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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.

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