Examples of our recent work include:

CORPORATE

  • We have vast experience of acting on a range of deals including mergers, acquisitions and disposals ranging in value from £1million to in excess of £100 million.
  • Sofa Brands International: Advised on sale of leading sofa brands manufacturers (SBI Group), which includes 3 leading brands, G Plan, Parker Knoll and Duresta, which are available in more than 600 retail outlets nationwide and over 50 countries internationally.
  • Nature’s Dream: Advised private-equity backed business The Brand Cloud (Holdings) Limited on the acquisition of cosmetics distribution company, Nature’s Dream.
  • Burrows & Close: Advised on sale of 17 Burrows & Close pharmacies to Boots.
  • Abbeydale Foods Group: Advised Yorkshire-based Abbeydale Food Group, suppliers of prepared food to major supermarket retailers, on its acquisition of frozen mushy pea manufacturer Pie Toms.
  • Pasta King (UK) Ltd: Advised on MBI to aid expansion in retail markets.

COMMERCIAL, FRANCHISING & IP

  • Regulatory Compliance: Review of food regulations compliance documentation for various clients.
  • Supermarket & Wholesale Market Supply Agreements: Drafting, reviewing and negotiating in relation to sales of products to intermediaries for onward sale to major supermarkets as well as sales of ingredients to the wholesale market.
  • Sale & Distribution Agreements: Advising on sale and distribution of fairtrade bakery products, including drafting, negotiating and advising on a range of contract manufacturing agreements, distribution and licensing agreements, plus advice on food advertising and regulation.
  • Food Technology Business: Advice on, and drafting agreements for, a development programme with a manufacturer for an innovative vegetarian product and subsequent manufacturing agreement.
  • Franchising: As members of the British Franchise Association, our experienced team advises a diverse range of clients on all aspects of franchising, management and licensing agreements.
  • Data Protection: Our data protection specialists routinely advise our retail clients on best practice ensuring compliance with all laws protecting the misuse of personal details.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

  • Welsh Ministers (Welsh Assembly Government): Advised on the judicial review of a decision on the prohibition of the movement of animal feed in connection with contaminated food at a food processing plant.
  • Welsh Office: The preparation of witness evidence in connection with the BSE Inquiry.
  • Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales): Challenging a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority with respect to beef products in a proposed advertising campaign.
  • A Soup Company: Advice on product liability claim by a customer and against a supplier relating to a substantial contaminated batch of flavouring for soup (including a product recall).
  • A frozen food PLC: Advice on contractual dispute relating to the supply of 396 tonnes of salted butter.
  • A food retail outlet: Advising on remedies in response to a provisional closure order arising from public health issues.
  • Major supermarket and restaurant chains: Property dispute and property management issues.
  • A convenience store chain: Various matters including contractual disputes, defamation and negligence claims and defending trading standard prosecutions.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Business Reorganisation: Advising a large retail client on a corporate restructure, which was driven by a need to produce significant efficiency savings within the business and to ensure it was able to continue to meet its strategic objectives. 
  • TUPE: Assisting a retail client in connection with the in-sourcing of its repair and maintenance service as a result of the insolvency of its external provider.
  • TUPE: Advising a retail client on staffing implications and employment related matters arising out of whole group reorganisations and restructuring.
  • TUPE: Undertaking due diligence work for a number of retail clients in connection with understanding the workforce they are proposing to inherit via the operation of TUPE and the associated risks and advising on harmonising and changing terms and conditions following restructuring.
  • Employment Contracts: Drafting fixed-term, annualised and zero-hours contracts and advising on employment status issues.
  • Employment Contracts: Review of terms and conditions to harmonise terms for staff at a chain of retail stores and advising on wholesale changes to terms and conditions which included requirement to work weekend shifts and bank holidays. The work included drafting letters of variation of contracts and advising on process.
  • Disciplinary Procedures: Advising a brewery and its chain of retail outlets on the application of its disciplinary procedure.
  • Immigration Advice: We regularly advise on immigration matters arising out of recruitment and assist retail clients on the work permit application process.
  • Discrimination & Whistleblowing: Defence of an international plc against multi-million pound tribunal claims from two senior executives, involving race discrimination and “whistleblowing” issues, ultimately settled via a two-day mediation on extremely attractive terms for the client.
  • Unfair Dismissal & Age Discrimination: Successfully defended a claim of unfair dismissal and age discrimination brought by a retail manager, dismissed for gross misconduct, following an assault on a customer.
  • Unfair Dismissal & Sex Discrimination: Successful defence of a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination, brought by a transgender employee who had been dismissed for capability reasons.
  • Dispute Avoidance: Working closely with a lead provider of drug and alcohol testing, providing advice and training to employers on policy development and implementation of Drug and Alcohol Policies and management of drug and alcohol-related issues in the workplace, highlighting the legal issues arising (confidentiality, data-protection, discrimination, human rights and unfair dismissal) from the introduction of alcohol and drug-testing at work.
  • HR Training: Developing bespoke training sessions for managers tasked with performance management which has included social media policies, managing transgender staff and the specific equalities issues arising; and managing multi-ethnic workforces and balancing rights and obligations; Managing staff rotas/refusal to work specific religious days (e.g. Sundays and during EID) specifically covered.
  • Asbestos Management: Advising a supermarket chain on compliance.
  • Health & Safety Prosecution: Advising one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets in a prosecution following substantial injuries to one of its staff during stock delivery, and, a major agricultural business following a fatality from electrocution.
  • Food Safety and Crisis Management: Advising a fried chicken franchisee in a prosecution by a local authority under the main food regulatory framework, EC Regulation 852/2004 and the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006, for breaches of hygiene requirements including HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) non-compliance, regarding structural defects, pest control, stock rotation and frozen use-by date non-compliance. 
  • Food Safety and Crisis Management: Advising one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets in various matters including imposition of a hygiene emergency prohibition notice; Suspected listeriosis at one of its deli counters; and advising on the exercise of statutory powers by EHOs, leading to no further action.

REAL ESTATE

  • Real Estate - New-built Retail Sites: Assisting landlord clients in the development of new-build retail sites and schemes to include devising all estate leases and documents. Most recently these schemes have been anchored by supermarkets with smaller units typically let to A3/A5 occupiers.
  • Real Estate - Leasehold: Advising major retail and restaurant clients taking leasehold space ranging from high street to new build retail parks, to include negotiation of all construction and development agreements, planning matters and, increasingly, advising on allocation of liability for clean-up of environmental contamination.
  • Real Estate - Development: We have been retained as sole adviser to one retail client to advise on the roll-out of its ‘Drive-Thru’ concept – a significant departure from the client’s established bricks and mortar offering from its 3,000+ store portfolio.
  • Real Estate - Portfolio Management: We have exceptional strength in depth and experience in disposal and portfolio management work which covers the entire spectrum of requirements ranging from the very basic to the very complex.
  • During the last 12 months the retail/leisure property team has handled transactions comprising an asset value of approx. £950m.
  • Real Estate Strategic: Devising standard instructions to be followed (i.e. preferred terms / fallback terms / unacceptable terms) when dealing with acquisitions for all types of property within a client’s portfolio.
  • Real Estate Strategic: Drafting template letters for an international client sent to landlords to request conversion of existing leasehold portfolio to monthly rental payments. Letters were devised and pitched according to the recipient. The client has made a very significant cashflow saving as a result of the conversion project.
  • A hive-up exercise: This involved involving over 800 properties avoiding contingent liabilities so as to enable a significant number of companies within a complex corporate structure to be closed and the corporate structure streamlined ready for sale.
  • Lease Renewals: Our dedicated Lease Renewals Team has ensured that one client alone in the last 12 months has secured rental savings on renewal of leases of £2.3M and received £0.95M in capital incentives.


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David Watson

DAVID WATSON

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