Top ranking for Ward Hadaway’s Corporate team
14th January 2014
WARD Hadaway was the most active deal-making North East law firm of last year, an independent survey has revealed.
Research from respected financial information provider Experian Corpfin puts the UK Top 100 firm at the top of a list of corporate deal-makers across the region for the 2013, ranked by the number of transactions each firm has been involved with.
In the 12 months to the end of December, Ward Hadaway advised on 18 transactions involving businesses with a North East connection, four ahead of its nearest rival in the region.
High-profile deals which Ward Hadaway advised on in 2013 included the stock market flotation of Applied Graphene Materials, the £22m investment in Newcastle-based global recruitment specialist Nigel Frank International by ISIS Equity Partners and HSBC Bank plc.and the sale of iconic Northumberland fishing tackle maker Hardy & Greys.
The firm’s Corporate team also provided legal advice on the sale of online learning company Creating Careers to outsourcing giant Capita plc, an investment in Express Engineering by private equity company LDC and the sale of marine insurer Seacurus Ltd to Barbican Group Holdings Ltd, amongst a host of other transactions.
Martin Hulls, Partner and Head of Corporate at Ward Hadaway, said: “Thank you to all our clients who trusted us to handle their transactions for them, we wish them continued success in 2014 and beyond.
“This is a fantastic performance by the team who have worked incredibly hard throughout the past 12 months.
“As well as a reflection of their skills, expertise and experience it also demonstrates the ambition, vision and determination of a wide range of businesses based in the North East.
“The Experian Corpfin survey is widely recognised as the definitive survey of M&A activity so it is very pleasing to see ourselves at the top of the table of most active law firms for the past year.
“It also reflects the upturn in the wider North East economy over the last 12 months with overall deal activity is on the rise, both in terms of the number of deals being carried out and their value.”
The survey showed that during 2013, North East deal numbers rose by 21.8% to 173 with transaction values jumping by 79.86% to reach £1.9bn.
Mid-market deals – involving values of £10m to £100m – rose by 25% to £838m, the highest value recorded since 2007, while large deals involving values of £100m-plus doubled to four from two in 2012.
The resurgent strength of the region’s manufacturing industry was also demonstrated by the fact that 38.7% of all North East deals during 2013 involved businesses within the sector.
Martin Hulls said: “Looking at these figures, there is much to be optimistic about when it comes to the health and robustness of the North East economy after what has been a very challenging past few years.
“The region’s resilience has been tested in recent times and the findings of the survey bear out what we have been saying about recovery in the North East.
“Prospects for the coming year also look encouraging and we aim to be playing our part in helping businesses of all kinds to achieve their objectives for 2014.”
The Experian Corpfin Advisor League Tables and M&A Activity report takes in transactions from January 1 to December 31 2013, covering transactions with a deal value of £500,000 and above.