700 professionals at Knights service 10,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.
James SheridanOffice Leader
James is a Partner in the Corporate team and the Office Leader in Manchester.
James advises on corporate transactions, mergers, acquisitions and disposals, private equity and development capital deals, corporate investments and other strategic projects. He also undertakes equity capital markets work for small and mid-cap public companies. A corporate lawyer with the ICAEW Corporate Finance qualification.
James is experienced in both domestic and international transactions, having worked on deals in the USA, Continental Europe, Africa and Asia. He has a particular interest in business in India and Australia.
James advises corporates, their shareholders and management teams, as well as a number of public companies, private and institutional investors and the family offices of a number of high net worth families. His clients include Indian automotive and logistics conglomerate TVS & Sons, Swedish listed pharmaceutical business Recipharm AB and UK-based APS Salads, Logson Group and real estate developer SevenCapital.
James understands corporate transactions first hand, having previously been a non-executive director of drug development company Phosphate Therapeutics and helping to take it from first round venture capital investment to its subsequent disposal as part of a £180 million IPO. He is also senior independent director at Lancashire Cricket Club, where he is involved in strategic projects across both the sporting and business operations at Emirates Old Trafford, and Vice Chairman of Lancashire Cricket Foundation.
Recent examples of how James has helped clients include:
- the USD94m sale of chemical manufacturing business Stirling Lloyd plc to US-based GCP Applied Technologies Inc;
- advising Warren James on its strategy to take a 28% stake in Pinewood Shepperton while the subject matter of a recommended takeover offer at £96m and the subsequent £323m takeover of Pinewood by Aermont Capital;
- guiding Recipharm through its £45m acquisition of the respiratory drugs business of global biopharmaceutical company Sanofi, including its manufacturing centre in Cheshire; and
- working with Manchester software business Mobysoft on its investment from private equity firm Livingbridge to develop predictive software solutions for the social housing sector.
Sally WightmanOffice Leader
Sally is a Partner in the Corporate team and the Office Leader in Chester.
Sally's field of expertise is in company mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, re-organisations and re-structurings, as well as corporate advisory matters in high value transactions. She has long-standing clients to include serial entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses and major corporates across sectors, including the food, leisure and aviation sectors.
Sally is office leader in Chester office where she is responsible for client management and growing and building the team. This includes recruiting, developing and promoting lawyers who share the positive and open culture, and providing ongoing training and coaching.
Recent examples of how Sally has helped clients include:
• within tight time constraints, advising on the purchase of up to £100 million receivables from the administrators of Phones4u;
• realising the full sale value of an aviation maintenance business for its US parent company; and
• supporting clients in cross border transactions, including working with one of Ireland's major dairy exporters on its acquisition of a UK business and subsequent refinancing and advising on the sale of a national company to a major Dutch group.
William is a Partner in the Corporate team.
William has spent nearly twenty years advising businesses and their investors on corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, shareholder and investment agreements, and commercial matters including corporate governance. He specialises in owner-managed sales and purchases, company reorganisations and investment and joint venture arrangements.
William acts for owner-managers, SMEs, entrepreneurs and private equity investors, in sectors as diverse as renewable energy, hotel and leisure and independent financial advisors.
Recent examples of how William has helped clients include:
• acting for the seller of a company to a US buyer and structuring the consideration in the most tax efficient way for the seller;
• acting for the administrators of Wedgwood Museum in the sale of its assets to the V & A Museum following the collapse of Wedgwood; and
• helping a major hotel chain re-organise its portfolio of hotels to make the group structure more tax efficient.
Lisa is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Lisa specialises in corporate and commercial advice provided to clients spanning owner managed, small, medium-sized and multinational businesses.
Lisa has worked on and led corporate restructures, mergers and acquisitions, management buyouts and buy-ins, share option schemes. From a commercial perspective Lisa has advised a number of household names on transactions from the implementation of e-commerce and multichannel initiatives, right through the spectrum of commercial contracts to the negotiation of agency and outsourcing agreements.
She has particular focus on the retail industry having advised numerous high street brands on a variety of transactions from the implementation of e-commerce and multichannel initiatives, right through the spectrum to the negotiation of franchising and agency agreements.
Lisa specialises in corporate law, commercial law and retail.
Sian is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Sian acts for SMEs, off-shore entities, owner-managed businesses and AIM companies in a wide range of sectors including real estate, retail, technology, charities and education.
Sian provides corporate advice on a range of matters including, acquisitions, disposals, mergers, entrepreneurial and institutional investments, joint ventures, management buy-outs and buy-ins, reorganisations and restructuring. She also negotiates and drafts shareholders' agreements, articles of association and share capital reductions.
Sian advises a number of education and charity clients on governance, constitutional matters, reorganisations and the merging of charities.
Recent examples of how Sian has helped clients include:
• providing ongoing corporate advice and support to Long Harbour on its real estate investments, with multiple large transactions handled in the last five years;
• the merger of two charitable schools including advice on constitutional complexities and highly involved negotiation of merger documentation;
• providing ongoing advice to Oxford-based H2O Venture Partners on a variety of investments in the technology sector and a seed enterprise fund in East Africa;
• completing the multi-million pound sale of Ling Design, one of the UK's longest established and largest independent producers of greetings cards and stationery, to Swan Mill Holdings.
Gayle is a Partner in the Commercial team.
She advises on trading terms, contractual joint ventures, outsourcing, agency and distribution arrangements, manufacturing agreements, facilities management contracts and marketing contracts for a wide range of businesses.
Gayle also advises on the ownership, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights and IP strategy, including R & D collaborations, software contracts and complex rights licenses
With 25 years’ experience of acting for healthcare clients, including the Department of Health and NHS bodies and a past author of the NHS standard contract, Gayle is an expert on clinical service contracts and NHS standard terms. She supports clients with management of those contracts and their contract disputes. She also supports private companies and charities bidding for public sector contracts and often advises at the interface of health policy and the law.
Her current clients include Horder Health Care, Bourn Hall Fertility, Ramsay Healthcare, Simplyhealth, InHealth, Oxfordshire MIND, NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Mazwell LLC.
Recent examples of how Gayle has helped clients include:
- supporting the management team of a US clinical supplies company in their buyout of subsidiary businesses in the UK, Germany and Australia and in negotiating licences for use of know-how and intellectual property, drafting their intra-group trading arrangements and their international distributorship arrangements;
- advising a consortium of healthcare businesses on the various options for creation of a joint venture, drafting the JV documents and supporting them with their successful collective bid for an NHS contract to provide integrated clinical services for patients with musculoskeletal conditions;
- advising the NHS on the ownership and IP protection for an obstetric dressing invented by midwives and drafting the manufacturing contract;
- guiding a pharmacist through the process of launching a patient app to access home call primary care services, including drafting bespoke terms and conditions between the pharmacist and the clinicians, and with the patients;
- acting for a private hospital business in its acquisition of a new hospital business, advising the new owners on the legal risks associated with the business and the implementation of mitigation strategies;
- resolving a series of disputes on behalf of an NHS Trust which had arisen out of a 7 year £227 million integrated clinical services contract.
David is a Partner in the Corporate team.
David advises on corporate transactions, with a focus on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions. He works closely with the management teams of rapid growth businesses and with the private equity funders who back them.
David has sector expertise in e-commerce, technology/TMT, logistics, healthcare and particularly retail pharmacies. His clients are corporates, international companies with UK operations and private equity investors.
Recent examples of how David has helped his clients include:
- securing a multi-million-pound investment from NorthEdge Capital in cloud transformation and infrastructure specialists Cloud Technology Solutions to facilitate the tech company’s rapid growth and expansion plans;
- facilitating the sale of a 60 per cent stake in Leicestershire-based packaging business Logson Group to Belfast-based commodities and storage specialists W & R Barnett;
- securing a multi-million pound investment from Beech Tree Private Equity in cloud IT managed services business BCN Group; and
- completing the £39.3 million acquisition of the 36-branch pharmacy division of Assura on behalf of Cohens Chemist.
Chris is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Chris works with a broad mix of owner-managers, SMEs, and individuals with significant personal wealth - particularly in the sports and manufacturing sectors. He also acts for banks, borrowers and private equity investors.
Chris has spent the past 10 years helping businesses grow and prosper, advising on corporate finance and business strategy including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, company or group restructuring, business disposals, investment opportunities, succession planning and exit strategies. He also advises on banking and finance, private equity investments, shareholders' agreements, directors' duties, corporate governance and partnership matters.
Recent examples of how Chris has helped clients include:
• concluding a corporate finance deal in a very short-period of time by dissuading those involved from adopting unreasonable positions that might have thwarted the deal;
• helping a business in financial crisis raise funds to continue to trade; and
• helping successive owners of a family business maximise the value and tax efficiency of their enterprise with tailored investment, restructuring and succession planning advice.
Clare is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Clare works with corporates, SMEs, sole traders and private equity houses throughout the UK including some with both domestic and international operations.
Clare advises on corporate transactions such as company and business sales, acquisitions and mergers, re-organisations, investments, shareholder and partnership arrangements, share incentive schemes, general company law and corporate governance. She also advises on and negotiates various commercial contracts including agreements for the supply of goods and services, distribution and agency agreements, outsourcing arrangements, sponsorship deals and general terms and conditions.
Clare provides training on company and commercial law.
Recent examples of how Clare has helped clients include:
• implementing the succession plan of a family business which allowed the parents to retire, release capital and maintain an income;
• advising a retail client on a large warehousing and logistics agreement; and
• carrying out a complex group re-organisation for a manufacturing client.
Paddy is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Paddy advises on strategic mergers and acquisitions, business sales, joint ventures, partnership and cooperative arrangements, company restructures, group reorganisations, corporate finance and corporate governance.
Paddy advises clients involved in agriculture, food and farming, health and leisure, professional services, real estate, nuclear engineering, sports and charities.
Paddy’s clients include the UK’s largest independent hatchery company P D Hook, Oxford based manufacturers and suppliers of aggregates and construction materials Smith & Sons, a number of national gyms and several GP surgeries, veterinary practices and accountants.
Recent examples of how Paddy has helped clients include:
- facilitating the sale by LA Leisure of 22 health clubs to Sportsdirect Fitness.com;
- supporting Pure Gym in their disposals of multiple health club sites to D W Sports;
- securing property finance for a large medical practice to fund the development of a new healthcare centre and drafting partnership agreements for the business owners;
- supporting an Oxford College in negotiating a public-private joint venture with Oxford City Council and securing the finance needed to acquire and develop land in the city centre; and
- guiding a company through the process of using Crowdcube, an investment crowdfunding platform, to secure financial backing to establish a global network of online and offline inspiring places to work.
Stephen is a Partner in the Corporate team.
He focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture debt deals, corporate reorganisations and restructuring and capital markets transactions for small/mid cap public companies. Stephen is also a leading adviser on employee buyouts and employee ownership structures.
Stephen’s clients are UK corporates, management teams, shareholders and funders. He supports a number of fast growing technology businesses helping them raise growth finance and achieve an exit. Current clients in this sector include life sciences company OptiBiotix Health plc, online retailing platform iVendi Ltd, online business payments platform AccessPay and digital network jewellery business Atelier Technology.
Recent examples of how Stephen has helped clients include:
- working with Access Pay, one of the UK’s fastest growing fin-tech businesses, to secure investment from US equity providers, UK and US venture debt providers and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund to help deliver its ambitious expansion plans;
- facilitating Kinetic plc’s transfer to employee ownership creating a deal structure which supports and enhances the company’s long term stability and growth;
- supporting OptiBiotix Health PLC in its JV with Manchester University to develop skin health technology, resulting in the spin-out and successful £4.5m IPO of SkinBioTherapeutics plc; and
- advising MPP Global on its £12m series B raise from Albion Ventures and Grafton Capital to enable it to expand its business delivering digital monetisation services to companies operating in the media, sports and retail sectors.
John is a Partner in the Real Estate team.
John advises on a range of corporate, commercial and real estate matters. In regard to commercial property he handles acquisitions and disposals, drafting and negotiating options and management agreements, landlord and tenant matters including leases, leasehold enfranchisement, freeholder issues and right to manage.
For corporate transactions, John undertakes real estate due diligence and advises on business sale agreements, joint ventures and shareholder protection, supply and distribution agreements.
John acts for residential and institutional investors, SMEs, lenders and educational institutions, particularly academies, whether newly forming or already established.
Recent examples of how John has helped clients include:
• enabling a client to purchase a commercial property and convert it to residential by creating an agreement incorporating a management arrangement with an option to purchase;
• facilitating the efficient growth of a business after internal disharmony by advising shareholders on a company share buy-back scheme and assisting in the reassessment of their business' value; and
• playing a key role in securing a lucrative deal for a client to supply uniforms to a blue-chip US cosmetics firm.
Gemma is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Gemma advises NHS and private healthcare providers on a range of corporate matters, including business sales and acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, management buy-outs, private equity investment, corporate refinancing and company reorganisations.
Gemma has extensive knowledge of dental and pharmacy businesses, including the regulatory environment within which they operate. She advises on the registration requirements of the General Dental and Pharmaceutical Councils and on NHS contract arrangements, including transfer between service providers.
Gemma’s clients include pharmacists, dentists, opticians, vets, care home operators, day care providers, independent fostering agencies and domiciliary care providers. She also acts for a number of high street banks lending into the healthcare sector.
Current clients include the Dental Care Group and the Dental Beauty Group, and dispensing chemists Z&N Ltd and Wellbeing (United Kingdom) Ltd.
Recent examples of how Gemma has helped clients include:
- the sale of a large mixed practice dental group in a deal worth £10 million with hard negotiations around the ongoing liability for any defective treatment claims;
- supporting a first time buyer in their purchase of a pharmacy business in London, requiring registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council and the transfer of an NHS service contract;
- protecting the interests of a mainstream lender in a refinancing deal with a large dental group borrowing in excess of £16 million; and
- restructuring a mid-sized dental group to secure finance to fund a series of planned acquisitions and to meet ongoing obligations under NHS contract arrangements.
Ellen is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Ellen advises on corporate matters, including business formation and structuring options, governance, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, investment, company restructuring, group reorganisation, company share sales or buyback arrangements, and business assets disposal.
Ellen’s clients include business start-ups and entrepreneurs, owner-managed companies and partnerships, high growth and scale up businesses and investors operating in sectors including retail, leisure and hospitality, technology, telecommunications, professional services and healthcare.
Ellen advises charities, schools and not for profit organisations, including community interest companies, on incorporation and governance arrangements, constitutional documents, company secretarial matters, collaboration initiatives and mergers.
Recent examples of how Ellen has helped clients include:
- supporting the in-house legal team of a Portuguese investment company on the English legal considerations arising from an investment in a UK-based tech company;
- facilitating the £4 million sale of shares in a telecommunications company under a complex deferred consideration deal where the seller required extensive disclosure and advice on risk mitigation;
- working with a charity to review and update their governance documents and trading subsidiary articles of association to facilitate the exploitation of new opportunities while respecting the interests of beneficiaries and stakeholders;
- guiding a US limited liability company through the process of acquiring shares in an Australian company and an English company with a German subsidiary, both owned by a US corporate, in a deal worth over $4 million; and
- supporting an independent school in a merger with a larger school to strengthen its offering and secure the investment needed to fund improved services and continued growth.
Adrian is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Adrian facilitates company mergers, acquisitions and disposals, corporate finance and refinance, joint ventures and other collaborative working arrangements, groups restructures and reorganisations and bespoke strategic projects.
Adrian acts for UK-based clients with domestic and international business interests and international clients with a UK presence. His clients include large corporates, such as Jackson-Stops, private equity companies and corporate investors, including Business Growth Fund, SMEs and high net worth individuals. He operates across all sectors and has particular experience in the sale and acquisition of hotels and caravan parks.
Recent examples of how Adrian has helped clients include:
- guiding Recipharm through their £45 million acquisition of the respiratory drugs business of global biopharmaceuticals company Sanofi, including their manufacturing centre in Cheshire;
- supporting the Logson Group in their acquisition of the multi-million pound business of packaging specialists, the Cardboard Box Company; and
- facilitating investments by Business Growth Fund in highways surveying technology business Gaist Solutions, web hosting firm Miss Group and international bakery business Carrs Goods Holdings.
Martin is a Partner in the Corporate team.
Martin advises on a broad range of corporate matters, including acquisitions, mergers and disposals, corporate fundraising and investment, solvent restructuring, the purchase of insolvent businesses, management buyouts and buy-ins, joint ventures and public and private equity transactions.
Martin acts for clients in the East Midlands and further afield in the UK, as well as European and international clients with business interests in the UK. His clients include private individuals, owner-managed commercial enterprises and private and public companies.
Recent examples of how Martin has helped clients include:
- advising the management team on the LDC-backed management buyout of Ensek, a leading software supplier to UK energy providers which has gone on to rank in the 2018 Sunday Times Tech Track 100;
- assisting a franchised retail store group on the sale of a number of retail stores back to the household name franchisor when the group decided to exit the market;
- advising the new managing director of Leicester-based Premier Display on the HSBC funded management buyout; and
- acting for global tech business Freudenberg Group in their acquisition of UK based Metflex Precision Mouldings.