A flurry of high-deal activity saw the Leeds office of legal firm Addleshaw Goddard advise on deals worth more than £2bn in the last 12 months, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.
The corporate and banking teams at the law firm, which employs more than 500 people in Leeds, advised on more than 60 high level transactions in the year ending in October, with a desire to work with the region’s legal sector among the reasons attributed for the volume.
Among the deals Addleshaw Goddard advised on were the flotation of Sheffield’s Sumo Digital, the management buyout of RIBA Enterprises and the sale of Aunt Bessies Ltd. Garry Elliott, inset, partner at the firm, told The Yorkshire Post: “The transaction market has been busy for us for the last 24 months.
“The summer period this year was particularly busy. It’s now pretty much a constant market.
“There was a conscious effort on behalf of the firm to be targeting big northern transactions like this, making sure that they’re not soaked up by London.
“We have all chosen to live and operate in Yorkshire and actually feel it is important for all of the advisers in the city, and the region, to be continuously working to make sure that these kind of local businesses and local deals are advised on in the region.”
During 2018 Addleshaw also advised Aviva investors on its £264.5m facilities to MedicX Group, HSBC on its £65m support to Renew Holdings on its acquisition of QTS Group and Hull’s William Jackson Food Group on its acquisition of Wellocks.
Fellow partner Richard Hunt said: “When you work with the management team of a client for four or five years, building businesses and being in the room with them, you know in a small way you have helped them achieve something quite special.”
Addleshaw Goddard, which relocated to new offices on Sovereign Street in Leeds two years ago, made a number of new promotions and hires during the year, including banking partner Andrew Fordham and Pete Wood, alongside Mr Hunt who joined from Squire Patton Boggs in the summer.
For Mr Hunt, the objective was very much about keeping the advisory side of the region’s deal market very much based in the North.
“To be involved in those primary deals and those relationships is great, because there’s so many fantastic entrepreneurs that are doing wonderful things in this part of the world.
“And that means having the right people for when it really matters.”
Asked how he anticipated the year ahead unfolding, Mr Hunt said his sense from clients was that, while uncertainty existed, there was still an appetite for further activity. “From talking to my client base it seems that they, very simply, believe that if they stand still they will end up going backwards.
“They believe we have got to keep moving, due to all the expectations of shareholders and personal objectives, they seem to be saying ‘we’re not stopping looking to do M&A or productivity work’.
“They are pressing on with the opportunities in this market.”
Mr Fordham said that he believed that Leeds was currently riding a wave of success that began with the opening of the Trinity shopping centre and more recently saw the city chosen as the location for the new Channel 4 headquarters.
Mr Elliott added: “We want to be part of that continued success.”