Slee Blackwell in November, adding to the team’s expertise in commercial deals.

      Practice head(s):

      Jon Dunkley

      Other key lawyers:

      Dominic Hollingsworth; Daniel Gresswell; Hayley Green; Emma Reed


      ‘A highly experienced and specialised team in Corporate and Commercial law. The team know our business well, and they respond to our needs quickly and commercially.’

      ‘Good cooperation between team members, good communication.’

      ‘I was looking for a local practice that was big enough to handle the sale of my business but small enough to provide a personal service. Wollens was the perfect fit, balancing scale and therefore expertise with what felt like genuine dedication.’

      ‘Dominic Hollingsworth is very approachable and commercial in his approach to work.’

      ‘Dan Gresswell is always on hand for clear and concise advice and guidance.’

      ‘Dominic Hollingsworth is a conscientious and hardworking solicitor with exceptional communication skills, that coupled with an unrivalled knowledge of the sector is what really sets him apart. Dominic is always available, which is why he has such a high-quality client base in the southwest and further afield.’

      ‘Hayley Green is simply amazing, very knowledgable, very professional, very efficient and good at her job and also gives very personal and friendly approach. Very highly recommended to all my friends and business partners.’

      ‘Daniel Gresswell put my mind at rest instantly and gave me sound advice.’

      Work highlights