Case Study: Armstrong Watson legal sector team support Cumbrian Law firm in sale to national house of brands consolidator


Thomson Hayton Winkley, and its sister brand the Rural Law Practice, is one of the largest and best known law firms in the Lake District and was established over 150 years ago. The firm, led by Simon Theobald and John Cooke, has specialities in hospitality and tourism whilst also offering private client, family and property law advice. The directors wanted to secure a deal with a firm that shared similar cultural values and support them to protect and grow their already thriving business.

How we helped

Thomson Hayton Winkley were supported by Legal Sector Partner Andy Poole and Corporate Finance Executive Michael Stewart, along with the rest of the Armstrong Watson corporate finance team, in securing an acquisition of the business by The MAPD group, a growing business focused on building a group of successful law firms across the country and aiming to make a positive difference. Based on our specialist knowledge of the market, we suggested a number of potentially suitable firms before making introductions and working with our client to broker an EBITDA multiple-based deal with MAPD. Andy and Michael assisted with the due diligence process and then advised on the commercial aspects of the share purchase agreement and project-managed the deal to completion. Our key input included advice on the debt free, cash free and normalised working capital aspects of the transaction.

Tax advice regarding the structure and the deal was provided by Armstrong Watson's tax team.


John Cooke, Director at Thomson Hayton Winkley, said: “Becoming part of a group whose name sums up what we all feel and do on a daily basis is the perfect home for us. It gives us the fuel to protect and grow an already thriving business in our beautiful corner of the world. This is a good day for our staff and for our local community, who can be assured of our continued commitment to developing and supporting them over the coming years, which we will now do with renewed vigour.”

Andy Poole said, “I’m delighted to have brokered, negotiated and completed such a good deal for all parties. Our specialist knowledge particularly came to the fore when solving issues surrounding treatment of shareholdings and the funding structure.”

When reflecting on the deal, the directors of Thomson Hayton Winkley said “Any merger process can be stressful, however, the support and efforts provided by the team at Armstrong Watson helped make the process as smooth as possible. The team were quick to respond to our queries and worked well with MAPD’s advisors to achieve a positive result for all parties.”