And the winner is…our Rainmaker of the Year Awards 2023

Andrew Feeke, MHA Moore and Smalley

The winner of the North West Rainmaker of the year for 2023 is MHA Moore And Smalley corporate partner Andrew Feeke.

Even a fire alarm and evacuation late into proceedings couldn’t stop the fun.

On winning the award tonight at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, he said:  “I am taken aback by this.

“We have done a lot of deals consistently and built the team out, who are doing really well.

“It has been a great year for us – last year, this year, and the coming year too.”

Around 400 corporate finance professionals gathered at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, on Thursday evening (15 June 2023) for the 2023 awards, which were hosted by stand-up comedian and author Ian Moore. The awards were headline sponsored by Aquis Exchange and Michael Page, with sponsors Gilbanks, Hall Brown Family Law, and Vertu.

Changemaker of the Year was Nicola Merritt, founder of Cortus Advisory, who said: “It’s a personal award, but it’s a team award too.

“Referrals and relationships are key and everyone in this room tonight helps each other out. It feels like being amongst friends, old and new.”

Cortus won three awards on the night, collecting the M&A deal of the year for their efforts on completing RSK’s string of acquisition.

Michael Taylor, editor, for the North West, said: “It was such a good night, and I really enjoyed meeting so many people from the region’s corporate finance community, proving once again that the region really is a powerful centre for funding and advice for the region’s risk takers and entrepreneurs.”

The event also raised money for the Ahead of the Game non-profit foundation formed in 2021 by Dave Bolton who had a terminal brain cancer diagnosis. The charity is supported by former Scotland football international Dominic Matteo and his wife Jess, and charity founder Dave Bolton, who were also there on the night.

All the winners were judged on a “one firm, one vote” basis following a shortlisting process in May held at Squire Patton Boggs.

The winners, Rainmaker Awards 2023

Category winners and shortlisted


WINNER: Andrew Feeke, MHA Moore and Smalley


Pete Barclay, WestBridge

Mark Clephan, EY

Gary Davison, TDC

Dominic Orsini, Houlihan Lokey

Peter Terry, Grant Thornton

Changemaker of the Year

WINNER: Nicola Merritt, Cortus


Claire Alvarez, Foresight

Hayley Brightmore-Cox

Beth Houghton, Palatine

Rebecca Rennison, EY

Victoria Stewart, The Alchemist


Rising Star

WINNER: Jacob Leone, LDC


James Crossman, CMS Law

James Kennedy, Cowgills

Katy Philips, DWF

Laura Sisson, YFM Equity Partners

Alex Stewart, Cortus Advisory




WINNER:  Addleshaw Goddard

DLA Piper



Hill Dickinson

Napthens Solicitors

Squire Patton Boggs


Corporate Finance

WINNER: Clearwater International



Grant Thornton

Houlihan Lokey


MHA Moore and Smalley


VC/Private Equity

WINNER: Palatine Private Equity













Santander UK




Transaction Services Team

WINNER: Cortus Advisory 


Knight Transaction Services


Dow Schofield Watts


Knight Transaction Services




Small Cap (under £15m)

WINNER: Maven’s acquisition of ProofID (Clearwater International, Maven Capital Partners)


Nanoco Group raised £5.65m through a share placing


NQ64 Arcade Bars secured £2.5m in growth capital from ThinCats

Browne Jacobson, Hill Dickinson LLP, ThinCats, Montane Finance, Pierce & Co


FourNet bought IT infrastructure business C>Ways

Palatine Private Equity, Gateley, Knight CF


Fletchers Solicitors acquired medical negligence specialist Minton Morrill

Addleshaw Goddard, Clarion Solicitors, Armstrong Watson CF, Dow Schofield Watts, Sun Capital


Biorelate secured £6.5m in a Series A investment.

Craig Corporate Management , Manchester Tech Trust, Maven, Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Triple Point Ventures, YFM


Space48 owner Dark Matter Commerce acquired Brave the Skies

Berwins, TLT, Cowgills, Foresight


Private Equity Exit

WINNER: WestBridge took a majority stake in Alpine Fire Engineers, investing £18.7m, while Soho Square Capital exited.

Addleshaw Goddard, Pinsent Masons, BDO, Blick Rothenberg, Clearwater International. Grant Thornton, Jamieson Corporate Finance, Soho Square Capital, WestBridge and Shawbrook.


Sykes Cottages acquired Forest Holidays Group from existing investors Phoenix Equity Partners and LDC.

Burness Paull, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells, Mayer Brown, Travers Smith, Clearwater International, FTI Consulting, Harris Williams & Co, Liberty Corporate Finance, Springboard CF


ECI Partners acquired IT support services company BCN Group from Beech Tree Private Equity.

DLA Piper, Squire Patton Boggs, Clearwater International, EY, PwC, Beech Tree Private Equity, ECI Partners.


TriSpan acquired a stake in Mowgli Street Food Group from Foresight.

BDO, Grant Thornton, Rising Stars LP, PwC, Foresight, TriSpan, OakNorth Bank.


LDC led a secondary buy-out of Horsefly from Mercia.

Brabners, Slater Heelis, Squire Patton Boggs, Grant Thornton, PwC, LDC, Mercia Fund Management.


Marlin Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in Cloud Technology Solutions from Northedge Capital.

Mayer Brown, Squire Patton Boggs, Marlin Equity Partners, NorthEdge.


Greene King bought Hickory’s Smokehouse from Piper Private Equity.

BDO, RSM, Piper Private Equity.



WINNER: RSK made seven acquisitions of consultancy businesses around the UK in six weeks.

Dow Schofield Watts, Cortus Advisory, DWF.


APEM acquired GoBe Consultants, supported by a £25m refinance from Virgin Money.

Capital Law, Wallace, BDO, Dow Schofield Watts, Virgin Money, WestBridge.


JD Sports Gyms bought Bolton-based Total Swimming.

Gateley, Hill Dickinson, Cowgills.


EG Group / Asda bought the fuel retail operations of Co-operative Group in a deal worth £605m.

Addleshaw Goddard, Rothschild.


Management buy out of Inprova Group.

NVM Private Equity, Shawbrook, DWF.


LDC acquired recruitment firm Talos360.

Houlihan Lokey, Addleshaw Goddard, DWF.



WINNER: Fishawack acquired American healthcare advisers Avalere Health.

Clearsight Advisors.


US private equity firm Silver Lake took a further 4.1% share in City Football Group, worth around $200m.

China Media Capital, Silver Lake.


RSK Group acquired Irish company Dermot Casey and French company ADEV Environment.

Dow Schofield Watts.


BluprintX bought American technology business IO Integration.


Distology acquired German technology firm Squareball Digital.



Catalyst Clinical Research, based in North Carolina, USA, bought Aptus Clinical.

Squire Patton Boggs.


Public Markets

WINNER: Sun European Partners bought K3 Capital Group for £270m.

Houlihan Lokey, Numis Securities, EY.


AO World raised £40m in a share placing.

Jefferies International, Numis Securities.


Tatton Asset Management acquired 50% of 8AM Global in a £7m deal, with half paid as new shares.

BDO, Zeus Capital, Singer Capital Markets.


Redx Pharma raised £34m through a share placing.

Panmure Gordon Corporate Finance, SPARK Advisory Partners, WG Partners.


Norcros raised £18m to support the £92m acquisition of Grant Westfield.

Eversheds, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Grant Thornton, Numis Securities, EY.


Dechra Pharmaceuticals raised £184m in a rights issue to support the purchase of American company Piedmont Animal Health for $210m.

EY, DLA Piper, Investec.


Private Company

WINNER: The Modern Milkman raised £50m in its Series C funding round.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher, ETF Partners, Insight Partners, Praetura Ventures.


ITS Technology Group secured £100m of funding from Aviva Investors.

BDB Pitmans, Dow Schofield Watts, RSM, Aviva Investors.


KPMG and Acceleris Capital formed a joint venture, focusing on businesses in technology, life sciences and ESG-related sectors.

Pinsent Masons.


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