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Corporate and commercial: Sheffield, South Yorkshire in Yorkshire And The Humber

DLA Piper

DLA Piper fields a premier corporate practice with a focus on private M&A and equity capital markets transactions. Practice head Rob McKie, Richard May and David Beech handle headline deals across the breadth of sectors; recent highlights encompass the oil and gas, manufacturing, media and retail industries. Complex corporate restructurings and high-value fundraising ventures are also strong areas of focus. Commercial contracts and distribution agreements are handled by a market-leading team, led by Roger Gough, for a stand-alone roster of international clients in the retail, food and drink, consumer goods and manufacturing sectors.

Practice head(s):

Rob McKie; Roger Gough

Other key lawyers:

Richard May; David Beech; Liam Freeman


A highly commercial, pragmatic team, offering excellent value for money and a first-class service.

Strengths are clarity/brevity of advice and understanding of our priorities. I always appreciate to the point, clear advice which directly answers a question being asked.

The go-to firm for corporate support. Capable of dealing with complex cross-border matters.

Straightforward, down to earth and approachable.

Richard May stands out as a corporate partner that inspires total confidence and this can be found throughout his highly competent team.

I could not rate Liam Freeman and Richard May more highly. Pragmatic, timely and clear advice was always given, and DLA prioritised our deal to the highest degree. I would not hesitate to recommend either Richard or Liam. What makes them stand out is the prioritisation of our deal and willingness to help at a moment’s notice.

Key clients


Tes Global

Unlimited group

Anglo African Oil & Gas Plc

Anglo Tunisian Oil & Gas Ltd

University of Sheffield

Iconic Labs plc

Play Sports Group Ltd

Avanti Gas Ltd

Heineken UK Ltd

Westland Horticulture

Reckitt Benckiser


THE World Universities Insights


Ibstock Brick



Westland Horticulture

Zoo Digital Group plc

Work highlights

  • Advised US manufacturing company Arconic on the £62m sale of its UK subsidiary Firth Rixson Forgings to Arlington Capital Partners.
  • Advised health consultancy and communications agency Unlimited Group on the stock sale of its US subsidiary Creston to Next Fifteen Communications Group for £45m.
  • Acted for Tes Global on the share acquisition of Australian-based educational software company Adval Education.


The corporate and commercial team at CMS is noted for its particularly broad offering which spans high-value multijurisdictional deals and complex local transactions for private equity-backed and privately owned businesses. Significant client wins for practice co-head Ben Hendry included household-name supermarkets, retail chains and REITs, while co-head Gareth Saynor undertakes complex portfolio sales in the student accommodation sector, and corporate restructurings in the steel and care home industries. Senior associate Caroline Walker assists with venture capital investments in the technology sector.

Practice head(s):

Ben Hendry; Gareth Saynor

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Walker; Nick Hopper


The team is dedicated and committed to delivering a consistently high-quality service to its clients. They have strength and depth of resource, and partner availability is particularly noticeable. They are our go-to corporate advisers.

Gareth Saynor is a superb lead partner. Good-humoured, knowledgeable and pragmatic, he is invaluable in any transaction. Gareth has a strong team supporting him, including the similarly natured Nick Hopper, whose technical legal advice and attention to detail is second to none.

Key clients

NG Bailey

Civitas Social Housing PLC

GRI Group

Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME)

Select Property Group

City Taxis

British Steel


Corviglia Capital

CCL Stressing Systems

Feld Entertainment

Holland & Barrett Limited

Galliford Try


Yorkshire Premier Meat

Westfield Health



Hendy Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Vita Group on its £600m portfolio sale of Vita Student assets to a real estate fund owned by DWS.
  • Advised Hendy Automotive on the acquisition of Westover Automotive’s entire issued share capital.
  • Advised Westfield Health on the acquisition of High Five Intenz Group (a corporate gym operator) from Kienstra Sport BV.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP’s corporate and commercial practice is spearheaded by Peter Crawford, whose recent highlights included high-value management buyouts, disposals and minority investment rounds. The group's client list includes a variety of high-growth technology businesses alongside regional manufacturing and engineering clients. Director Lisa Wallis is another stand-out name; she has recently handled acquisitions in the care home sector and exits for selling shareholders.

Practice head(s):

Peter Crawford

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Wallis

Key clients

The Floow Limited

The InfoTrack Group

Careport Group

The Arkote Group

SCX Limited

Additive Manufacturing Technologies

Pro Display TM Limited

TES Group Limited

Advanced Alloy Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the management team on Advanced Alloy Services’ management buyout.
  • Acted for Additive Manufacturing Technologies on its £5.2m funding round.
  • Acted for the selling shareholders of DMR Seals Group on the £7.2m disposal of the company.


Keebles’ corporate and commercial practice receives a steady stream of transactions from clients in the local and national markets. Recent highlights for practice head Matt Ainsworth included disposals in the care home sector and mid-cap acquisitions in the aviation sector. Paul Trudgill and Michael Hall handle a high volume of M&A transactions, shareholder agreements and commercial engagements in the manufacturing, engineering, energy and education sectors.

Practice head(s):

Matt Ainsworth


A great blend of high-level technical expertise and experience allied with being easy to deal with.

Strong team led by Matt Ainsworth, who is very highly regarded and top class. Paul Trudgill and Mike Hall are also excellent. Behind them is great support from the likes of James Burdekin.

Key clients

Cathelco Limited

Pressure Technologies plc

Ask4 Limited

Nationwide Stainless Holdings Limited

Pattonair Europe Limited

Awaze Group

Independent Forgings & Alloys Limited

Advanced Alloy Services Limited

Bluebrick Healthcare

Wyndham Worldwide

Work highlights

  • Advised Cathelco (part of manufacturing company Evac Group) on its acquisition of Transvac Environmental Systems.
  • Advised manufacturing company Pressure Technologies on the disposal of its alternative energy division, PT Biogas Holdings (trading as Greenlane Biogas) to Creation Capital for £11.1m.
  • Advised the shareholders of Blue Brick Healthcare on the £18m disposal of two care homes to Target Healthcare, with a lease to care home operator, Maria Mallaband Care Group.

Lupton Fawcett

The key names in Lupton Fawcett’s Sheffield office are practice head Michele Phillips and tax expert Sarah Illidge. Phillips is also head of the firm-wide education team and routinely advises academies, colleges, trusts and other higher education establishments on corporate governance issues and transactions. The team also regularly handles the breadth of corporate work, including management buyouts, M&A and group reorganisations.

Practice head(s):

Michele Phillips

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Illidge


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.

Key clients

Catfoss Finance Limited

Hand Picked Hotels Limited

Age Partnership Limited

Pure Retirement Limited

Mondi AG

Northern Bloc Ice Cream Ltd

BetterYou Ltd

Toiletry Sales Group Ltd

Cirteq Limited

The Templand Group Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for the selling shareholders of M. P. Smith & Co Limited on the company’s disposal.
  • Advised Globachem on the purchase of Redag Crop Properties Limited.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited

Led by Duncan Shepherd, Wake Smith Solicitors Limited’s corporate and commercial practice acts for an extensive roster of clients in the Yorkshire manufacturing sector, with further expertise in the IT, hospitality, automotive and healthcare industries. Shepherd and John Baddeley handle the full range of transactions (including management buyouts, sale and leasebacks and share acquisitions) as well as commercial contracting issues and licensing arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Shepherd

Other key lawyers:

John Baddeley


John Baddeley is an outstanding lawyer and adviser.

Excellent support at all times in all areas.

John Baddeley is charming and ruthless at the same time.

Key clients

Gala Technology

Sunnybarn Investments Ltd

Red Industries Ltd

HSBC UK Bank plc

Yorkshire Bank

Exol Lubricants Ltd

Moody Direct Ltd

Granville Oil & Chemicals Ltd

PBS Group Ltd

Evolution Power Tools Ltd

Swann Morton


Embody Orthopaedic Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Red Industries on the acquisition of Environmental Resource Group for £23.5m and a £14m equity and loan investment by BGF.
  • Advised the management buyout team of Juratek on the company’s acquisition for £2.5m.
  • Advised the shareholders of Freight Despatch Worldwide on the disposal of share capital in the company.

Bell & Buxton

Bell & Buxton provides corporate and commercial advice to its extensive client roster under the leadership of Alex Ross. Typical engagements encompass corporate and M&A work, partnership and shareholder agreements, distribution contracts and corporate finance advice. The team also works closely with the commercial property department to provide advice on site acquisitions and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Alex Ross


Small team of long-standing partners who actually care about people.

I have recently worked with the firm and have been impressed with the all-round knowledge and service. Their involvement compares favourably with my previous experiences with other firms in similar transactions.

We always find any members of the team easy to talk to and feel that we can contact any of them at any time.

The team have a good knowledge of my family business, it’s history and how we as a family like to do business. We always feel welcome and able to ask questions and get advice.

Alex Ross is a very competent commercial lawyer, cares about people, able to form strong relationships based on trust.

Alex Ross provided a tailored and cost-efficient service to us, and we were extremely impressed with the quality of legal advice that we received. Alex is a commercially astute and driven member of the team and truly helped my family and I through a difficult time by successfully selling our family business. Alex clearly had a deep understanding of our family business and the sector in which we operate and had excellent communication skills. Alex was a pleasure to work with and I would certainly use him again in the future.

Work highlights

  • Acted for two individuals on the sale of their nursing home company to Gresham Limited.
  • Acted for the sellers of M&G Olympic Products on the sale of the company and premises to Vulcan Industries.
  • Advised an individual on the sale of a logistics company in a corporate buy-back.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell’s corporate and commercial practice head Laurence Gavin advises a broad roster of fund managers, third-sector clients and local corporates. The team's strong regulatory knowledge is applied to fund administrations, FCA compliance issues and corporate reorganisations; it also handles mid-cap share acquisitions and sales. Clients also take advantage of the firm’s competition law knowledge on complex merger clearance work.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Gavin


‘The team if very responsive and able to quickly turn work around. They are succinct and able to focus on the key points which is vital in an in house role which often needs to provide a high level response to the business with the legal detail to follow behind the scenes.’

‘Regardless of how large or small the work is Laurence Gavin provides a prompt service and ensures we feel we are a valued client.’


Key clients

British Chambers of Commerce

Biovation UK Ltd

Bruker UK Ltd

Cepac Limited

Key Fund

Maltby Learning Trust

Meadowhall Education Centre

Peak Indicators

South Essex College

Sheffield City Trust

Sheffield Futures

Sheffield International Venues Limited

P.A. Jewellery Limited

Motorway Direct plc

Thesis Asset Management Limited

Westfield Health

Whitby Seafoods Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised two individuals on the sale of their technology company to a trade buyer.
  • Advised Maltby Learning Trust on the transfer of Wath Comprehensive School into the trust.
  • Advised Thesis Asset Management on financial services compliance matters relating to its unit trusts and other authorised funds.

Taylor & Emmet LLP

Taylor & Emmet LLP is a key name for owner-managed businesses in the South Yorkshire region. Practice head Rob Moore recently advised on management buy-ins and majority share sales for retail, software and accountancy clients. The team is also experienced in shareholder negotiations, loan agreements other commercial issues, and has expertise in IP and construction-related mandates.

Practice head(s):

Rob Moore