Leading law firm Penningtons Manches announced its most successful 12 months ever with its last financial results. The firm’s Oxford office, based in Oxford Business Park, was a key contributor to overall growth and continues to build on these achievements in 2018.
The corporate team remains in high demand, completing a number of large and complex deals. These included advising the shareholders of Banbury-based Norbar Torque Tools group of companies on its $72 million sale to New York Stock Exchange listed Snap-On Inc. The transaction was led by corporate partner David Tighe.
Other significant local deals involved prominent Oxford University spinouts. These included Oxford Gene Technology, which the team advised on its acquisition by global diagnostics company Sysmex, and artificial intelligence business Diffblue, which the team advised on its first significant round of venture capital funding.
These deals reflect the excellent connections Penningtons Manches has built with Oxford University and its related commercial spinouts, establishing its reputation as a leading provider of legal services to the technology sector, particularly among life sciences businesses. At the end of 2017, the firm launched an in-depth report on the funding of UK university spinouts that revealed those from Oxford University had attracted the most equity investment in the period reviewed.
A second report released last month, examining inward investment from Silicon Valley into the UK’s tech ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London, has received significant attention in the market, and in the media. Tech partner Nicola McConville, is a prominent figure in the region, with strong links to Oxford Innovation, the TechTonic networking group and the annual VentureFest conference.
The Oxford commercial property team has also built on its experience in the sector, acting for Oxford Nanopore, one of the most successful multi-national life sciences businesses in the region, in relation to its new production facility at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The European Space Agency is also a client of the team and having acted on the new lease and construction of its new UK HQ building at Harwell, it has been advising the ESA on a further lease for a new laboratory on the campus. This will be used for R&D on technology required for human and robotic exploration of Mars, asteroids and the Moon.
Penningtons Manches’ charities practice is based out of the Oxford office and has experienced very impressive growth since it was established in 2016. Led by partner Alison Talbot, recognised as a top specialist in the not-for-profit sector, the team has particular expertise in crisis management work, advising on a number of complex and high-profile cases. Earlier this Spring, the team hosted an innovative conference on charitable legacies that attracted high-level representatives from the UK’s largest charities. The event followed on from a pioneering research report, published by the team last year, which looked at the relationship between legacy officers and probate practitioners.
The office’s litigation specialists continue to act for a wide range of clients who are being investigated or prosecuted by regulators, handling these often sensitive cases alongside the commercial cases on which they have built their reputation. The commercial and employment teams are also flourishing.
Penningtons Manches’ nationally acclaimed family department has a thriving team in Oxford that currently acts in some of the country’s leading high-profile cases. The Oxford office’s private client department also has a first-rate practice working with a large number of high-net-worth individuals.
The firm’s presence in the Thames Valley is further strengthened by its office in Reading. Clients also benefit from a distinct team-based, collaborative approach that means each of its offices (other sites include London, Guildford and Cambridge) provides access to the entire breadth and depth of the firm’s expertise.