“Manchester-Effect” helps drive Deal Value and Volumes [H1 2017 M&A Report]

Turner Parkinson, the Manchester-based independent business law firm has delivered a strong corporate deals performance for the first half of 2017 amidst a reported 30% volume drop in the North West deals market. The firm reported a 14% rise in deals transacted, as well as a 23% rise in overall deal values against the same period in 2016, placing it 3rd in the North West and 14th nationally.

“It’s a strong performance so far this year, with us maintaining the excellent momentum our deals team produced in the second half of 2016. The fact that the North West deals market shrunk 30% by volume of deals and that UK-wide it was down 15% makes it an even better performance than I first thought” said James Sheridan, Head of Corporate at Turner Parkinson.

Sheridan pin-pointed two key factors which he believes are enabling Turner Parkinson to out-perform the wider deals market:

“With Brexit continuing to hang over us, little tangible Brexit-negotiation progress and political turmoil in Westminster, UK-wide deal volumes for the first half of 2017 are down fairly significantly on those for the same period in 2016. But our deal volume performance is up nicely, and the value of the deals we have transacted is up significantly too. We think this is down to two factors: first, our independent offering is continuing to win market share from our much larger branded/franchised rivals who we think are focussed on international expansion and London-centric issues in their multi-office networks. Secondly, we believe there is a “Manchester-effect” in play, which we are benefitting from as a single location business with all of our focus on Manchester and the North West economy”.

The Manchester Factor

Sheridan explained: “Manchester has emerged now as capital of regional UK. It is becoming recognised more and more on the international stage and it continues to attract great businesses and great people from across the UK and wider afield. This momentum has been building for a number of years, but we are now really beginning to see the economic impact of the city’s progress over the last 10 or 15 years.” 

“Almost all of our client-service activity has some kind of North West connection, and most of it a Manchester-one. Whether it is shareholders based here, a business head-quartered here, management living here or finance being provided from here, there is pretty much always a Manchester or wider-North West angle to what we do even if the deals we are working on might be elsewhere in the UK or overseas. Because the North West is our home market, all of our resources are focussed here and that is giving us an advantage.”

#1 Independent Law Firm [deal volume]

The latest Experian deals league tables show Turner Parkinson as the clear number 1 independent law firm in the North West and one of only two independents in the top 20 UK-wide. Ranked 14th in the UK, Turner Parkinson is leading the way amongst the UK’s independents from its home in Manchester.

Stand-out deals on which the firm has worked include the USD94 million sale of Stirling Lloyd Plc to GCP Applied Technologies Inc., Albion Ventures’ investment in MPP Global and the sale of MESM to VWR International. Partner David Easdown has continued a stellar run of deals involving him, with him ranked the number 1 lawyer in the UK in terms of volume.

However, Sheridan sounded a cautionary note: “Despite this level of performance, we continue to build one brick at a time and are very much aware of the economic mood music which is not necessarily conducive to deal activity growing over the next 12 to 24 months. As a result, we are focussed on our own operational efficiency and maybe one or two very targeted hires where the right people are available and will add the right skills to our team. We want to grow our business, but with no external stakeholders we will do so on our own terms and in a controlled way.”

Our recent deal performance was also highlighted by the Business Desk.