Commercial law firm reports flurry of deals during lockdown

Paul Medlicott

The North West corporate team at Addleshaw Goddard has completed its 10th major deal within the past eight weeks, which it says proves there is significant scope for transactions to take place despite ongoing concerns for the UK economy.

The team has seen opportunities across the market, including M&A, equity capital markets, and private equity, as companies look for additional liquidity to allow for strategic acquisitions or investments, for the opportunity for business owners to de-risk, or for new ways to restructure and secure their businesses.

Fundraisings, in particular, are proving to be popular with quoted companies looking for an efficient way to strengthen their balance sheets and also provide themselves with capital to seize opportunities in the times ahead.

In May, the team completed three equity fundraisings in the space of a week, with the £67.3m fundraising by On the Beach, which came after a £197.7m fundraising by Boohoo, and the £32.6m fundraising by Scapa.

This was supplemented by the all share merger of Karpus Management Inc and City of London Investment Group, Bruntwood’s acquisition of a 25% stake in Sciontec Developments, which operates Liverpool Science Park, and the sale of the oncology business of Alderley Park to Phoenix Private Equity-backed Sygnature Discovery.

Private equity work has also remained resilient in the region, with deals including acting for Livingbridge on its investment in TitanHQ, Literacy Capital Partners on its investment in Vanilla Electronics, the P2P of Be Heard Partnership backed by LDC’s MSQ Partnership, and the bolt-on of Top3Legal by Inflexion-backed Chambers and Partners.

Paul Medlicott, partner in Addleshaw Goddard’s corporate team, said: “We ended Q1 going into lockdown on the back of completing some fantastic PE and M&A transactions, such as the sale of Fishawack by LDC to Bridgepoint and PZ Cussons’ sale of its Nutricima and Luksja brands, but the market very quickly paused at the start of April.

“After a hiatus where businesses focused on understanding the challenges of entering lockdown, we are now seeing many clients seizing the new opportunities this provided.

“Now, as we enter the second half of 2020, we expect to see this trend continue, as companies with strong balance sheets get ready to push on with their expansive strategies.

“This, coupled with banks and debt funds better understanding their balance sheets, will undoubtedly unlock further transactional activity across the North West and beyond moving forward.”

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