THE CORPORATE and banking teams at law firm Shakespeare Martineau supported deals valued at almost £3.4 billion during 2022 – including £204.7 million in Scotland.
Completing an average of seven deals a week, Shakespeare Martineau’s national team supported more than £400 million worth of deals across technology and healthcare alone, and more than £300 million in the energy and renewables space.
Experts in mergers and acquisitions, fast growth businesses, start-ups, healthcare and medtech, energy and real estate finance, as well as Islamic finance, the average deal size was £10 million.
Outside of nearly £1 billion worth of real estate financing, the firm’s single largest deal came in at £250 million for an undisclosed manufacturer, with deals spanning a variety of sectors and regions across the UK.
Duncan James, head of corporate at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “The calendar year of 2022 was, on the whole, really strong for our corporate team. Despite various headwinds – increase in interest rates, the value of assets being tested more and concern around some forecasts – M&A activity did not tail off in the second half of the year as we had thought, and the pipeline has continued to be strong into the start of 2023.
“There is no doubt that debt funding has tightened up as some property prices have become uncertain, but there appears to still be a lot of cash in the system, with PE and corporates still looking at opportunities. We are cautiously optimistic that any impact on the general M&A market will not be severe this year. We still see a lot of opportunities for ambitious businesses to grow their portfolios.”
Naomi Tudor, head of banking at Shakespeare Martineau, added: “2022 saw our banking team act on some large refinance transactions, a number of acquisitions in the healthcare and charity space, and the volume of property financing transactions remained strong.
“While a number of the factors causing market volatility in 2022 look set to continue into 2023, early signs show there are some sectors bucking the trend, including technology, media and communications, renewables, FinTech, Biotech, oil and gas.
“Some of that volatility may well create debt finance opportunities as corporates look to refinance expensive debt facilities and regulatory changes in certain sectors – so watch this space for a year of different deals.”
Mohammed Saqub, head of Islamic finance at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “The real estate finance team continues to grow despite the economic downturn thanks largely to its client base of UK and overseas financial institutions – including Islamic finance institutions.
“Recent property finance transactions with an overseas listed REAT demonstrate on one hand the truly international nature of the practise and at the same time, servicing high street bank SME customers in the UK reaffirms the team’s commitment to a key driver of the UK economy.”