Thomson Snell & Passmore wins KCFA’s Deal of the Year Award 2022

Law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, has been awarded Deal of the Year 2022 by the Kent Corporate Finance Alliance (KCFA), in recognition of its role in advising long-term client the Motorline Group on its sale to Marshall Motor Holdings plc for a cash consideration of £64.5million.

The firm acted for Motorline and its subsidiaries for over a decade. During that time the Corporate team advised on 15 acquisitions and numerous property transactions as part of Motorline’s buy and build growth strategy, which culminated in Motorline being ranked as 22 out of the largest 100 UK automotive retails groups by turnover at £695.2 million.

The final deal created a combined automotive powerhouse with anticipated annual revenues estimated at £3bn. It was complex from a legal and regulatory perspective, with 48 operating franchises, four Volkswagen Group Trade Parts Specialist businesses and five used car centres, 1500 employees and an extensive property portfolio from which the Motorline businesses operated. As part of the transaction, Marshall separately acquired a related freehold property for £2.9 million with the option to acquire two strategic freehold properties in the future for £24.9 million.

Joanne Gallagher, Partner and Head of Corporate team at Thomson Snell & Passmore, and her colleague Joanne Wright, a Partner in the Commercial Property team, jointly led on the sale for Motorline. They were supported by Faye Cook and Rachel Macmillan in the Corporate team and Richard Ellard, Joanna Wooller and Alex Lewsley in the Commercial Property team, amongst others.

Due to the size and nature of the transaction, the firm was able to utilise its bench strength to field a large project team, which included Katya Batchelor leading on Banking and Finance aspects, Ben Stepney leading on Employment, Nitzan Cohen advising on Corporate Tax, Mathew Boyle on Pensions, together with a number of lawyers from the Commercial/IP/IT/Data team.

In making the award, the judges said: “This was a high-profile transaction, where Kent advisers expertly navigated complexities generated by regulation, the corporate structure and multiple properties. We were particularly impressed with how the multi-disciplinary team at Thomson Snell & Passmore worked seamlessly together with the managers, shareholders and advisors on the transaction to ensure the deal progressed to completion, which was followed by significant regional and national press attention.”

Joanne Gallagher at Thomson Snell & Passmore comments: “It is really rewarding to have the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in this transaction recognised by the industry. This was a hugely complex deal, which took many months of careful planning, and drew on expertise from across the firm’s commercial departments.

“It perfectly demonstrates both the strength and depth of our M&A offering, and the type and scale of mid market corporate transaction we are well positioned to deliver. It was particularly special as we had worked closely with Motorline for so many years and is a good example of the calibre of the deals that the corporate finance community undertake in the region.”

Joanne Wright at Thomson Snell & Passmore adds: “The whole team worked tirelessly to complete this transaction and I am delighted that everyone’s skill and commitment has been acknowledged with this award. It was a true team effort, which would not have been possible without complete collaboration.   

“I was thrilled to lead on the commercial property aspects of the transaction, harnessing the team’s considerable skill and experience.”

Additional support included:

UHY Hacker Young: Corporate finance

Dentons: Corporate lawyers for Marshall Motor Holdings plc

Greenwoods GRM: Real estate lawyers for Marshall Motor Holdings plc

RSM: Auditors for Motorline

PWC: Advised Marshall Motor Holdings plc on financial and tax due diligence.

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