Corporate & commercial
Sean Kelly heads the team at Pitmans, which handles a range of transactions, principally in the private company M&A arena but with an increasing weight of expertise in private equity and cross-border transactions.
Clients of the practice include Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, Westcoast Group and Bridges Fund Management. IPO and AIM listing expert Oliver Pilkington is recommended for his ‘outstanding service’ and for ‘explaining any issue and decisions to be made very clearly with a recommendation on the option to take’. Pilkington assisted finnCap as nomad and broker to K3 Capital Group in relation to the latter’s IPO and associated £17.8 million fundraising, and advised Sipsmith on its partnership with Beam Suntory, from conception and initial fundraising right through to partnership.
Stephanie Perry advised Key2 on its £9.5m sale to Horizon Care and Education Group. ‘Commercial, intellectual and driven’ managing partner John Hutchinson continues to be a significant figure in the practice, having previously headed the team. Philip Weaver routinely offers advice to high-tech companies on M&A, fundraising, shareholder issues and commercial agreements. Roger Gregory divides his time between Reading and London and is renowned for US and European mandates, concentrating on M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions.
In Southampton, Pitmans advises on M&A matters, private equity and debt financing. Its expertise covers leveraged buyins and buyouts, investment and equity funding as well as corporate reorganisations. In one highlight, it acted for Panoramic Growth Equity on its investment into Majestic Polymers and DSA Chemicals via a management buyout/buyin; the team handled the acquisition, equity and banking aspects of the deal. Other clients include Red Funnel Group Ferries, Altitude Partners and ITS Technology Group. Oliver Kelly heads the group and Sean Kelly has expertise across all aspects of corporate and commercial work.
‘The level of service is always great’ at Pitmans, which has a ‘focused, personal and commercial’ approach and is ‘excellent value for money’.
The real estate practice is seen as a market leader for residential development work, with the team acting on CALA Homes’ acquisition of various residential sites with an aggregate value above £100m and other substantial projects for Bewley Homes and Montreaux Developments.
Practice head Delphine Mehouas‘ expertise includes contracts and options, strategic land purchase, collaboration agreements and joint ventures; she recently acted for Vanderbilt Thames Valley on the purchase of land in Dunsford with the benefit of planning permission for 42 dwellings. On the commercial side, Mehouas also acted for Waylands Automotive on the negotiation of a 20-year lease with Volvo for a new dealership in Reading with two car showrooms.
Other key members of the team include Paul Brame, Sarah Potter, Marcus McCluggage and ‘commercial lawyer with a can-do attitude‘ Paul Murray.
In Southampton, Pitmans’ team is ‘good at identifying the key commercial points and good at negotiating those‘ and is ‘excellent all round and responsive and pragmatic‘. Senior partners John Newton and Nick Todd are ‘able to apply commercially workable solutions to legal problems‘.
The team has an established specialism in matters concerning harbours, foreshore, docks and marinas, and farms and agricultural estates. The group also handles the sale, acquisition and letting of freehold and leasehold property together with options and conditional agreements. It is assisting ferry company Red Funnel with negotiations for the purchase and redevelopment of a substantial part of East Cowes.
‘First-class‘ Pitmans is recommended for its ‘sector knowledge, turnaround times, commercial rates, personable team and overall level of service’. Commercial litigator Phil Smith heads the firm’s IT and telecoms offering, advising big-name clients including Sky, Humax and Symantec. Tim Clark acts on contentious IT disputes, particularly those relating to cyber security and breaches thereof, and is currently advising Dutch YouTube services company Zoom.In on the UK aspects of a dispute with MNN.
On the advisory side, Philip Weaver has been handling the renewal of licence and maintenance agreements for KAI Computer Services and giving legal guidance on GDPR compliance to the UK arm of an international business which manufactures electronics and hardware.
‘Highly personable’ legal adviser Marie Evrard has wide-ranging expertise in areas including data protection compliance, software and master service agreements, with one recommendation that ‘in such a “dry” subject it helps that Marie has a great sense of humour and is a great relationship builder’.