Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber
Addleshaw Goddard fields an extensive team of M&A professionals, with sector-specific experts including Mark Hallam in financial services; James Tatro in retail and consumer goods; and Richard Hunt and practice head Garry Elliott in chemicals and manufacturing. The team recently handled headline corporate mergers in its areas of sector expertise. Peter Wood and Yunus Seedat have a focus on private equity transactions, acting for international funds and private companies, while the recent addition of Adam Hastings from Squire Patton Boggs expanded the team’s capacity to handle capital markets takeovers.
Riverside Private Equity
Nimbus Private Equity
YFM Private Equity
Cornes & Company
Daniel Thwaites plc
Muller Group of Companies
William Jackson Food Group
M.K.M. Building Supplies
Skanska UK plc
Zenith Vehicle Leasing
R. Raphael & Sons plc
Punter Southall plc
Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc
Skipton Building Society
Global Navigation Solutions
Huddersfield Town AFC
- Advised the shareholders of Allied Glass on its sale to US private equity fund Sun Capital.
- Assisted Samworths with the acquisition of 2 Sisters’ sandwich business, providing the client with over 30% of the national manufacturing capability in the food-to-go sector. The transaction was subject to CMA approval.
- Advised Masternaut on its sale to French tyre company Michelin.
The international focus of DLA Piper's corporate and commercial team sees practice head Andrew Davies and Stephen Atkinson handling high-value private equity deals across all sectors, most notably in the renewable energy, life sciences, healthcare, infrastructure and utilities industries. John Gallon leads on equity capital markets transactions, most recently in the automotive, manufacturing, technology and retail sectors. As well as heading the commercial practice, Matthew Duncombe chairs the firm’s global hospitality and leisure practice; representative work includes advising Marriott International on its entry into the home-sharing market. Legal director Milena Falciano-Padron supports the commercial practice on distribution arrangements, supply contacts, franchising work and procurement negotiations.
‘The team provides practical commercial legal advice which is appropriate to the challenges we face.’
‘They find solutions to the various challenges we present to them in, at times, a challenging environment
‘The dependability is a key strength and along with their excellence in experience, skill and judgement. Their support is valued.‘
‘Customer-centric, pragmatic, commercially focused advice.’
‘A good client-centred corporate team well led by John Gallon.‘
‘Milena Falciano-Padron brings a practical, commercial approach to all matters she is engaged on. Her common sense approach is invaluable support.’
‘Matt Duncombe is a highly experienced partner who brings a sense of calm to all instructions. Focusing on the areas that make a difference in a matter, he is a great support.‘
‘Mark Cliffe is a great performer in the corporate team.‘
‘John Gallon was a strong negotiator, excellent at communicating complex ideas to his clients, very responsive and quick to deliver any required work.‘
Cube Infrastructure Fund
- Acting for August Equity on its partial exit from Vetpartners, followed by a full exit in a follow-on transaction.
- Advised Cube Infrastructure Fund on its investments into G. Network Communications and Engenie.
- Acting for Marriott International on its entry into the sharing economy on a pan-European basis, designed as a challenger to AirBnB.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP fields a large team of experts, which advises on all avenues of corporate and commercial activity in the local, national and international markets. Practice head Robin Skelton has a strong private equity focus, while Alison Starr is a go-to name for equity capital markets takeovers and the associated corporate governance issues. As part of the firm’s sector-focused strategy, Amanda Partland specialises in deals in the food and drink sector, while David Milne handles M&A for premier names in the consumer sector. Principal associate Jonathan Pollard is also singled out. Further transactional highlights include advising clients in the engineering, financial services and animal feed sectors. On complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions, clients can take advantage of the firm's customisable DealMaster project management tool.
‘Robin Skelton – exceptionally strong technical knowledge, experience and commerciality across a wide spectrum of legal subject matter.’
Lloyds Banking Group
Inflexion Private Equity
Morses Club plc
- Advised private equity client Inflexion on the acquisition of Goals Soccer Centres for £27m.
- Advising Lowe Rental on the £30m acquisition of PKL Group.
- Advising The SimplyBiz Group on the all-share acquisition of Regulus Topco (the holding company of fintech business Defaqto) for £74.3m.
Pinsent Masons LLP
The Pinsent Masons LLP corporate and commercial team regularly handles headline M&A deals for international buyers, with Andrew Kerr and legal directors Catherine Hemsworth and Michelle Kershaw instructed by global corporates and private equity clients. The client base also showcases a solid number of listed companies (for which practice head Andrew Black handles high-value public takeovers) alongside niche names in the student accommodation, aged-care home and waste disposal sectors and other building and construction clients. Legal director Lisa Harley heads up the commercial side and has a healthy stream of procurement, outsourcing and tech-collaboration mandates. Clients can also take advantage of a suite of virtual in-house products for routine commercial objectives.
‘They are proactive and thoughtful. The quality of the advice is second to none but not at the City fee rates.‘
Air Partner plc
Aryzta Business Services Limited
Clipper Logistics plc
Directline Group Ltd
Northgate Public Services Limited
Lime Property Fund (Aviva Investors)
Northgate UK Holdings 4 Ltd
The National Employment Savings Trust (Nest)
- Advised Northgate UK Holdings 4 Limited — a company controlled by Goldman Sachs and Park Square Capital — on the sale of Northgate Information Solutions Limited to Alight Solutions.
- Advised DCC Healthcare on the disposal of a generic pharmaceuticals business comprising Kent Pharmaceuticals in the UK and Athlone Pharmaceuticals in Ireland to a Duke Street-backed private equity vehicle.
- Advising on the outsourcing of pension scheme administration services for NEST- the Government-backed auto-enrolment pension scheme.
An impressive list of international private equity funds engages Squire Patton Boggs’ Jonathan Jones, Paul Mann and Jonathan Ross on high-value private equity-backed M&A transactions in the market spanning the financial services, digital marketing, retail and manufacturing sectors. Adam Hastings and Hannah Kendrick (who also heads up the national food and drink sector group) lead on public takeovers for clients in the main and AIM markets, with subsequent corporate governance support provided on an ongoing basis. Corporates in the private sector also engage the team on disposals. Paul Jinks provides commercial advice to a stand-alone client roster, which also encompasses IP mandates.
‘Speed of response, depth of knowledge across a breadth of areas, PE experience, international network.’
‘The team all demonstrated very strong technical skills, but importantly showed a detailed understanding of what we were trying to achieve and how it would be best achieved with the characters involved.’
‘They are very proactive, pragmatic and commercial. They never give the impression of being on the clock and are very comfortable bringing in other experts from around the firm to provide advice early in a process. As with most corporate sales processes, our sale was complicated and at times stressful, the team managed this process effectively and did much of the heavy lifting, only involving management in material issues as they arose.’
‘Hannah Kendrick is a very good relationship partner and marshals her resources well. The team is very accessible and always available.’
‘Jonathan Jones is a class act – making law simple for clients.’
‘Paul Mann has an attentive nature and makes you feel like a key client.’
‘Jonathan Jones was tireless and dedicated to explaining the deal to all parties on our side. He was also passionate about making it work for us.’
‘Jonathan Ross has been our key contact and he has orchestrated all of the firm’s resources very effectively. In a short space of time he has become a real trusted advisor. I find him to be very pragmatic in finding solutions – he seems to keep things simple when trying to solve a problem.’
Callcredit Group / Trans Union
Mobeus Equity Partners LLP
Clearcourse Partnership Acquireco Limited
Xeros Technology plc
2 Sisters Food Group Limited
Sweco UK Holdings Limited
- Advised Convenience Foods on the sale of its Matthew Walker business for £67m.
- Assisted the shareholders of Smart Credit with obtaining an equity investment from Marlin Equity Partners.
- Advised private equity client Endless on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of bathroom retailer Victoria Plum.
Walker Morris LLP is the premier single-office firm in Leeds and enjoys a reputation as a key practice for providing corporate advice to global and UK-based businesses. Equity capital markets issues, private equity work and private M&A transactions in the mid and large-cap fields are routinely handled by practice head John Hamer, Richard Naish, Debbie Jackson and Daniel O’Gorman. Clients are drawn from a broad range of sectors, with particular strength cited in the manufacturing, IT, financial services and food and drink industries. Jo Stephenson has a focus on the healthcare sector and recently handled a variety of acquisitions for international clients.
‘Despite the significant size of the firm they have a very personal approach. Pragmatic and deal experienced.’
‘Dan O’Gorman is an outstanding lawyer who charges reasonable rates.’
The Meatless Farm
Menzies Distribution Limited
Karro Food Group
Audax Private Equity
Innovative Chemical Products Group
- Advised Servelec Group on a suite of transactions including the sale of Servelec Technologies and its subsidiaries, the acquisition of Careervision Holdings, and the sale of Servelec Controls.
- Advised HelpSystems Group on the acquisition of Clearswift following an auction process, requiring the co-ordination of workstreams in multiple jurisdictions including the US, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and France and including merger control filings.
- Advised credit provider Morses Club on its acquisition of current account provider U Holdings for £10m.
While a solid mid-market firm, Gateley Plc attracts big-ticket international clients and publicly listed UK companies, which engage the corporate and commercial team on a high volume of mid-value M&A deals, disposals and management buyouts. Practice heads Nicholas Emmerson, David Armitage and Sandip Khroud are engaged by European and US clients in the consumer goods, housing, energy and professional services sectors. Numerous private equity investors and high-net-worth individuals also instruct the team to handle investments into UK companies. Rob Lucus leads on commercial mandates, while also drawing on his expertise in IP and licensing matters.
Other key lawyers:
Inspired Energy Plc
Arden Partners Plc
Keepmoat Homes Limited
Freedom Finance Limited
Lovell Homes (part of the Morgan Sindall Group)
Business Growth Fund
Langley Holdings Plc
Gresham House Plc
United Molasses Group Limited
- Advised Langley Holdings on the acquisition of Marelli Motori from a subsidiary of The Carlyle Group.
- Advised Dr. Oetker Limited on the share purchase of Cake Decorating TV and Cake Craft World.
- Advised PayByPhone (a subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services) on its acquisition of Miranda Connect Limited.
Gordons LLP’ corporate practice is headed up by James Fawcett, whose typical instructions encompass a mix of private equity and private M&A transactions. With a strong retail focus, Andy Brian heads up the commercial side of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Key names in Schofield Sweeney’s corporate and commercial practice include practice co-head David Strachan and Steven Millward. The team routinely advises large private companies on disposals, joint ventures, restructurings and acquisitions, while firm chairman Chris Schofield assists AIM-listed clients, with recent work involving complex take-private deals. Based in Bradford, founding partner Martin Sweeney attracts substantial work in the financial services and automotive sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Schofield Sweeney offers a very friendly and personal approach. In my experience they are effective in shielding their client from the the worst parts of the legal process, and providing us with effective solutions. This is much more effective that the “what do you want us to” approach. They have a strong team with broad experience and they undertake in-house consultations behind the scenes, delivering solutions in the clearest most helpful way.‘
‘We engaged Schofield Sweeney to provide legal support previously provided by a large London law firm. We have been impressed with the firm’s breadth of offering, clear unambiguous advice and reasonable fee structures. The range of support is important to us and it is clear the firm has excellent individuals across a range of legal areas. In addition to corporate support we have had property advice, employment advice and investment support. In a relatively short period the firm has become a trusted adviser.‘
‘First and foremost they behave like human beings, not knowledgeable automatons. They look at issues as if they were their own – taking real ownership rather than advising from the sidelines. John Robinson is an exponent of this approach. He acts as a full member of your team, rather than an external adviser.‘
‘I have very much enjoyed working with Daniel Bisby. Daniel’s main strengths include an ability to simplify complex terms and clauses for clients and to provide examples of how and when certain clauses may take effect and hence, what the implications are.’
‘David Strachan and Lucy Holroyd have the ability to communicate complex procedures to all audiences. They also look at situations practically, with an aim to finding a suitable solution.‘
‘Across the team we have found partners and staff to be very personable, responsive and a pleasure to deal with. Also a common feature is explaining some complex legal matters in simple terms- this is essential from our perspective and supports our decision making process. From experience this is not always the case with other firms.’
Sanderson Group Limited
Leman International Limited
Greenhous Group Limited
H. Dawson Sons and Company (Wool) Limited
DFDS Seaways Plc
Catfoss Renewables Limited
Business Growth Fund
4D Pharma Plc
C4X Discovery Holdings Plc
EMIS Group Plc
Axminster Carpets Limited
Millers Oils Limited
Airedale Catering Equipment Group Limited
BWSC Power Corporation/Templeborough/Kent Renewable
Wastecare Group Limited
Elevation Financial Group Limited
Claritas Solutions Limited
Optima Energy Group
- Acted for IT company Sanderson Group on its £90m acquisition of Aptean Limited.
- Advised on the sale of Renewable Heat Generation Limited to Kyotherm, a specialist equity investment group based in Paris.
- Acted for IT company EMIS Group on the sale of three subsidiaries — Digital Healthcare Limited, Medical Imaging UK Limited and MIDRSS Limited — to Northgate Public Services Limited.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s private equity-focused corporate and commercial practice is led by Simon Pilling, who along with director James Cook handles a constant flow of mid-market acquisitions for premier funds in the regional and national markets. The team has particular expertise in turn-around investments, and has handled high-profile disposals in the food and drink sector. Other highlight sectors include the real estate, manufacturing, retail and creative media industries, with engagements from core fund clients as well as owner-managed businesses.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very strong balance of capability across the team, from a technical and commercially pragmatic perspective.‘
‘Simon Pilling always goes the extra mile.‘
‘James Cook is very detailed and technically able, bringing legal to life in a commercial environment.‘
Alufold Direct Limited
Cairngorm Capital Partners
Clearly Drinks Limited
Customade Holdco Group Limited
Endless LLP/ Enact
In Touch Networks (Holdings) Limited
Lloyds Development Capital
Nimbus Private Equity
NVM Private Equity
Stephenson Group Limited
- Engaged by Enact to handle its acquisition and investment in network service provider Redhall.
- Advised Enact on the management buyout of Qualter, Hall & Company from its former Austrian owner.
- Advised the owners of aluminium manufacturing company Alufold Direct on the sale of the company to Literacy Capital.
Blacks Solicitors LLP acts for a client base of owner-managed businesses in the local and national market. Recent highlights include complex restructurings and private equity investments, with practice co-heads Nigel Hoyle and Dave Paterson being the stand-out names. Phil Parkinson leads the commercial offering, which encompasses advice on master service agreements, data sharing arrangements and collaboration agreements. The steadily growing team includes recently promoted partner Lewis Goodwin, who handles mid-tier M&A deals for clients in the leisure, sports and digital media sectors.
‘A friendly and approachable team with good values.‘
‘Really personable service, no-nonsense talk in simple terms, trusted advisers.‘
‘The team at Blacks Solicitors is both friendly and professional. Its most important characteristic, however, is that it gets results and produces positive outcomes. The team works across disciplines and can therefore provide a holistic service. It is also widely experienced and has a very positive reputation across the city of Leeds.‘
‘Really gets to know clients and works hard to understand their business and their transaction. Very personal service. Fantastic for MBO’s, trade acquisitions and disposals.‘
‘Dave Paterson has exceptional communication skills and always provides practical, real-world advice alongside the legal position. Very good at empathising with clients and helping get the job done.‘
‘Nick Dyson has excellent industry knowledge and the experience to find solutions, not problems; Lewis Goodwin has a breadth of knowledge and the ability to manage complex and diverse issues; Ben Finley is client focused and produces the right results efficiently and on time.‘
‘Nigel Hoyle and Alex Hall showed tremendous levels of commitment to the role, attention to detail and diligence in ensuring the end result was achieved within their clients’ expectations.‘
‘The people make this practice unique. From the partners down to executives, all are proper professionals.‘
Harrogate Spring Water
City District t/a Fazenda
Innervate Technology Solutions
Catalyst IT Solutions
David Wood Baking
Great Rail Journeys
The Dalesman Group
Hague Print Media Supplies
Danielle Exclusive Creations
- Engaged by Production Park Limited to handle the sale of two subsidiaries — Brilliant Stages Limited and LS Live Limited — to TAIT International.
- Advised bar and entertainment operator Roxy Leisure on a £7.5m inward investment by private equity house Foresight Group.
- Advised Harrogate Spring Water on its multimillion pound contract for the supply of bottled water to British Airways.
The corporate and commercial practice at Harrowells Solicitors acts for a diverse client list of SMEs, owner-managed businesses and high-net-worth individuals. Noteworthy sectors include the farming, tourism, food processing and care home industries. Practice head Susie Mortonson and associate Matthew Rowley advise on lower mid-cap M&A; the practice also handles a wide range of commercial supply and customer contracts for agriculture and retail clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘They are far superior to other solicitors in Yorkshire. As a whole, Harrowells have a commercial understanding that other firms don’t tend to have.‘
‘I was recommended to use Harrowells by a colleague of mine and I am so glad I did follow it up. From the initial inquiry to some three years later I am so impressed with their service. They have not only dealt with my businesses but also on a personal level.‘
‘A varied and passionate team of experts ready to assist and help.‘
‘The Harrowells corporate team have a fantastic personal (yet commercial) approach. The strength of the team members differentiates the team in the local market, offering a compelling regional alternative to the large Leeds based law firms – essentially they have large firm quality but deliver their advice through a relationship-led approach that differentiates the firm from its competitors.’
‘Susie Mortonson and Matt Rowley are excellent at balancing legal expertise with commercial acumen.‘
‘From the first meeting with Matt Rowley, I knew I was in capable hands. He was very methodical in his approach, wanted to really understand my business and its challenges.‘
‘Susie Mortonson has worked with us over several acquisition projects and has been a constant delight to deal with. Exactly what you want a solicitor to be- pleasant, professional, empathic and friendly.‘
‘Susie Mortonson is one of the best corporate lawyers with whom I have worked. She demonstrates excellent client handling and interpersonal skills, combined with a consistently commercial approach. I can always be comfortable that Susie will go the extra mile to deliver simply excellent client service and robust value-adding advice. Susie, supported by Matthew Rowley, delivers a level of client service and legal experience that sets the Harrowells corporate team aside from their competitors.‘
Knights plc's corporate practice maintains a strong footprint in the specialist IT and healthcare sectors under the leadership of Andrew Bradley and key transactional lawyers Marcus Armstrong and Christian Peace. The group also recently handled a high volume of cross-border share acquisitions, disposals and corporate restructurings as well a range of domestic M&A. Emma Roe leads the full-service commercial practice, advising on complex supply contracts, distribution agreements and company expansions; the engineering and industrial manufacturing industries are key sectors.
‘The team are friendly and approachable, which immediately gives you confidence when you need their assistance to deal with any difficult issues.‘
‘It was refreshing to work with a responsive team that met the timescales originally set out. Their prompt service and supply of documentation helped keep the legal process short and on budget. I felt comfortable with the team from our first meeting.‘
‘The team of people at Knights have the right balance of utmost professionalism and experience matched with a caring and personal nature so that you fully understand and appreciate what needs to be done and the path that lies ahead.‘
‘A local Yorkshire practice but with national expertise.‘
‘Both Marcus Armstrong and Kayleigh Watson made themselves available whenever we needed them. They both were able to explain things well and this allowed us to get to a conclusion very quickly. I would use them again based on the service we received to date.‘
‘My dealings have been with Andrew Bradley and Kayleigh Watson and I would recommend them both without hesitation.‘
‘I have had dealings with quite a few individuals at Knights over the years and never once had any issues or complaints. They are always polite and provide appropriate advice and deal with things in a professional, timely manner. I really can’t praise the individuals I have worked with enough.‘
‘I have always found both Marcus Armstrong and Andrew Bradley not only experts in their area but also practical. They are people that you can talk to plainly and simply and their advice is understandable. They get to know your business, understanding the issues you face and provide pragmatic legal solutions. They are also very fair and reasonable with their fees when they charge them.‘
PCT Healthcare Pharmacy Group
Living Care Pharmacy Group
Edgenet Solutions Limited
Emms Gilmore Liberson Solicitors
Roxor Group Limited
Journeo plc (formerly 21st Century Technology plc)
SFS Intec AG
Alpha Card Company Media Limited
- Advised Edgenet Solutions Limited on the acquisition and funding aspects of its purchase of AMG Systems Limited.
- Acted for publicly listed company Journeo on a reorganisation of the company’s share capital.
- Advising a supplier of technology to the transport industry in relation to a complex UK airport infrastructure bid worth £1.5m, including advice on IP and liability issues.
As head of Lupton Fawcett’s care sector team as well as the corporate and commercial practice, Giles Clegg is instructed by clients to handle complex demergers, acquisitions, property transfers and corporate restructurings. York-based Jonathan Oxley is highly active in the innovation and technology sectors, advising SMEs and venture capital funds on M&A, joint venture agreements and investment rounds. Daniel McCormack rounds out the partnership, advising shareholders and family-owned businesses on share sales (including recently handling high-value disposals to international buyers) and equity investments.
‘Overall the team delivered what I needed when it mattered for a once-in-a-lifetime event. They did so in a cheerful, courteous and thoughtful fashion that showed that they had reflected on our individual interests and needs.‘
Catfoss Finance Limited
Hand Picked Hotels Limited
Age Partnership Limited
Pure Retirement Limited
Northern Bloc Ice Cream Ltd
Toiletry Sales Group Ltd
The Templand Group Ltd
- Advised Globachem NV on establishing a UK company and the purchase of Redag Crop Protection Limited.
- Advised Vet-AI on an investment by Animal Friends Insurance Group.
- Advised the selling shareholders of Smart Buildings Limited on its sale to Engie Services Holdings Limited.
Paul Johnson leads Mills & Reeve LLP's corporate and commercial practice, focusing on mid-market M&A in the technology, healthcare, finance and agriculture fields. With a client list primarily comprised of privately owned SMEs, the team also advises private equity-backed businesses. Additionally, principle associate Alex Kenworthy has expanded the team’s capacity to handle acquisitions for international corporates, most recently in the real estate and food and drink sectors. Johnson regularly works with commercial partner Martin Priestley on joint venture instructions, regularly involving complex shareholder negotiations.
Other key lawyers:
‘We are always made to feel like their most important client, regardless of the complexity of the work requested and their advice is clear and takes into account commercial considerations.’
‘Alex Kenworthy – his attention to detail and professionalism are second to none.’
Rema Tip Top Limited
Traditum private equity
Maisons du Monde
Maritime & Coastguard Agency
University of York
Leeds Beckett University
Nottingham Trent University
Infarm – Indoor Urban Farming GmbH
Kerry Ireland Investments Limited
- Advised VetPartners on the acquisition of the Jersey-based New Era Veterinary Hospital.
- Advised RiskAlliance Group on its sale to US private equity house Altamont Capital.
- Advising the Maritime & Coastguard Agency on the procurement of its radio network infrastructure.
Shoosmiths LLP’s corporate and commercial practice has seen notable client growth with the addition of a range of publicly listed clients and international private equity houses to its roster. Practice head Philip Goldsborough handles public takeovers and mid and large-cap M&A in the real estate, oil and gas, consumer goods and leisure sectors, while James Foster leads on private equity deals for institutional investors. Senior associate Simon Procter has key expertise in corporate restructuring projects.
‘The Shoosmiths team provided impeccable attention to detail in their work. They were also keen to dive in and understand the nature of the business and the specifics of the deal being negotiated rather than just drafting documents as I see many firms do. In my experience, this has been the key differentiator between excellent and just acceptable representation. It was a pleasure to work with someone who was truly on your team.‘
‘Fantastic corporate, banking and property departments.‘
‘I primarily worked with Philip Goldsborough and his team. Philip was extremely attentive and detail oriented. He got down to the details of the transaction and our long-term interests to make sure that we were negotiating the best possible deal for our firm.‘
Schoeller Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG
Lloyds Development Capital
August Equity LLP
WM Morrison Supermarkets plc
Maven Capital Partners UK LLP
Grupa Lotos S.A
NorthEdge Capital LLP
Capiton Private Equity
YFM Private Equity LLP
Berkeley De Veer Limited
Cambrian BioPharma Inc
Parabellum Investments (UK)
- Advising SIG on its £37m conditional sale of Building Solutions Limited to Kingspan Holdings Limited.
- Advising WM Morrison Supermarkets on its £14m strategic acquisition of three superstores in the midlands from Central England Co-Operative Limited.
- Advising August Equity and management on the disposal of Aspirations by way of secondary buyout to Elysian Capital.
3volution Limited is recognised for advising IP-intensive SMEs on the breadth of corporate and commercial instructions. Long-standing clients retain the team for early-stage seed funding and angel investments, commercial advice and exit strategies- either through M&A or private equity buyouts. Jonathan Priestley leads the team, which includes highly praised associate Michael Cantwell. Priestly also advises institutional investor groups on equity funding issues, particularly in the travel and leisure sectors.
‘They are very knowledgeable and practical in their dealings, very efficient and client focused.‘
‘Approachable and deeply knowledgeable, seeking practical outcomes that can work. Excellent all round.‘
‘Very pragmatic firm and looks for a commercial solution if possible.‘
‘Jonathan Priestley and Amy Woodfine are both really helpful, efficient and practical with clients.‘
‘Jonathan Priestley is a stand out with a unique ability to think deeply and communicate clearly the pathway to a desired outcome.‘
‘Michael Cantwell always goes the extra mile and looks for practical solutions.‘
Northern Monk Brewing Co. Ltd
Converging Data Limited
Smart Business Link Limited
Data City Limited
Nuvision Biotherapies Limited
Receptive Software Limited
Remedy Tech Centre Limited
Project FF&E Limited
Tech Search Associates Limited
Haddow Group Limited
Dransfield Novelty Company Limited
Kiril Mischeff (Trading) Limited
Heathfield Holdings Limited
- Advised Northern Monk Brewing Co. on its successful fundraising from London-based private equity fund Active Partners.
- Advised the shareholders of Receptive Software Limited on its sale to a US-based company in the same sector, including considerations involving cash, equity and share options.
- Advised Glen Toomes on the sale of Heatseam Limited to Likewise Group, including considerations involving cash, equity and share options.
Freeths LLP’s corporate and commercial practice has a stream of private equity transactions from domestic owner-managed businesses and larger corporates. Yorkshire-based SMEs and startups frequently engage Dahren Naidoo and Andy Francey on management buyouts, corporate restructurings and reorganisations, while Frank Suttie is a key name for commercial contracts and governance advice, notably in the burgeoning edtech sector.
‘The legal team is quick to respond, regularly goes the extra mile when client timescales require it and always works to the agreed cost budget. There are many capable lawyers with outstanding internal communication amongst the team.‘
‘The corporate law team lead by Andy Francey have performed excellent work for us, and I consider him a trusted adviser. He and team far exceed other UK firms I’ve worked with in terms of quality of advice, quality of work, attention to detail, and speed of response. In addition, this team make transactions go more smoothly by the way all members treat all interested parties – with a professionalism that positively impacts the process and closes transactions.‘
‘The legal team is quick to respond, regularly goes the extra mile when client timescales require it and always work to the agreed cost budget. There are many capable lawyers with outstanding internal communication amongst the team.‘
‘Andy Francey is an exceptional corporate lawyer combining accessibility, responsiveness and a friendly approach with his strong knowledge of complex commercial law.‘
‘Andy Francey is a rare combination of competence and speed along with an ability to really understand and adapt to my company, board and investor’s working styles. He knows when and how to leverage the larger capabilities within Freeths, but does not abdicate the lead legal adviser. I feel very comfortable tackling complex work with high levels of uncertainty with Andy. He is dependable at addressing and eliminating risk, then ensuring all material parties are satisfied. Yes, Andy is an expert, but it is his character and his definition of excellence that makes me recommend him without reservation. Olivia Brown has also helped on investor, board and corporate matters and her strengths mirror Andy’s. She provides competent, thoughtful work very fast. She’s technically more savvy than many attorneys with whom I’ve worked. We are fortunate to have Olivia on our team.‘
Growth Partner LLP
Hague SR Limited
Peratech Holdco Limited
British Education Suppliers Association
- Assisted Hague Print Media Supplies with the purchase of the entire share capital of iCOM Print Works.
- Assisted Fleetondemand Holdings with its acquisition of FleetEurope.
- Acted for software company Paninsight on a £4.5m co-investment from YFM Equity Partners and Comhar Capital.
LCF Law’s corporate and commercial practice is prominent in the healthcare sector, with a high volume of instructions from GPs, pharmacies and nursing homes across the UK. Practice head Susan Clark has developed a niche in the highly active and heavily regulated dental sector. Clark, Cathy Cook an Harrogate-based Clementine Duckett also regularly handle M&A, reorganisations and private equity buyouts for owner-managed businesses across the IT, manufacturing, agriculture, retail and real estate sectors. The firm recently acquired Crooks Commercial Solicitors in Wakefield; name partner and corporate specialist Michael Crook is now based in the firm's Bradford office.
‘Competent lawyers who guide you through some complex legal issues in a way that makes it accessible to you. We were selling our business and as well as keeping the day job going had to deal with some complex negotiations. Cathy Cook our lead partner kept us calm and was prepared to take time to explain options and made us think about possible implications for the future which we would have not considered without her guidance. We felt like we were in a safe pair of hands.‘
‘Feels like a very personal service with attention to detail and quick responses- vital during the sale of a business where decisions have to be made quite quickly, especially in the final stages of negotiation. Cathy Cook was outstanding in her support to us. We have had other experiences elsewhere where it just felt like you were one more client. Support staff and lawyers alike treat you with a personal touch that makes you feel like they are focused on you and you are not just one more client. Communication was excellent at all times which was very reassuring, with Cathy willing to hold telephone conferences at fairly short notice where necessary.‘
The Private Office Limited/Savings Champion
Clayton Glass Limited
Youwe SuccessFlow Limited
Surefreight International Limited
Consolidated Timber Holdings Limited
Bottega Milanese Limited
- Advised Stephen Hubbard on the purchase of Travelfast Limited and associated assets.
In Ward Hadaway’s corporate practice, Adrian Ballam was recently recruited from Schofield Sweeney and has a notable track record in acquisitions, disposals, joint venture agreements and demergers, acting for corporate clients and private equity funds. James Nightingale rounds out the Leeds-based partnership with M&A expertise in the energy, healthcare and IT sectors.
Bagel Nash Limited
CNG (Group) Limited
Interactive Digital Systems
Solingen Private Equity Limited
SHG (Care Villages) Limited
- Advised the shareholders of steel supplier Abram Pulman and Sons on the business sale to Breal Capital.
Bevan Brittan LLP has increased its corporate and commercial capabilities with the recruitment of Christian Hunt, former practice head at Langleys Solicitors LLP. A portfolio of owner-managed businesses engages the team on management buyouts, joint ventures, share acquisitions and sales and corporate restructurings. Recent highlights include deals in the manufacturing, logistics, lighting and automotive sectors.
First Corporate Law Services
Canal & River Trust
Places for People
Wirral Borough Council
Commercial Services Kent Limited
Irwin Mitchell has an increasing presence in the corporate field under the leadership of Gavin Maddison. Maddison and senior associate Catherine Hinchliffe advise on M&A transactions for owner-managed businesses and, increasingly, large corporates. Joanne Bone heads up the commercial offering with a focus on data privacy compliance work.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very strong at partner and associate level.’
‘Both Gavin Maddison (partner) and Catherine Hinchliffe (associate) very accomplished operators, and work well together as a team, they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.’
Mamas & Papas (Holdings) Limited
RPC UK Limited
Strata Homes Limited
Mitchell Farrar Group
West Cumbria Mining
The Saville Group
- Advised Mamas & Papas — a baby and toddler equipment and clothing company — on a GDPR readiness project.
- Assisted Strata Homes — a residential property developer — with its GDPR implementation and also drafted terms and conditions for a new online configuration system.
- Engaged by software company RPC to prepare a complex master services agreement, plus training and notes, for a multi-service business to be administered by the internal contracts team.
Langleys Solicitors LLP
Langleys Solicitors LLP’s York-based corporate and commercial practice is a key adviser to a variety of regional SMEs and growth businesses. Practice head Tim Cross and associate Oliver King assist with commercial agreements, succession planning issues, inward investments, management buyouts and third-party disposals. Commercial property is a sector of focus for the group, and tech-intensive start-ups instruct the team on investment strategies. Former practice head Christian Hunt left for Bevan Brittan LLP.
‘Oliver King is an exceptionally conscientious, pragmatic, and personable solicitor. Always a pleasure to deal with, with an eye for taking commercially sensible points.‘
JigTalk App Limited
Zurich House Development Limited
Watermark Homes Limited
- Engaged by JigTalk App to handle a significant fundraising venture involving numerous international investors.
- Advising NetSells software development company on its investments in early-stage companies including Railguard Ltd, Bagboard Ltd and Your Healthpod Limited.
- Advising EquaGroup and its various SPVs on complex property development investment structures involving debt and equity products.
Ramsdens Solicitors LLP
Ramsdens Solicitors LLP’s corporate practice is headed up by Stephen Newman out of Huddersfield. Newman and Richard Dean maintain a portfolio of national owner-managed businesses and SMEs, which engage the team on capital demergers, strategic disposals and acquisitions, management buyouts and joint venture agreements. Recent work encompasses the textiles, nurseries, property and IT sectors.
‘A very good alternative in Yorkshire to the major firms for commercial support.‘
‘The firm has a wide spectrum of lawyers who specialise in every aspect of commercial law. Each member isn’t selfish- they willingly put you onto the right colleague with the right expertise that you require for your task. The team are dynamic, flexible and responsive. They break the conventional solicitor mould.‘
‘The solicitors I have worked with from senior partners to the paralegals have really gone out of the way to give me their advice and assistance. I really feel like they work diligently to get the outcome I require.‘
Dugdale Compounds Limited
Based in Harrogate, Raworths has a substantial roster of owner-managed businesses and a growing number of private equity-backed clients fielded from across the UK. Practice head Simon Morris, associate Thaynara Charlesworth and director Jon Healey (previously McCormicks’ corporate practice head) assist with strategic acquisitions, group reorganisations, partnership agreements, investment strategies and succession planning issues.
‘The team all know their specialisations and they also understand our businesses. They are quick to respond, do good work and their fees are sensible. I’ve used other firms before but never found another firm that is so compatible to ours.‘
‘The go-to firm for corporate and commercial advice in Harrogate and the surrounding area but also with international capability and competencies.‘
‘All of the members we have worked with are experts in their field, their advice and guidance is always aimed at not only ensuring the best outcome for us but also protecting our business long term. They are diligent and responsive to all changing elements of ongoing negotiations whilst proactively offering solutions to potential issues and highlighting areas of concern. They keep you updated on any progress and if there hasn’t been any they fully explain why which is refreshing. We continue to be impressed with Raworths and don’t see this changing!’
‘Very professional firm. Client focused and highly knowledgeable people.‘
‘Simon Morris has first-rate knowledge and is great at putting things in context and considering alternatives. Very effective.‘
‘We deal with Simon Morris and Thaynara Charlesworth for acquisitions; their knowledge is beyond compare and they are dedicated to delivering amazing service.‘
Celli Group (UK) Limited
Linley & Simpson Limited
Ashridge Ventures Limited
ATM Group Services Limited
Stage One Group Limited
A1 Engineering Solutions Group Limited
Eye Airports Limited
Gymfinity Kids Limited
HMC Premedical S.p.A
- Engaged by the owners of Higgidy to structure and implement a multimillion-pound strategic investment by food manufacturing company Samworth Brothers.
- Advised manufacturing company Celli Group on its acquisition of MF Refrigeration.
- Advising real estate company Linley & Simpson on a suite of strategic investments including the entire issued share capital of City Living.
Weightmans has notable expertise in commercial matters under practice head Victoria Robertson, with extensive knowledge of procurement, logistics and collaboration agreements across a broad spectrum of private and public sectors (notably acting for higher education clients and local authorities). The team also fields expertise in corporate reorganisations and succession planning projects involving commercial property assets.
‘They are available and flexible.’
‘Partner led engagements, personalised service and practivity.’
The Open University
Pro Academy Football
Alstom Transport UK
Liverpool Media Academy Ltd
ALM Affiliate Group
- Advised Affiliate Group on a cross-border corporate reorganisation comprising approximately 50 corporate, real estate and banking transactions.
- Advised Alstrom Transport UK on a suite of commercial contracts with Avanti West Coast; the new franchisee for the West Coast mainline.
- Advising Luxfer Group on a multimillion-pound contract with Siemens for the supply of technologies to be incorporated into trains across Europe.
Berwins has a notable client roster in the IT and software space, advising businesses local to Yorkshire and an increasing set of international names. Paul Berwin handles the breadth of transactional work with expertise in sales involving overseas buyers, boardroom issues and commercial contracting engagements.
Prodigi Group Limited
Citco Vilnius UAB
Belzona Polymerics Limited
Anthony Hodges Consulting Limited
Scaled Insights Limited
Oracle Asset Management Limited
Continuity Logic LLC
- Assisting corporate services company Citco Vilnius with board minutes, resolutions, agreements and the structuring of documents for the restriction of companies which have UK subsidies.
- Advising Scaled Insights, a subsidiary of a Canadian AI company, on a restructuring.
- Advised Tangle Angel on a matter relating to a distributor which wished to purchase into the company.
Practice head Lester Wilson is the key contact at DWF’s corporate and commercial practice. The team’s client base comprises local SMEs and national businesses, with expertise in equity capital markets, M&A and private equity deals.
Harrogate-based firm McCormicks recently recruited James Towler from an in-house position to head up the corporate and commercial department. The firm is a notable player in the sports sector under name partner Peter McCormick, though domestic companies in the leisure, hotel and hospitality sectors also engage the team. The practice routinely handles share sales and acquisitions, joint venture negotiations and corporate restructurings.
Other key lawyers:
‘McCormicks’ knowledge of professional sport in general and professional football in particular made them ideal legal partners. Their calm approach and attention to detail were perfect for what was a particularly complicated deal. James Towler and Emily Steed deserve special mention.‘
The Premier League
The Premier League Charitable Fund
Harrogate International Festivals Ltd
Leeds United Football Club Limited
Wycombe Wanderers Football Club Limited
Harrogate Town Football Club
City Football Group Limited
Norwich City Football Club
- Engaged by Wycombe Wanderers Football Club to handle the sale of a majority interest to a US investor.
- Assisting Leeds United Football Club with a range of commercial contracts, including for the supply of plaques and focal points at the new Centenary Square installation at Elland Road; an event and staging collaboration agreement; an agreement with Klarna bank; and various match day agreements.
- Advised Jeffrey Bonser on the sale of his shares in Walsall Football Club.