East of England rainmakers feature in Experian deals pantheon
Cambridge-based UK law firm Mills & Reeve has excelled in Experian’s corporate deals survey for the first six months of 2020.
It leads a parade of East of England law firms, financial practices and venture funders in the rankings which further evidence there is multimillion pound business activity despite coronavirus.
Gateley was again the UK’s busiest adviser by deal volume in H1, working on 71 transactions in the small and mid-market value segments; Harrison Clark Rickerbys (62 deals) and Mills & Reeve (48) made up the top three.
Clifford Chance topped the value table with £35 billion worth of deals, ahead of Herbert Smith Freehills (£33bn), each firm advising Telefonica on the year’s biggest transaction to date.
RSM – thriving from its new Cambridge base – just pipped Numis Securities and Grant Thornton to head the financial adviser table by volume with 45 deals, with the value rankings dominated by firms with a role on the O2/Virgin Media tie up; Citigroup leading the way with transactions worth just under £40bn in total.
Kevin Lowe, partner at Mills & Reeve said: “Following the uncertainty around Brexit and a general election, 2020 got off to a flying start in terms of M & A and investment deal activity, caught its breath and recalibrated during April and May, and is now beginning to accelerate again in certain sectors.
“As our deal chart shows, the technology and life science sectors in particular have seen a high level of activity, with health, food and insurance also starting to look strong again.”
Of other East of England firms ranked in the pantheon, Ensors, Amadeus Capital Partners, Birketts, Larking Gowen and JDC Corporate Finance all figure highly.
Amadeus Capital climbed to sixth from 20th the previous year in the capital provider rankings with £9m investment.
The Experian study shows that East of England companies remain key contributors to UK M & A with an involvement in just under 10 per cent of all deal activity nationally, whilst contributing over 11 per cent to total values.
Year on year deal numbers in the East of England fell from 293 last year to 243 in the first half of 2020; prior to the UK heading into lockdown on 23 March, the East of England had recorded 161 transactions, while from that point until the end of June, this figure had dwindled somewhat to just 82 deals.
Surprisingly, transaction values still managed to climb five per cent to just over £12bn (from £11.4bn) for the first six months of this year. However, if we isolate these numbers before and after this significant date, the split in terms of value was approximately £9bn and £3bn, reflecting the ongoing uncertainty with the UK economy in the second quarter.
Mills & Reeve instructions ranged from advising on deals for fashion label Hush, the sale of antibody pioneer Iontas to FairJourney Biologics in Portugal, Midwich Group’s acquisition of Starin Marketing Inc, in Indiana, USA and advising investors on their participation in a £5.7 million funding round for Flusso, a semiconductor company spun out of the University of Cambridge, to scale up production of the world’s smallest flow sensor.
Mills & Reeve also advised long standing client IQ Capital on participation in three major deals totalling $183m.
Most recently its life sciences team acted on the major deal undertaken for Cambridge’s F-star Therapeutics on a reverse merger with NASDAQ-listed Spring Bank Pharmaceutical.
• PHOTOGRAPH: Zickie Lim of Mills & Reeve advised on Flusso’s £5.7m fundraising