Corporate and commercial: Birmingham in West Midlands

DLA Piper

Known for its ‘excellent transactional capabilities’, the Birmingham team at DLA Piper leverages its integrated ‘One UK’ service model and extensive international footprint to support a broad array of local, national and cross-border M&A mandates. Noel Haywood fronts the local corporate department and is a lawyer with distinguished levels of sector expertise, notably service as global co-chair of the firm’s consumer goods, food and retail practice. The other senior partners are Charles Cook, a public and private M&A specialist who leads the national practice from Birmingham, as well as Tim Lake , who provides the group with a wealth of private equity expertise. At the more junior end, recently promoted partner Robert Newman’s strengths lie in equity capital market matters while Simon Wright is singled out as an ‘exceptional senior associate’.

Practice head(s):

Noel Haywood; Charles Cook

Other key lawyers:

Charles Cook; Tim Lake; Robert Newman; Simon Wright

Testimonials

‘A first rate team which is consistently good at delivering high quality service.’

‘Practical and easy to understand advice.’

‘Good technical team that is pragmatic and understands our business. They act local but with large firm behind them.’

‘Personable, hard-working, pragmatic and responsive team with an excellent knowledge of the UK food industry. We really enjoyed working with them and look forward to doing so again.’

‘Noel Haywood provides great knowledge and experience of UK food industry, personable and pragmatic approach, hands-on involvement, felt very much part of our team in delivering a successful outcome. ’

‘Truly exceptional quality senior associates who provides partner-quality client service and expertise at associate prices. The associates are supported by partners with detailed industry expertise and standing.

‘Simon Wright is an exception senior associate, delivering partner-quality client service and expertise. He is very commercially minded, and a problem solver; he has also demonstrated the depth of his understanding during intense negotiations.’

‘Jonathan Clarke is top-notch transactional and commercial lawyer, extremely responsive and smart. A real pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

2 Sisters Food Group

Adenia Partners

Alstom SA

Altrad

Barclays Bank PLC

BorgWarner

Brewdog Plc

Bridgestone

Bromford Industries

Chamberlin PLC

Clinigen Group plc

CVS Group plc

Darwin Group

Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc

Dignity Plc

DS Smith Plc

East End Foods Group

Ecolab, Inc.

Elan Homes

Fetim BV

Foster+Freeman

GKN

H&M Hennes & Mauritz

Hill & Smith

Huber + Suhner

Iberia Industry Capital

John Menzies Plc

Kelda Group

Knights Group plc

Lotus Bakeries

Medica Group plc

Mettis Aerospace

Mondelez

N+1 Singer

Noble Foods Group Limited

Ocean Outdoor

Omnico Group

PERI

Permira

Renesola

Rolls Royce plc

RPS Group plc

Samworth Brothers Limited

Sany Heavy Machinery

Sertec Corporation Limited

SmileDirectClub

Sodexo

Sovereign Capital Partners

Starstone Insurance Services Limited

Starwood Capital

Swissport

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc

Thomas International

Watkin Jones plc

Webjet Limited

Welsh Government

Wipro Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised 2 Sisters Food Group on the £246m sale of Fox’s Biscuits to Ferrero Group.
  • Advised DS Smith plc on the $585m sale of its plastics division to Olympus Partners and its affiliate Liqui-Box.
  • Advised Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc on its accelerated bookbuild placing of 5,132,500 new ordinary shares raising £133.4m.  Dechra was subsequently admitted into the FTSE 250.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP caters to a impressive client roster of bluechip corporates, global businesses and local players on a range of high-magnitude transactions. Practice head Mark Beardmore is a household name in the field of private equity deals, as is Catherine Eley who operates across a variety of deal structures, such as joint ventures, investments, dispositions and acquisitions. Nigel Cooke is also integral to the practice due to his extensive track record in multi-jurisdictional M&A, while Steven Hacking provides the team with distinguished proficiency in equity capital markets. The team is particularly active in the industrial, technology and healthcare sectors and owing to the prominent profile of Theresa-Marie Stodell, is also a go-to for corporate real estate matters.

Practice head(s):

Mark Beardmore

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Eley; Nigel Cooke; Steven Hacking; Theresa-Marie Stodell; Louise Finnie; Sue Lewis

Key clients

EMK / Reconomy Group

Aston Lark

Baird Capital Partners

AFH Financial Group plc

Joules Group plc

Eurocell plc

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

SEGRO plc

Livingbridge

Wolseley

Work highlights

  • Advisors to EMK and Reconomy on all aspects of the transaction, including cross border M&A, antitrust and leveraged financed work.
  • Acted for Aston Lark, the Chartered insurance broker backed by Goldman Sachs, on numerous bolt on acquisitions.
  • Advised Baird Capital, the direct investment arm of Baird, on its investment in eCube Solutions Limite.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s corporate and commercial practice is jointly led by corporate head David Vaughan and commercial contracts head David Lowe, a specialist in international trade, consumer law, procurement and supply chain matters. The team also includes Jeremy Millington who has carved out distinguished expertise in real estate and entrepreneurial-related M&A, as well as Stuart Young and Ragi Singh, specialists in the automotive sector. Elsewhere, Sharon Ayres is the key contact for investment funds while Sarah Riding, former practice head at Irwin Mitchell, is a notable new arrival who excels in relation to franchising, routes to market, outsourcing and manufacturing mandates. The team is frequently engaged for international transactions with the US, Europe and India serving as its key jurisdictions of activity.

Practice head(s):

David Vaughan; David Lowe

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Millington; Stuart Young; Ragi Singh; Sharon Ayres; Sarah Riding; Chris Towle; David Lowe

Testimonials

‘The corporate team is excellent; always respond quickly and with clarity. They understand when urgency is required.’

‘Sarah Riding has an excellent, in-depth knowledge of the automotive sector, together with the health & safety involved. She has a commercial and practical approach, and her advice is always clear and helpful. ’

‘Great engagement in getting to know the client, and good feedback on internal processes where law firm can identify improvements.’

‘David Lowe takes the time to understand the issues and give examples from previous projects with other clients.’

‘Very practical advise and high responsiveness’

‘David Vaughan is a very prudent negotiator.’

‘Down to earth with a hands-on approach, very pragmatic’

Key clients

LDC

Birmingham City Council

Southco Inc.

M+W

Huhtamaki

Business Growth Fund

Rettig Group

Hill & Smith Holdings Plc

Cummins Inc.

Staffline

The Midcounties Cooperative

Otto Bock

Palatine Private Equity

Atcore Technology Group Limited

Hyundai

Sandvik AB

Tarmac

Metsaliitto Cooperative

GCI Group

Mitek Holdings Inc

GCP Applied Technologies

Codemasters Group Holdings plc

A F Blakemore & Sons

ReBound Returns

Oxbotica

Aston Manor

The Hut Group

Sanctuary Group

SLR Global

M&G Real Estate

University Superannuation Scheme

St Modwen

NFU Mutual

Avison Young

Coca Cola European Partners

Sdiptech AB

ADP

AstraZeneca

Baylis & Harding

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

British Red Cross

Cadent Gas

CBI

Church & Dwight

Essar Oil

Ford

Frank Smythson

G42 Healthcare

Getlink

GSK

Hovis

Jaguar Land Rover

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical

LEVC (London Taxis)

London Legacy Development Corporation (owner of the London Stadium)

Made.com

Mar

Work highlights

  • Advised key client Williams F1 on its disposal of a majority interest in its subsidiary, Williams Advanced Engineering Limited, to funds controlled by EMK Capital in a deal which will see Williams F1 continue to retain a significant minority stake.
  • Advised Swedish-based solar panel installer Svea Renewable Solar AB on the acquisition of British PV project developer Solarcentury’s European residential solar installation business.
  • Advised Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC on the disposal of its F1 business to BCE Limited, a fund managed by Dorilton Capital Management LLC, valuing the business at €152m.

Browne Jacobson LLP

The team at Browne Jacobson LLPgo the extra mile’ when acting on corporate mergers, acquisitions and disposals. Approximately a third of the caseload includes cross-jurisdictional work, and the group enjoys an excellent reputation in the technology and private equity fields owing to the expertise of Mike Jackson  and Gareth Davies. Other industries of activity include the healthcare, automotive, energy, infrastructure and sustainability sectors and the team is also home to a thriving growth and venture capital practice. Associate Clare Hanna, a specialist in private equity and M&A transactions, is praised as 'essential to getting deals over the line' while on the commercial front, Ryan Harrison is hailed as a ‘go-to lawyer’ for a range of matters including distribution, sale and purchase, warehousing and logistics agreements.

Practice head(s):

Mark Daniels; Declan Cushley; Richard Cox

Other key lawyers:

Mike Jackson; Gareth Davies; Ryan Harrison; Michael Stace; Clare Hanna

Testimonials

‘Thorough advice and guidance provided.’

‘Ryan Harrison provides sound advice, is always willing to help, gets things done when urgent.’

‘Browne Jacobson invested time in the relationship, even before we had a project to work on. Mike Jackson spent time with me discussion issues I had and how they could possibly be dealt with. This time commitment with myself and the new team was invaluable in all our our company wanting to work with Browne Jacobson.’

‘Mike Jackson is diligent, pragmatic and honest. I find working with him refreshing as he takes time to understand, investing time into any given issue regardless of the situation. Mike is very effective at then applying this knowledge to the issues, giving relevant guidance to resolving them. Mike is always contactable and quick to respond.’

Clare Hanna was essential in getting our deal across the line, without her it may not have happened. Where the process started to get lethargic, Clare pushed hard to get all parties across the line. Clare is approachable, quick to respond and knowledgeable and has been an excellent support to our business.’

‘Pragmatic, go the extra mile to help, patient, professional, thorough.’

‘Ryan Harrison is my go-to lawyer for commercial work due to his approach. Personable and pragmatic, really enjoy working with him.’

Key clients

PZ Cussons Beauty LLP

John Smedley Ltd

Q Holding Company t/a Q Medical Devices

DPDgroup UK Ltd

Lotus Cars Ltd

Iconic London (Holdings) Ltd

QMS Holdings Ltd t/a QMS Medicosmetics

National Car Parks

King’s College London

The National Trust

JaxJox Inc

Impala Travel Technology

First Sentier Investments

IH (Topco) Limited

Biosite Systems Limited

Aceleron Limited

Orbis Protect Limited

Apiary Capital LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising on the development and roll out of the client’s direct to consumer e-commerce websites, which enable key brands (including St. Tropez and Sanctuary Spa) to sell directly to consumers across multiple jurisdictions (including the UK and US).
  • Advised King’s College London on a broad spectrum of legal issues across multiple practice area specialisms and the Birmingham commercial team has been heavily involved in advising King’s, and supporting King’s internal legal team, on a significant volume of commercial instructions during 2020.
  • Advised Command Line Software (now Impala Travel Technology Ltd) on its $20m series B investment round.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP has dedicated departments for both commercial and corporate matters; Lee Clifford, a private equity specialist, oversees the former while IT and data expert, Mark Neale, fronts the latter. The corporate team handles a varied caseload which consists of M&A, MBO and MBI, private equity and transactional due diligence matters in addition to corporate restructurings and reorganisations. As for Neale’s practice, his team is proficient in the full array of commercial contract affairs, particularly those pertaining to the retail, transport and logistics, construction, manufacturing, drinks, hospitality and leisure industries. Kirstin Roberts is ‘an absolute stand-out’, supplying the team with a first-rate knowledge of the waste and sustainability sector.

Practice head(s):

Lee Clifford; Mark Neale

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Gardner; Kirstin Roberts

Testimonials

‘Freeths has a strong team with access to a broad range of skills. In the last year I have dealt with many different members of the team on a significant number of matters, and the quality of work and customer service has been consistently high. Billing has been excellent, well tracked and well presented.’

‘The individuals I deal with stand out because of the quality of their work and their levels of responsiveness. I have worked with many firms but the level of attention is really excellent.

‘Kirstin Roberts takes the lead on our account and she has been absolutely stand out. Always available when I need her, quick to respond, strong communicator, highly knowledgeable on a broad range of subjects.’

‘A very commercial law form that provides clear, pragmatic advice and does not get caught up on legal debates for the sake of it’

‘Excellent service with great knowledge.’

‘They have an exceptional ability to deliver results in a sensible manner, without delay and bespoke.’

‘Freeths team are very approachable, helpful and engaging. They take time to understand your needs and then act on your behalf as if it were theirs. We haven’t been using Freeths that long. They were introduced with others when we were going through a sale/MBO. We opted for Freeths for their skill, professionalism and personality. We have taken advice on on HR and commercial matters, which his been delivered swiftly and articulately. In terms of innovation, they are very collaborative and proactive.’

‘The team worked well and supported each other well when needed, if someone was not immediately available another team member made contact to keep us informed or answer questions, great teamwork.’

Key clients

Natgraph Limited

TerraQuest

Trustronic

Icosa Water

Innovative Safety Systems

Seqirus Vaccines

Duranta Energy

Enovert

HBM Global Group

Flamingo Horticulture

Bolt UK

Hydrock Group

Stone Technologies

Intraforensics

Lloyds Development Capital

The Alumasc Group Plc

Finance Birmingham Limited

Wurth Group

Funeral Partners Limited

BGF Investments LP

ALDI Stores

Carlsberg

Travis Perkins including: Wickes

Toolstation

Benchmarx

Tile Giant

Tarmac

Barratt Developments

Eurocell Group

Eddie Stobart

William Hill

Inchcape

H W Martin

FCC Environment

Arkphire UK Limited

NCR Limited

Atlas Hotels

Principal Hotel Company

Synergy Logistics

Bio Dynamics

Jack Moody Plc

Johnson Aggregates

Severn Waste Services

Work highlights

  • Advised 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).
  • Supported Arkphire (now part of Presidio) as it entered into a new seven-year managed services contract with the UK’s largest independent charitable hospital, The London Clinic whose goal is to be at the forefront of advancing healthcare.
  • Acted for Travis Perkins on the sale of their retail tile chain, Tile Giant Limited, to Coverings Limited.

Gateley Plc

At Gateley Plc, Tom Durrant fronts the firm’s national corporate practice from Birmingham, specialising in cross-border M&A, venture capital transactions and private equity deals. He is supported by Tom Rush who enjoys a prominent reputation for public company transactions. Clients include management teams, financial institutions, entrepreneurs and corporates.

Practice head(s):

Tom Durrant

Other key lawyers:

Tom Rush

Mills & Reeve LLP

A key distinguishing factor for Mills & Reeve LLP is its dedicated health and care practice, headed by Julian Smith, which supports some of the sector’s largest names on their strategic acquisitions and disposals. The wider corporate and commercial department is also a major contender in the food and beverage, mid-market, food, automotive, fintech and industrial fields and includes Peter McLintock, a veteran of many international M&A and private equity transactions. Elsewhere, Jayne Hussey specialises in supply chain projects while principal associate Ruth Andrew is a key contact for outsourcing and collaboration agreements.

Practice head(s):

Julian Smith; Peter McLintock; Kevin Lowe; Jayne Hussey

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Andrew; Ryan Hawley; Junaid Haroon

Testimonials

‘Results oriented, technically very good and able to anticipate issues and offer solutions.’

‘Julian Smith always gives us pragmatic advice promptly. Very helpful on corporate finance and commercial work generally.’

‘Junaid Haroon is extremely hands-on, gets involved in the matters – he is always available and business-oriented.’

Key clients

Elysium Healthcare

PreventX

Deutsche Bahn AG / Deutsche Bahn Digital AG

Elaghmore Fund

Stantec Inc

Healthshare Limited

Palatine Private Equity

Iron Mountain

NorthEdge Private Equity

Jasper Private Equity

Ambienta SpA

Nactarome UK Limited

Key Capital Partners

Geary’s Bakery group

Virgin Care

Gymshark

Syntegon Technology

Horiba Mira

Apollo Chemicals

The Alumasc Group plc

SYNLAB UK & Ireland

Deutsche Telekom Global Business Services

Work highlights

  • Represented international healthcare client SYNLAB on a strategic joint venture with Guy’s and St Thomas’.    
  • Supported one of Mainline Europe’s primary ESG private equity investors in its first acquisition/MBO in the UK; also advising on several follow-on transactions to buy and build their UK footprint in clean label, plant-based and natural ingredients business
  • Helping the Swish Fibre Limited management team join forces with venture capital company, Octopus Investments on a £250m fundraise to exploit the demand for fibre to the premises IT support, one of the largest early stage fundraisings on record.

Pinsent Masons LLP

The ‘always accessible and very proactive’ corporate lawyers at Pinsent Masons LLP are engaged for a range of big-ticket public and private M&A transactions, joint venture work and corporate transactional advice. The team is headed by Nicole Livesey who ‘has an excellent way of distilling complex issues’ and also leads the firm’s diversified industrials sector group. On the commercial side, Clare Francis, a lawyer very well-versed in the manufacturing industry, serves as practice head, spearheading a team which is principally acclaimed for outsourcing, supply chain, strategic alliance, collaboration and routes to market affairs. Joanne Ellis is the key contact for healthcare matters while John Tyerman and Rhian Critchell are prominent names in the field of energy-related corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Nicole Livesey; Clare Francis

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Ellis; John Tyerman; Rhian Critchell; Laura Ayre; Andrew Hornigold

Testimonials

‘The key strength of the team I worked with was the ability to distil complex issues into simple and practical points to enable us to make clear decisions. The team were able to share a pragmatic view and arm us to make the best decisions for each particular circumstance. This was vital in a highly stressful and emotional transaction for us. The team were always accessible and very proactive to requests and events as they transpired.’

‘The individuals I worked with managed to treat us as if we were their only client. Having worked in professional services this is very difficult to do. I always had the impression that we were their priority. I have worked with other law firms who have not managed to do this. Nicole Livesey always gave her full attention and had an excellent way of distilling complex issues into bite size pieces for all stakeholders as required.’

‘Really understand our business, supportive in any innovation in how to best support business initiatives.’

‘Laura Ayre is a great commercial support and looks out for synergies and topics relevant to us as a business. Rhian Critchell goes over and above, including supporting on projects with very tight time scales.’

‘An extremely supportive team, clear commercial advice and always quick to respond.’

‘We have used the Pinsent Masons team for a series of minority investments in tech start-ups in the UK. They are a competent and friendly team, which provides solid and pragmatic advice.’

‘Andrew Hornigold provides sound and pragmatic strategic advice on key points.’

Key clients

Tesco plc

Rolls-Royce Plc

E.ON UK plc

Saint-Gobain

Linnaeus Group

Sage plc

Robert Bosch

Financial Times

NEC Group

Kier Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the NEC Group on the property and commercial contracts with the NHS to enable the set up and use of the NEC site in Birmingham as a Nightingale Hospital as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advised Linnaeus Group on the acquisition of Pets at Home Group Plc’s five Specialist referral practices.
  • Advised Agilitas, a pan-European mid-market private equity firm, alongside management shareholders, on the sale of the Exemplar Health Care group of companies to Ares Management Corporation.

Shoosmiths LLP

At Shoosmiths LLP, the workload is ‘characterised by an extremely high degree of diligence, client orientation and speed’ and is centred around three key pillars – M&A, venture capital and private equity. Ben Turner, ‘an exceptional M&A lawyer’, heads the department and directs particular attention to the German, Nordic and US markets. He is supported in Birmingham by Alastair Peet, who heads the national venture capital practice group and routinely supports venture and growth capital companies and investors on their exit, scaling and funding-related activities. Daniel Shilvock recently joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, significantly bolstering the group’s private equity offering while Alistair Hammerton garners recurring client praise for his ‘vast knowledge of venture capital‘. Beyond partner-level, principal associate Georgina Rennie is a ‘trustworthy advisor for M&A transactions‘.

Practice head(s):

Ben Turner

Other key lawyers:

Alastair Peet; Daniel Shilvock; Alistair Hammerton; Georgina Rennie

Testimonials

‘The Shoosmiths team has deep experience in venture capital and private equity and benefits from wide resource and wide reference points from representing investor, company and management teams. They have a particular specialism in working with EIS companies.’

‘Alistair Hammerton and Daniel Shilvock are both happy to help shape terms pre-engagement, which is a key differentiator. They are also willing to consider the specifics of the company and transaction and rarely default to generic positions without good reason.’

‘We have come to know Ben Turner and Georgina Rennie as very competent and trustworthy advisors in the context of an M&A transactions. Their work is characterized by a very high degree of diligence, client orientation and speed. Due to their interdisciplinary competences, they are especially recommended for companies that want to become active in England from abroad. ’

‘Ben Turner is an exceptional M&A Lawyer. Ben is very commercial and is able to think outside the box and always displays high levels of integrity.’

‘I’ve worked a lot with Shoosmiths. They have provided a reliable high-standard across a range of transactions. The team are responsive and keen to advise and receive feedback. They appreciate our expectations on transactions and areas of sensitivity for us.’

‘Alistair Hammerton has gained a vast amount of knowledge in the venture capital space and is very approachable. He is keen to understand our business and our legal needs. He manages well the balance between offering their services without being pushy. He has been instrumental in helping us put together precedents and finessing the legal process with Shoosmiths so that it is smooth and Shoosmiths now are our regular counsel.’

‘The team understand our business well and provide pragmatic, commercial advice. They supported us well with decision making.’

‘Georgina Rennie really knows her area of law, and provides straight forward commercial advice.’

Key clients

John Banaszkiewicz, Freight Investor (Holdings) Limited and UTC Limited

DIF Capital Partners

Joules plc

Octopus Ventures and Octopus Growth Capital

Triple Point

Hambro Perks

Insurtech Gateway

Business Growth Fund

Geospock

Triple Point Ventures

MML Capital

Gresham House

Mercia Fund Management Limited

Proximity Data Centres

GEMS Education

Rcapital

Receipt Bank

Mutares

Cowen

Harbr

Ricor Group

Iron Mountain

Work highlights

  • Advising John Banaszkiewicz, Freight Investor (Holdings) Limited and UTC Limited on the disposal of 84% of Burnley FC Holdings Limited, the holding entity for Premier League Club, Burnley FC, a high-profile, complex highly leveraged buy-out to a US private equity fund backed by a US debt provider.
  • Acting for the sellers on the secondary buy-out of Solid Solutions, a leading 3D CAD re-seller. The transaction provided an exit for BGF and an opportunity for LDC.
  • Advised DIF on its substantial infrastructure investment into Liberatis Limited (which trades as 4th Utility) an independent broadband ISP, supplying ultrafast connectivity to homes and businesses across the UK.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs is highly regarded for mid-market M&A transactions, equity capital markets and takeover code work, as well as private equity mandates. Practice head Geoff Perry, praised as ‘an expert in his field’, is primarily active in the industrials and healthcare sectors though the wider team also represents household names from industries such as manufacturing, retail, leisure and football. On the commercial front, the group is adept in the full gamut of contractual affairs and boasts distinguished expertise in the establishment of both inbound and outbound trading arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Perry; Tony Reed; Stuart James

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Glaze; David Hull; Simon Jones

Testimonials

‘Down to earth, knowledgeable and approachable team.’

‘Geoff Perry is an expert in his field but practical and friendly, no arrogance, always willing to help out.’

‘Down to earth and pragmatic. Friendly and knowledgeable.’

‘Geoff Perry is a pleasure to work with. He is sensible and really knows his stuff and manages to put complex matters into easy to understand language.’

Key clients

Polypipe Group PLC

Anglo Asian Mining PLC

Pine Island Capital Partners

Sheffield Wednesday F.C.

Matrix SCM Group Limited

Homeserve PLC

Rcapital Partners LLP

Veolia Environment S.A.

Transport for Greater Manchester

Work highlights

  • Advised Polypipe Group PLC on a cash box placing to raise total gross proceeds of approximately £120m.
  • Advised Anglo Asian Mining PLC on a non-binding Heads of Agreement relating to a joint venture with Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC.
  • Advised Matrix SCM Group Limited and its shareholders in relation to a management buyout by private equity investor Bridgepoint Development Capital.

DWF

Delivering a service ‘comparable to London firms’, DWF’s practice is co-headed by Mark Gibson, a lawyer thoroughly experienced in MBOs and MBIs, acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures in addition to corporate governance and reorganisation matters; he enjoys strong connections in Russia and the CEE region and is supported by ex-DLA Piper partner John Campion, who has significantly ramped up the group’s equity capital markets focus following his arrival in January 2020. Ben McLeod is the key point of contact for commercial matters, directing a clear-cut focus towards IT and outsourcing projects. Key sectors include hospitality and leisure, technology, financial services and industrials.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gibson; John Campion; Ben McLeod

Testimonials

‘Ben McLeod runs a small but efficient team who have successfully got under the skin of some complex and strategically essential procurement projects this year.’

‘Ben McLeod is accessible, personable and pragmatic.’

‘Service is exceptional. We trust them 100% no matter what bumps in the road we come across. They are professional and expedient and more than happy to take on a heavy burden.’

‘John Campion is knowledgeable, patient and able to draw on a bottomless pit of dynamic, experienced and energetic team. First-class service, ahead of his London based peers and at a rates as a fraction of those adopted in the City. ’

‘Best in class service which is comparable to what you would get from a top tier London firm.’

‘John Campion understand our business, is extremely knowledgeable and is a very pragmatic lawyer. He is very good at explaining complicated issues in simple terms.’

Key clients

Keywords Studios plc

Zedra Trust

Hunters Property plc

Richard Harby Callis, Stuart Grist & Mario Cirillo

Avro Energy Limited

Lewis Morgan

MAC Waste Management UK Limited

Silentnight Group Limited

Severn Trent PLC

Serco Limited

Skytek Limited

British Telecommunications PLC

EE Limited

A.F. Blakemore & Sons

Work highlights

  • Acted on Keywords Studios’ secondary fundraising to raise £100m by way of a placing on AIM using a Jersey cashbox structure.
  • Acted for Zedra Trust as selling shareholder in the £5.4bn IPO of THG Holdings plc, one of the largest tech IPOs of 2020.
  • Acted for Hunters Property plc on its £25m recommended takeover by The Property Franchise Group plc.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

The team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is well regarded for its ability to ‘balance commercial advice with management of the legal risks involved’. Distinguishing traits of the practice include its dedicated investment funds practice, proficiency in representing energy companies, entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as its prowess in tax-related investments. Kavita Patel leads the department; her personal practice is geared towards private equity and corporate finance transactions. The firm is equipped for a wealth of cross-border transactions owing to its membership with Multilaw, a leading global legal network.

Practice head(s):

Kavita Patel

Other key lawyers:

Keith Spedding; Peter Mayhew; Jody Webb

Testimonials

‘They offer a personal attention to detail and make us aware of any issues quickly, whatever the time of day it is.’

‘Good commercial and practical advice, with a focus on private equity investment. Planned, developed and implemented a complex fund restructuring over several months which, despite encountering many complexities, went particularly smoothly and within time and budget.’

‘Strong understanding of their clients’ business, proactive approach and ability to solve legal issues with a commercial approach. Kavita Patel is recommended in terms of her knowledge, leadership and approach.’

‘Shakespeare Martineau has been committed to providing high quality service to the sector; their detailed understanding of the evolving rules and regulations is almost unparalleled.’

‘Kavita Patel has provided me and my firm with outstanding technical and advisory services for more than the past decade. She is one of the foremost technicians within the sector and provides a first call service to her clients. Her accessibility, response to questions and attention to detail is second to none. ’

‘Keith Spedding is an excellent communicator and his advice is sound, providing strong guidance to us as a company.’

Key clients

Foresight Group LLP

Unicorn AIM VCT Plc

Blackfinch Investments

Avingtrans Plc

Griggs Family (Dr Martens)

Robin Hood Energy

Addmaster Holdings

Alliance Group

British Independent Retail Association

One Heritage Plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for longstanding client Foresight on the restructuring and relaunch of its Foresight Inheritance Tax Fund aiming to raise an additional £400m.
  • Advised the shareholders of Addmaster Holdings on the £33m sale to Swedish listed company Polygiene.
  • Advised the family founders of Dr Martens on the IPO of their retained 10% stake of the business in a deal valued at £3.7bn.

The Wilkes Partnership

The The Wilkes Partnership delivers ‘superb advice across a range of matters’, catering to a roster of corporate clients, their owners and funders. Department head Gareth O’Haraleads by example’ when acting on transactions, both local and national, placing particular emphasis on the automotive sector. The ‘technically excellentRick Smyth is highly proficient in mid-market corporate finance, M&A, private equity and investment transactions whereas Kate Hackettstands out’ for her reorganisation, asset and share transactional and general company law prowess.

Practice head(s):

Gareth O’Hara

Other key lawyers:

Rick Smyth; Kate Hackett

Testimonials

‘The senior people are all top-notch technically, but beyond that they always bring valuable insights and practical, commercial advice to difficult deal situations based on their extensive experience. Outstanding at working collaboratively with other professionals to deliver the best outcomes for clients.’

‘Rick Smyth is technically excellent but also pragmatic and smart – invariably able to find a solution to any tricky situation (legal or non-legal) based on his extensive commercial experience. I am always totally confident introducing a new client to Rick and his team.’

‘Well established and experienced team, who offer good value compared to some larger firms. Easy to deal with during the pandemic, with a combination of calls, virtual and where rarely needed face to face meetings.’

‘Ready and easy access to all involved including partners who actively led the work. Friendly and knowledgeable people.’

‘The capabilities and level of knowledge is exceptional.’

‘True customer facing and dedication and always willing to offer solutions ’

‘Rick Smyth is the consummate professional and over the years has totally restored my faith in the legal profession, despite he obvious success he also finds time to work hard at various charity fund raising activities.’

‘Gareth O’Hara leads by example, is not afraid to get stuck in and help all sides work towards an agreement. Keeps it simple, gives his opinion and reasoning and works with all parties towards an agreement.’

‘Kate Hackett was person that stood out most and she ran the job like clockwork. Never once did I feel out of control or in the dark as all her communications were prompt, diligent and above all accurate. On a job with more than 20 professionals working on both sides, Kate’s version was the only one that mattered.’

Key clients

Azets Accountants

Johnsons Cars Limited

Fitzgerald Contractors Limited

Farillio Limited

BGF plc

Star Events Group Limited

Smarts Specialists Plumbing Limited

MBG Global Brands GmbH

Cotswold BMW

Wesleyan Bank Limited

Dennis Eagle Limited

Aston & Fincher

Handelsbanken

Santander

Epyx Ltd

VIAD

J S Wright

HIA International Limited

Ricor Limited

Carter Environmental/Refrigeration

Niclen GmbH

STABILA Messgeräte Gustav Ullrich GmbH

Böcker AG

TruVenturo GmbH

Polytec AMR GmbH & Co KG

German Christmas Company Limited

Huber Car Park Systems International GmbH

Pravida Bau GmbH

TwentyFive 8 Management Company

The Service Response Group

Wow! Stuff

Strongs Plastics

Work highlights

  • Advised on £20m investment into start-up bank GBB by the Teesside Pension Fund.
  • Advised Easy Autocentres on the sale of its business to Goodyear UK for an undisclosed sum.
  • Sale of RSM Partners, a globally recognised and world leading specialist in IBM mainframe security and infrastructure services.

Clarke Willmott LLP

John Irving leads the practice at Clarke Willmott LLP; he has a broad practice spanning M&A, distribution and franchising and partnership matters, principally those pertaining to the manufacturing, healthcare, capital goods and casino sectors. The team is also engaged for a broad variety of commercial contracts work and is equipped to support on the financing elements of large corporate transactions, owing to the specialist expertise of Andrew Beedham.

Practice head(s):

John Irving

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Beedham

Testimonials

‘They had a quick grasp of my concerns and a rapid understanding of my immediate situation.’

‘John Irving is recommended for his attention to detail with contracts and excellent advice.’

‘Professional, high skill and deep knowledge. We have asked Clarke Willmott to produce number of legal documents, and layout agreements which clearly states the activities and duties for our unique share-matching platform for the private companies. Clarke Willmott has produced outstanding work. ’

‘Highly professional team able to cover all matters necessary for a client operating in the UK.’

‘Knowledge and pragmatism, focused on solutions not conflict or hours. Act in best interests of client but also looking to find solutions for all those impacted in constructive, real world manner. Experts in their field and able to bring in others as required. John Irving encapsulates all of these attributes and has a good support team around him.’

Key clients

Ballard Casinos Limited

Braunability UK Limited

ChangFa Capital Limited

Comau UK Limited

Complete Technology Group Limited

Envitec Biogas AG

Extra MSA Group

Ingersoll Rand

Kumho Tyre (UK) Limited

Manvers Limited

Fieldfisher

At Fieldfisher, the team is especially well-regarded among professional services businesses, such as surveyors, architects, lawyers and accountants, for its input on M&A and internal structuring affairs. The practice is fronted by Andrew Lawton Smith, a recent arrival from Gowling WLG who joins with a prominent reputation in supporting entrepreneurs within the manufacturing, business services and technology fields. Also found among the workload are venture capital capital and private equity transactions, often handled by Graham Muth.

Practice head(s):

Andy Lawton Smith

Other key lawyers:

Graham Muth; Hugo Lidbetter

Testimonials

‘A highly focused and dynamic firm who provide legal advice with full conviction, which allows clients to make sound commercial decisions with confidence. I particularly like the attitude of key partners who take a long-term view relative to client retention, knowing that ultimately they will be most likely to receive instructions relative to M&A activity. The strength and length of the relationship we have established means we view Fieldfisher as key stakeholders within our overall exit strategy and this has helped to steer some of the more run of the mill commercial activities they undertake for us.’

It is essential to have a law firm such as this that is capable of providing concise advice that we have total faith in.’

Historically we have used a number of specialist firms both in Birmingham, London and Manchester but in recent years have reached the conclusion that Fieldfisher’s breadth of service allows us to treat them as a sole supplier for all of our commercial requirements.’

‘Andrew Lawton-Smith has been a trusted advisor for many years after initially steering us through a complicated MBO. My fellow board members have come to view him more as a non-executive director than just a legal adviser as he is not afraid to tell us when we are wrong and steer down a more considered path.’

Key clients

Metamorph Group Limited

Greater Pacific Capital Partners LP

Yü Energy

Shell Energy Europe Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Greater Pacific Capital Partners LP (a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands) on the sale of the entire issued share capital of GPC Mauritius VI LLC Limited (a company incorporated under the laws of Mauritius) to Yamu Holdings Corporation (a company incorporated under the laws of Canada).
  • Advised Yü Energy, a Nottingham-based supplier of gas, electricity and water to the UK business sector, on its growth strategy M&A deals during 2020. These included the acquisition of Bristol Energy’s B2B customer business and the acquisition of a Midlands-based group that was exiting the energy supply market.
  • Advised Shell Energy Europe on an innovative agreement with the Seabank gas-fired power station near Bristol. The arrangement is unique in combining tolling and trading elements.

Irwin Mitchell

The corporate and commercial team at Irwin Mitchell is headed by Nick Dawson, a lawyer whose practice covers the full array of corporate transactions, especially M&A and private equity deals. His team caters to a diverse client roster of mid-market, growth business, large corporates and private equity-backed businesses with foremost expertise of the food and drink, financial institution, manufacturing and waste sectors. A clear point of distinction for the group is its private wealth practice which it leverages to provide a full-suite service to owner-managers and directors. Associate solicitor Matt Smith delivers an ‘optimal outcome’, ‘never missing a detail’.

Practice head(s):

Nick Dawson

Other key lawyers:

Matt Smith; Chris Rawstron; Emma Callow

Testimonials

‘Irwin Mitchell have a very customer-centric ethos, making life as simple as possible for us, as a client. They manage the relationship very efficiently, and with clear direction to the client. The down-to-earth approach that is part of the their culture is very different to other law firms that we’ve dealt with, and this encourages true collaboration and idea-sharing between client and advisor.’

‘Nick Dawson and Matt Smith have a pragmatic, down to earth approach, and can remain focused on the big picture, whilst ensuring that none of the details are missed. Their personable approach and dedication to getting the deal over the line were a key aspect in the success of our most recent transaction.’

‘Good, unequivocal advice briskly delivered. I like the team for a number of reasons: they are always there and respond quickly; their advice is always sensible and commercial; they are always looking for a quick, legally sound and pragmatic way of getting to the finishing line as quickly as possible. If there is a difficult issue or one they are not quite sure about, they will always admit it immediately, go and take advice elsewhere, and revert quickly with the best answer.’

‘Nick Dawson runs a very good group. He is always very quick in coming back, very honest with his assessment of what can be achieved and when it can be achieved and what cannot be achieved. He is very experienced and has a good sense of what is normal or market and what is not.’

‘Matt Smith works very long and hard, never misses a detail and is always courteous and polite to his clients and to the other side. He is always very, very honest if he doesn’t know the answer and will revert quickly once he has consulted with a more experienced colleague. I appreciate this honesty.’

‘Very proactive approach and easy to work with. Standard of work is always very high.’

‘We feel very well looked after by Matt Smith and appreciate his tireless efforts to achieve the optimal outcome for us.’

‘The practice is a valued partner to us as clients. Our relationship has deepened over several years and they have advised and assisted us on over a dozen acquisitions in the last three years. As a practice they provide a robust commercial and corporate offering to rival any of the bigger firms with a friendly and down to earth feel. Always available when needed and providing a sound broad base of advice.’

Key clients

Reconomy (UK) Limited

Drayton Manor Theme Park and Hotel

Motus Holdings (UK) Limited

Expromet Technologies Group Limited

Whittingham Riddell Partners

UBT (EU)

Shareholders of Arden Fine Foods

Management team of Easyfundraising

idverde UK Limited

Lexon (UK) Limited

Hadley Industries plc

Vulcain Services SAS

Lifestory Group Limited

Black Swan Data Limited

Dragonfly Technology Solutions Limited

Cavendish Learning Trust

South & City College Birmingham

Gravity Fitness Limited

Europa Worldwide Group Limited

Valpak Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Drayton Manor and PwC (as administrator) on the sale of Drayton Manor Theme Park and Hotel to Looping Group which operates 15 leisure parks across the UK, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Portugal.
  • Advised Reconomy (UK) on the acquisition of ACM Eco Holdings Limited. The transaction marked the next step in Reconomy’s ambitious growth plans.
  • Continues to advise trampoline park and leisure park provider Gravity Fitness on contracts to support the growth of its business. Over the last 12 months this has included drafting and negotiating key franchise agreements both in the UK and overseas, as well as drafting agreements relating to payment portals and the sale of equipment.

KPMG Law in the United Kingdom

At KPMG Law in the United Kingdom, recently promoted directors Jenna Ostrowski and Thomas Swain are the key contacts in Birmingham. Former practice head Bradley Quin left to join Lodders Solicitors LLP in November 2021.

Other key lawyers:

Jenna Ostrowski; Thomas Swain

Key clients

ASOS Plc

Equilaw Limited and Thomas Legal Group

Fire Glass UK Limited

JTEKT Europe

Shareholders of Romax Technology Limited

TAS S.p.A

Tours Abroad Group Limited (Leger Holidays)

TVH Parts Holding NV

Vee Bee Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising JTEKT Europe on the acquisition of KSR Electronic Systems Limited out of administration.      
  • Worked with colleagues in Switzerland to advise Italy-based TAS S.p.A on the acquisition of Infraxis AG (a Swiss entity) and its UK subsidiary, Infraxis Limited.
  • Advised the shareholders of Romax Technology on the company’s sale to the Hexagon Group, a US-UK deal which was successfully closed despite the first wave of COVID-19.

Legal Clarity

Boutique firm Legal Clarity is home to a three-partner team specialising in M&A, investments, employee ownership transitions and a wealth of other tax and commercial-led reorganisations. Richard Underwood primarily represents owner-managed businesses providing the team with joint venture, shareholder arrangement and deal structuring expertise. ‘Excellent communicatorGary Davie holds esteem in respect of employee buy-out transactions while capital restructuring and group reorganisation specialist, Chris Wright has forged a reputation for GP practice acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Richard Underwood; Gary Davie

Other key lawyers:

Chris Wright; Matthew Gwyther

Testimonials

‘Gary Davie is an excellent communicator and helped explain our options and provided possible examples to help us make decisions with his experience and knowledge. He been very approachable and patient with our lack of knowledge in the areas that we have needed advice.’

‘Several of the partners have been recruited from large firms and provide a depth of quality.’

‘Richard Underwood takes a pragmatic approach to matters, getting the job done. Matthew Gwyther can be relied upon for very high quality work.’

‘Very straightforward to deal with never any issues with billing and very responsive to challenges which arise.’

‘Gary Davie was knowledgeable, practical and helpful – the best individual solicitor I have ever dealt with.’

‘The practice is unique because very experienced partners with larger firm experience head up a small group and are involved in drafting the documents and advising the clients. This leads to the client receiving very senior advice for reasonable fees.’

‘I have worked with Richard Underwood for many years and find that his advice is commercial, straightforward and common sense. Richard does not spend time points-scoring and always gives sound and sensible advice when completing transactions.’

Key clients

Pall-Ex Group Limited

Eclisse UK Limited

Microlise Limited

Clarilis Limited

Filtermist International Limited

Boss Your Label Limited

Azets Accountants

Magma Accountants

Prime Accountants

Dains Accountants

Modality Partnership

Stonegate Trinity LLP

Magnapower Equipment Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Bluetel Solutions Limited on the benefits and drawbacks of an employee ownership transition and the structure of the transaction.
  • Advising longstanding client Microlise in relation to the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Trutac Limited.
  • Acted for the Pall-Ex Group on its acquisition of the Fortec Distribution Network, a logistics company based in Northamptonshire.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Home to a ‘very strong, full-service offering’, Trowers & Hamlins LLP is principally focused on M&A, joint venture, private equity and venture capital matters, leveraging a distinguished level of knowhow in the manufacturing, healthcare and start-up sectors. Amardeep Gill is also engaged on a large number of commercial agreements while fellow department co-head Matthew Harvey has a track record of work for automotive clients.

Practice head(s):

Amardeep Gill; Matthew Harvey

Other key lawyers:

Moad Giebaly; Mike McMahon

Testimonials

Trowers & Hamlins has a very strong team and full service offering.’

‘Moad Giebaly is one of  the best corporate lawyers I have worked with. Self assured, confident, calm and commercial, he runs his client relationships and mandates as a seasoned and senior partner. Moad has a great knowledge of corporate real estate and Islamic finance transactions but has also advised on investments, corporate restructuring and general matters. He is responsible, responsive and committed to the best possible outcome for his clients. Simply put, Moad is a joy to deal with.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Xicon Holdings Limited

Doro AB

Midven Limited

Central Housing Investment Consortium Limited

Shareholders of Claremont Ingredients Limited

Dynata LLC

Julian Atkinson

Wates Group

Jade Merchant Bank LLP

The Mere Golf Resort & Spa

West Midlands Combined Authority

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Claremont Ingredients Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital to The Hut Group.  
  • Advised West Midlands Combined Authority in connection with a number of complex and pathfinder projects including setting up an innovate housing delivery vehicle.
  • Advised Midven in connection with a number of investments from its Midlands Engine Investment Fund.