Shawn Bone- Cavu, Lee Hartley- Fairstone, Philip Clare- MuckleThe number of corporate deals completed in the North East has reached an eight-year high, according to a new report published by Experian.[1]

Overall, 112 deals valued above £500,000 were concluded in the North East between January and June – a 36% increase from the same period last year. The deals were worth a total of £1.7bn.

The report highlights positive trends for the region which has seen the number of deals and overall value reach the highest half-year periods for eight years and five years respectively.

Expert legal advisers at Muckle LLP have led the way regionally, advising on more mergers and acquisitions in the first six months of this year than any other law firm in the North East. The Newcastle-based law firm completed 13 transactions worth a total of £151m. This was almost double the number of deals by the second ranked firm, which completed seven, and the third with five.

The number one ranking for Muckle reflects a period of considerable activity by the corporate team and the successful completion of a varied range of both high value and smaller scale deals.

Andrew Davison, partner and head of Muckle’s corporate team, said: “We are delighted that the North East has generated so much activity in the first half of the year and that we have retained the top spot in the latest rankings provided by Experian. The corporate team has worked closely with clients and business partners to achieve a fantastic year so far, concluding some significant transactions, including the recent Kitwave Wholesale, Fairstone Group and Avid Technology Group deals.

“However, this league table, which records deals over £500,000, only shows one part of the work we undertake on behalf of businesses. We have also advised on many more deals below the £500,000 threshold for our growing client base during the same period.

“We have worked with many businesses, each with its own set of challenges, whether this involved helping a company acquire another business, enabling growth through new investment, succession planning to move the business on to the next generation or the ultimate realisation of value through sale.

“We will continue to work with local firms, as well as national and international clients, delivering their business needs as we look to strengthen our position as the leading law firm in the region for business.”

One of Muckle’s larger deals this year was completed in April, when the corporate team, together with Corporate finance boutique Cavu, advised Fairstone Group in obtaining £25m worth of investment from private equity investor Synova Capital.

The cash injection will enable the group to increase the scope of its buy-and-build programme and further expand operations by employing up to 20 new staff at its Boldon Business Park head office.

The experts at Muckle also worked with another of the region’s ambitious businesses when the team helped fast-growing group Kitwave Wholesale complete a refinancing deal.

This deal saw the business raise funds from lead investor Pricoa Capital Group and a co-investment partner Allstate, for a minority stake, in order to continue pursuing its acquisition strategy.

More recently, Muckle also advised North East electrical vehicle components manufacturer AVID Technology Group on a £3.4m investment to support its growth and development.

The funding injection will enable AVID to increase its engineering and manufacturing capability and capacity at its base in Cramlington, Northumberland, to meet the needs of customers.

NVM Private Equity (NVM) invested £2 million as part of the £3.4 million funding round.  Also participating were existing investors North East Technology Fund (“NETF”), managed by IP Group plc, and new investors Downing LLP.  Andy Hales, previously a corporate finance partner in KPMG’s diversified industrials team, has invested in AVID and will join the board as Chairman.

Muckle LLP is the leading commercial law firm for businesses, based in Newcastle upon Tyne.  The firm has nearly 150 people, including 28 partners.  It was recently voted Regional Law Firm of the Year at the national Solicitors’ Journal Awards and is a three times winner of the Heart of the Community Award for Northumberland and Tyneside region.