Moore Barlow’s corporate team has completed a record period of activity, having advised on deals with a combined value of more than £830 million during the 16-week period to April 5 – an average of one deal per week.
Led by corporate partner Jeremy Over, the team supported businesses across multiple industries – from technology, hospitality, media and healthcare, to security, transport and logistics – as they looked to crystallise their growth ambitions.
During the three-month period preceding the 2021 budget, the team saw transactions and deal-making volume increase significantly as investors looked to reduce the impact of capital gains tax increases that had been rumoured to be introduced.
Deals in March included the team acting for the buyer of Hampshire-based care provider, Auckland Care, on a management buyout backed by finance provider ThinCats; and in February the team supported Southampton-headquartered New Path Fire and Security on its complementary acquisition of Advance Security.
Technology, media and telecommunications remained an active sector for the firm with the team advising ThirdSpace, the UK’s leading professional services provider of Microsoft identity and cyber security solutions, as it joined forces with TiG, one of the leading cloud, data analytics and managed services providers to the financial services sector.
This followed the flotation of Bytes Technology Group on the London Stock Exchange in December, a deal that valued the business at £780m. This was the largest single deal the team supported during the period and marked the high point of Moore Barlow’s 20-year relationship with Bytes, during which Peter Jeffery’s team has advised on myriad legal matters including disposals, acquisitions, disputes and contracts.
Commenting on the unprecedented period, Over said: “Despite firms spending the last three months in their third national lockdown, the sheer scale and value of deals we have supported showcase the drive and determination of many businesses to push ahead regardless. The increase in deals in the run-up to the March budget is also a clear indication of the impact potential policy announcements have on deal-making decisions.
“It’s encouraging to see deals across a variety of sectors, and our support of businesses in the technology, media and telecommunications sector is indicative of the demand we’re seeing for resilient firms with sustainable business models. Increased competition is pushing valuations upwards, and it is definitely a sellers’ market as we head into the second quarter of the year.
“Looking ahead, we have a strong pipeline of activity and are expecting to see more interest from business owners seeking to buy or sell a company, in addition to those wanting to raise finance to drive growth. For many of our clients, the support of a legal partner that not only understands the sector they operate in, but also their local market, is imperative to achieving a successful completion and we’re looking forward to continuing our support of ambitious businesses across the South of England.”
The 22-strong corporate team at Moore Barlow is one of the largest in the South of England. With offices in Guildford, Southampton, Lymington, Working, Richmond and London, the team is well placed to support clients in London and along the M3 corridor, as well as around the South Coast.