The Legal 500 Highlights: Penningtons Manches LLP: ‘Strong track record’

    Corporate & commercial

    The ‘excellent and commercial’ team at Penningtons Manches is recommended as being ‘unfailingly prompt and thorough in their responses, giving clear and actionable advice’ and ‘good at understanding business context’. The team has a track record of advising growth companies, with strong relationships with Touchstone Innovations and Oxford University Innovation.

    The practice is also noted for its work on high-profile venture capital and spin-out transactions; recent highlights include Rob Hayes advising Veryan Holdings on its equity investment from a syndicate of institutional investors and debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank and David Tighe acting for equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs on its new funding round with a follow-on investment by Woodford Investment Management.

    Life sciences continues to be another area of specialism for the firm in the Thames Valley; technology and life sciences expert Will Axtell advised the management team of Timico on a £50 million investment from Lyceum Capital and Chris Shelley advised the shareholders of Oxford Gene Technology on its acquisition by Sysmex Corporation.

    Other key figures in the team include James Went, Nicola McConville, Justin Starling and Joanne Vengadesan.

    In Surrey, Penningtons Manches fields a team of ‘excellent all-round deal lawyers‘. The national head of corporate, Simon Bickerdike, ‘is a standout individual – a true trusted adviser‘, who advises on both domestic and cross-border acquisitions, management buyouts and share sales. The team also attracts high-value MBOs and fundraising mandates, often with multi-jurisdictional aspects. It advised the shareholders of a group of Criterion companies on the sale of its entire issued share capital to Charles Taylor, a deal valued at up to £13m. It also assisted APA Publications with its acquisition of the Rough Guides from Dorling Kindersley.

    David Kendall, who handles the gamut of corporate transactions, especially those involving technology and IP, ‘could confidently take the lead in any negotiation‘. The ‘calm, collected, intelligent, experienced and commercially astute‘ Philip Walton is highlighted for his experience in the venture capital and private equity spheres; senior associate Liz Gillingham is also noted as is associate Hannah McIIwraith, who ‘is always up to speed with transactions, very knowledgeable and approachable‘.

    Commercial litigation

    Penningtons Manches conducts large-scale complex litigation in a range of areas, including regulatory compliance, investigation and enforcement work, and acts on matters in the education and retail sectors; it also has a strong track record for representing the victims of interest rate mis-selling.

    Julie Bond, who heads the Oxford commercial disputes team, specialises in commercial and corporate disputes, with an emphasis on regulatory work, professional negligence cases and fraud. Bond acted for the Pirbright Institute in respect of a factually complex negligence claim arising from a “vishing” raid, which involved claims under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and has also been advising Sum-It on a potential claim against HMRC for breach of statutory duty alongside senior associate Emma Davies.

    Regulatory law expert Ed Weightman returned to the practice after a five-year stint with energy regulator Ofgem, where he was head of enforcement casework. Senior associate Rebecca Andrews-Walker is recognised for her expertise in insolvency and recoveries matters and contentious bankruptcy proceedings.

    Employment

    The ‘highly regarded‘ team at Penningtons Manches LLP is valued for its ‘responsive and pragmatic‘ approach. It handles matters covering the spectrum of employment and data protection issues, predominantly for employers. Recent work includes handling a novel claim regarding the transfer of vicarious liability for the actions of employees; boardroom disputes; the integration of employees following mergers and acquisitions, as well as various grievance and discrimination matters for national and international clients.

    Michael Cole is ‘exceptionally talented on all fronts, with tactical nous and a willingness to test the frontiers of settled law‘. He undertakes the resolution of all types of employment issues assisted by associate Elizabeth Cardy for clients including Blue Oil Energy, Intrinsic Technologies, Wurth UK and Fullbrook Ventures t/a Bernard Sims Associates.

    In Hampshire, ‘the overall level of service is phenomenal, the advice given is tailored to the business and has a view to the commercial‘ issues at stake. David Bickford heads a department that acts largely for employer clients and handles cases concerning whistleblowing, liability for holiday pay, discrimination actions and senior employee exits. In recent work, it has dealt with an harassment case in the film industry and separately advised on the dismissal of two board directors amid allegations of corruption. Chris Syder, whose expertise includes gender pay matters, is ‘very responsive’ and has a ‘pragmatic‘ approach. Gemma Woodhouse and associate Katie Glendinning are ‘knowledgeable and personable and meticulous with their case preparation‘.

    Commercial property

    Penningtons Manches is strong for work in the retail and leisure sector, large-scale development projects, and education and environmental and planning law, with a client base including multinational corporates, universities and entrepreneur developers such as Frontier Estates, Fitness First and Berendsen UK.

    Richard Smith heads the team and leads the environmental and planning law group. Smith advised St Peter’s College, Oxford, on the purchase of several properties on New Inn Hall Street and acted for the European Space Agency on its acquisition of a new office at Harwell Science Campus.

    Simon Knott has assisted White Stuff with the acquisition, disposal and day-to-day management of various high-street stores and warehousing centres.

    Technology

    Penningtons Manches is strong for handling complex technology transactions, advising on hi-tech manufacturing agreements and acting for IT suppliers in support of their sales processes.

    One high-profile matter has seen Joanne Vengadesan assisting Bluepointlondon with its £100m ‘SmartCity’ project to upgrade the electric vehicle charging point infrastructure and install hundreds of new charging points to extend the network. Other highlights included advising Tectrade Computers on contracts with its customers and advising Tata Advanced Systems on a technology purchase agreement in relation to a high-tech manufacturing matter and licence agreements for a joint venture involving prototype technologies. London-based Anna Frankum and Oxford partner Chris Shelley jointly lead the practice.

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