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Brabners Named Most Active M&A Legal Adviser

Brabners Named Most Active M&A Legal Adviser

Friday 4th May 2018

Corporate team advised on 14 North West deals in the first quarter of 2018

Brabners, the independent legal practice, has been named the most active M&A legal adviser in the North West and the sixth most active in the UK for the first quarter of 2018 in an independent report by Experian.

Brabners’ corporate team completed a total of 23 M&A transactions in the first quarter of the year, a 44 per cent increase on the same period in 2017. This included 14 deals in the North West and saw the firm support businesses across all sectors of the economy, including supply chain and logistics, automotive, real estate and property services, tech and professional services.  

Notable deals include: acting on the sale of Premium Medical Protection Limited and Harley Street Insurance Group Limited to MedPro Group, a US provider of healthcare malpractice insurance and a member of the Berkshire Hathaway group, for whom this was the first UK acquisition; advising Gas Tag as it secured private equity investment from Waterland Private Equity, the first investment made by Waterland through its new UK office; acting on the sale of Partner Group UK Limited, a high-growth business with a £100m order book and profit growth of nearly 200% in the prior year, to the Fast Flow Group; and acting for the shareholders of  Hydrokem, a private company that blends and fills the contents of aerosol cans for use the personal care, household, janitorial and medical sectors - having acted on the original MBO 13 years ago.

The results, which rank the most active legal and financial advisers across the UK by deal volume, also reflect the team’s growing prominence outside of the region. Brabners was named the fifth most active legal adviser in Yorkshire for the first time and secured a top 10 ranking in the Midlands.

Mark Rathbone, partner and head of corporate in Liverpool, said: “The trends we’re seeing in the North West are largely in line with UK-wide M&A activity. More businesses are looking to create value through investment, whether in acquisition or in scaling up existing operations. We’re working closely with management teams, business owners and investors as they implement increasingly creative, ambitious and entrepreneurial strategies to create growth and value.

“The first quarter has been one of our busiest to date. We’ve supported clients on transactions ranging from sales mandates to securing investment and driving acquisitions in lateral markets. We’re seeing serial acquirers as some mid-market funded businesses embark on a UK buy-and-build strategy to drive growth.

“While we’ve supported clients across the UK, the North West is the epicenter of our activity. The transactional market in the North West is increasingly strong, with a highly competitive funding market to fuel it, and today challenges the South East for its level of deal activity. I believe we have significantly more private equity houses on the ground than any other area in the north and a growing number of business angels who are better networked, better resourced and have greater transactional capacity. This means there is substantial investment-ready cash to help businesses right across the region – from the hubs of Manchester and Liverpool to smaller towns across Cheshire and Lancashire.

“Transactions are not restricted to one or two sectors of the economy, either. We’re supporting clients in industries as diverse as tech, maritime, automotive, property services, hotels and leisure and professional services. We have seen an upsurge in investment in online businesses, having this year advised Applearn, Autopaid, Fatsoma and Wooshii in their fund-raising activity, with ongoing raises drawing to a close in the next month for a further four companies. In this area we are seeing North West-based businesses venturing further from the region to access their funding, to London and indeed the US. Interest from overseas investors is testament to the potential of the region’s burgeoning tech sector, which again fuels the interest from UK private equity houses.

“Tech is one of the most attractive sectors to invest in today. By the nature of online sales activity, the ability to reach markets across the globe means that Brexit becomes less of a concern. However, we would expect towards the back end of this year that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit will become of greater priority and a slowdown in transactional activity at that stage would not be a surprise.

“With deal activity strong in the short term, and a strong pipeline of work in place, we’re looking forward to helping our clients as they continue to implement their long-term growth strategies.”