Knights plc has been named as the North West’s leading legal adviser on deals by volume in the year to date, consolidating its strong position as the number 1 ranked deals team in the North West.
The latest M&A Review issued by Experian Market IQ notes that 598 deals have been transacted so far in 2019, with Knights advising on 61 of these, placing it 12th in the UK-wide league table. Of these, 29 have been in the North West region, five more than its nearest rival.
The report highlights a relatively subdued deals market across the UK this year. Data from the first nine months of 2019 suggests deal volumes have fallen to their lowest level for a decade as economic and political uncertainty have fuelled a “wait and see” approach to investment across most sectors. In the North West, volumes were at their lowest for four years.
“We don’t see a shortage of cash in the market, whether from debt providers, equity investors or private sources, but there is only so much uncertainty that the UK deals market can handle” noted David Easdown, Knights’ Corporate Partner. “Clearly the UK has its own unique political and economic challenges at the moment, and this has an obvious impact on decision making. But on top of this, numerous well-publicised global macro-economic factors are not helping. In this context, we are really pleased with our resilience and to be ranked number one reflects the quality of our clients, our relationships with them and the services we deliver”, he continued.
Knights believes that its focus on the regional mid-market - £2.5m to £50m deals - has enabled it to outpace the market so far this year. James Sheridan, Knights’ Manchester Office Partner, explained “We are building from a really good platform in Manchester and Chester. Our team has had a good position in the mid-market space for some time, but the great thing for us now is that we are really seeing the benefit of the investment that Knights has put into our technology, people and office base over the last 18 months. The team has grown, with some excellent lateral hires and internal promotions, and we have been able to access the wider talent pool that being part of a 750-person group provides.”
Stand-out deals for the Knights team so far this year include the sale of Volcanic UK to Access Group, the sale of Budget Greetings Cards, Ardenton’s investment into Food Innovations, the Business Growth Fund’s investment into Miss Group and the sale of Join the Dots to Belgian corporate InSites Consulting.
Having recently announced the acquisition of EGL in Birmingham, Knights is continuing the growth and expansion plans it announced at the time of its IPO in June 2018. “Manchester and Birmingham are clearly the two leading financial centres in the UK outside London” noted Sheridan. “With exciting growth plans for these offices as well as our other locations, we believe that we can become the legal provider of choice to mid-market businesses outside London as they embark on corporate transactions of all shapes and sizes over the coming years.”
 Experian MarketIQ: UK & ROI M&A Review YTD 2019, available at https://www.experian.co.uk/assets/business-information/marketiq/experian-miq-ma-report-uk-roi-ytd-2019.pdf