A partner in the corporate and commercial team at North East law firm Hay & Kilner has spoken to Insider about the regions M&A activity, and the business’ “transformational” year as it gears up to relocate its headquarters.
The 75-year-old firm is headquartered in Newcastle.
Speaking to Insider, Mark Adams, head of corporate, explained that, in the corporate and commercial team and across the firm, the first six months of 2022 have been very busy, adding: “There was definitely pent-up activity post pandemic.
“There are things which should have happened but didn’t for obvious reasons, and several of those deals and transactions are still in the pipeline.”
Throughout the first half of the year, the firm advised on a number of deals, including the sale of a historic ice cream business and the sale of Town Centre Garage (Sunderland) Limited to Sherwoods Motor Group, and the firm was also listed as one of the most active advisers in Experian MarketIQ’s M&A Review for Q1.
In terms of specific sectors, Adams said that technology and software continues to thrive, alongside the renewable energy sectors which have seen an uptick in activity.
The North East has experienced an influx of inward investment within these sectors across the last year, including Britishvolt revealing plans to build a Gigafactory in Blyth, and technology businesses such as Arctic Wolf and Version 1 opening bases in the area.
There has also been “consolidation within the automotive markets”, according to Adams, who added: “I don’t see the activity in those sectors slowing down over the next six months, but what we have seen post pandemic is deals generally taking a little bit longer to get done.
“I think that trend might continue just in light of the economy, but as I say, our current pipeline is strong, with some very good quality work.”
In May, the firm revealed plans to relocate its headquarters from Newcastle’s Cloth Market to The Lumen in Newcastle’s Helix city quarter.
It will take over the whole of the fifth floor of the building, which sits on St James’ Boulevard.
Speaking about the move, Adams said: “I think it’s a hugely exciting time. Across the firm we are looking to expand so that will enable us to do that.
“It’s going to give everyone a huge lift. Whilst remote working is here to stay, what we have found is that a lot of our staff really enjoy being in the office and I think that is important for our culture and in terms of facilitating collaboration.”
He added: “In terms of the premises themselves and the spec I don’t think there’s anything much better in Newcastle.
“It’s going to be a transformative time for the firm.”
Looking ahead, Adams said that he expects “more of the same” in the second half of the year, and added that businesses across Newcastle and in the region are positive, saying: “We are doing our small part to invest in it ourselves with the premises move, but I do think confidence, despite the cost of living and the economy, remains optimistic.”