As Experian publishes its deal figures for 2020 – and Shoosmiths seeing its deal volume grow by 16% and ranked at 7th in the UK – head of corporate division Stephen Porter takes a look at what it means for the firm’s corporate work.
Experian’s headline – celebrating the resilience of the UK’s mergers and acquisition market during the pandemic and highlighting its “startling recovery” – hits the nail on the head, and certainly reflects Shoosmiths’ experience through 2020 as our dealmakers have continued to deliver high quality, transformative deals for our clients notwithstanding the headwinds of Brexit, COVID-19 and the general economic uncertainty.
2020, more than any other year in recent memory, is one in which businesses that are sufficiently flexible and agile enough have prospered and continued to seek growth opportunities. Clients demand similar flex from their advisory teams, and we have been quick to adjust to the new deal-making norms, reflecting, in Experian’s words “to the logistical difficulties of completing transactions in the COVID-19 era”.
Although our deal volumes have increased significantly, the numbers only reveal part of the true picture. We are equally proud of the fantastic quality of the deals that we acted on across the range of corporate work, from private equity, venture capital to M&A (cross-border and domestic), the complexity of the work that we have undertaken and the roster of new high-profile clients we have won. Shoosmiths saw in 2020 a substantial, 180%, increase in the number of transactions we advised on with a deal value greater than £50m, a large number of which had a cross-border element.
Here are just a few examples of the recent work our corporate team acted on:
- Five Arrows Principal Investments and Five Arrows Capital Partners, the European and US private equity arms of Rothschild & Co in relation to a significant new investment into Texthelp, a global leader in education technology.
- Moorfield Group on its £125m partnership with Allegra Care, the specialist care home operator owned by Seniors Living Group.
- Hexagon Metrology Inc on its acquisition of Romax Technology Limited, a leading provider of Computer Aided Engineering.
- Advising Octopus Energy on the acquisition of Upside Energy Limited.
- LDC and management on the sale of CIPHR to ECI.
As we look ahead, it is difficult to make any meaningful predictions about long-term trends for deal-making. However, the resilience displayed by the advisory sector and the appetite to embrace change undoubtedly gives reasons for optimism. We are quietly confident that we will continue our 2020 trajectory as we head into 2021.