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Walker Morris announces a wave of deals as M&A surges

The Corporate Team at Walker Morris has had a strong final quarter of 2020, delivering an impressive streak of 19 deals in Q4 with an aggregate deal value in excess of £700m. The results reflect a busy time for the firm, helping businesses navigate what has been a challenging year for all.

Although the market generally saw a decrease in the total number of deals announced during the first half of the year as many businesses postponed their investment decisions, the second half of the year has been much stronger – a trend expected to accelerate as we move into 2021[i].

Despite market volatility this year, the Corporate Team at Walker Morris, which is ranked nationally by independent guides to the profession for its corporate M&A and equity capital markets work, has had a successful end to the year.

In addition to the team being ranked in Tier 1 by both Chambers and Legal 500, each of the partners in the corporate team is ranked individually by the guides too.

In Q4 alone, deals on which the firm has advised include advising: Endless-backed BSW Group, the UK’s largest integrated forestry and sawmilling business, on its acquisitions of both Dick Brothers Forestry Limited and SCA Wood; Menzies Distribution on its acquisition of Bibby Distribution from Liverpool-based Bibby Line Group; and US-headquartered ICP Building Solutions Group on its acquisition of Leeson Polyurethanes, a manufacturer of adhesives and coatings supplied to various sectors internationally.

Commenting on the successful year, John Hamer, Head of Corporate, said:

 “Despite the challenges presented to businesses by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Corporate Team has had a tremendously positive year, which is testament to the quality of our client base and our people. A strong final quarter has stood us in good stead as we head into the New Year and we’re excited about the prospects presented by the increase in M&A activity we’ve seen towards the end of 2020.

“Many of the transactions which we completed in Q4 were cross-border transactions and the pipeline of foreign direct investment transactions on which the team is working demonstrates a strong continuing interest by purchasers outside the UK looking to acquire UK assets.”

Other notable M&A deals for the Team in Q4 include advising:  Total Capital Partners’ portfolio company, GRITIT, on its acquisition of NMC Group Ltd; and Swedish listed investor Lifco on its acquisition of Swallow Dental Supplies.

The Team’s work has also resulted in Walker Morris being shortlisted in the Business Insider Dealmakers Awards – with winners announced in May 2021 – for two awards: Corporate Law Firm of the Year, and the National/International Deal of the Year in relation to the acquisition of BSW Timber by Endless.

[i] Eхрегiaп™ MarketIQ report – United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland M&A Review Experian Business Research: YTD 2020