The 2018 Winners

Private Equity Firm of the Year sponsored by Taylor Made Computer Solutions

Winner: Meridian Growth Capital

Holding 13 minority equity stakes including 2 new investments in the year.




  • BGF – investing in Dolphin Homes and DB Food Group.
  • LDC – continuing to support Solent businesses such as BOFA and Magicard.

Lawyer of the Year sponsored by Meridian Corporate Finance

Winner: Sophie Eales of Trethowans

Banking partner, experienced in managing cross-department and multi-disciplinary teams on deals.


Highly commended: Hayley Bevis of Coffin Mew

New head of the firm’s corporate team and making her mark as the firm grows its footprint.




  • Steve Cole of Blake Morgan – commercial finance specialist with extensive experience of advising banks.
  • Stephen Porter of Shoosmiths – longstanding Southampton-based and a leader in the field.

Due Diligence Team of the Year sponsored by Clarke Willmott

Winner: BDO

20 deals in the year with a transactional value of £400m.




  • Mazars – 14 deals with a value of £460m.
  • RSM – a raft of transactions including complex cross-border deals.

Corporate Finance Adviser of the Year sponsored by Paris Smith

Winner: Stewart Lambert of James Cowper Kreston

20 deals in the year with a transactional value of £400m.




  • Michael Barcia, of Meridian Corporate Finance – deals included six MBOs, 2 sales and a fundraise.
  • Darren Miller of Spectrum Corporate Finance – deals included ICS Cool Energy and Tructyre.
  • Darren Thompson of Meridian Corporate Finance – deals included four lead advisories plus a host of investments.
  • Rob Holmes of Wilkins Kennedy Corporate Finance – deals included ChamSys and GeoTech Soil.

Law Firm of the Year sponsored by Taylor Made Computer Solutions

Winner: Blake Morgan

‘Quality in execution and an ability to be pragmatic’, says one nomination.




  • Clarke Willmott – ‘responsive and proactive’.
  • Moore Blatch – ‘they act expertly with no fuss’.
  • Paris Smith – ‘made the whole process of selling the business easy; everything went so smoothly’.
  • Shoosmiths – ‘they deliver consistently’ and have ‘broad experience’.
  • Trethowans – ‘highly regarded and communicative’

Corporate Finance Team of the Year sponsored by HSBC

Winner: Meridian Corporate Finance

Lead advisory on £180m worth of transactions.




  • BDO – 7 deals in Solent and a whole more across the south.
  • James Cowper Kreston – 17 transactions on both the buy and sell side.
  • Spectrum Corporate Finance – a record year for the team across the south.
  • Wilkins Kennedy Corporate Finance – a portfolio of deals up to £50m value.

Bank of the Year sponsored by Blake Morgan

Winner: HSBC

Supporting 150 businesses across the region, and involved in countless deals.



Other finalist:

  • NatWest – extremely active, with £300m of new money lent to local businesses.

Young Dealmaker (under 35) sponsored by Coffin Mew

Winner: Philip Mettam of Meridian




  • Chantelle Dabek of Blake Morgan
  • Gemma Spiceley of Blake Morgan

Small Deal of the Year – under £10m sponsored by The Business Magazine

Winner: Lucketts Travel acquisitions

Involving HSBC, Oasis, WKCF, Gateley, and Blake Morgan.




  • BGF investment in Dolphin Homes – involving BGF, Santander, Coffin Mew and Paris Smith.
  • Burgon & Ball sale to Venanpri Tools – involving Spectrum and Clarke Willmott.
  • NMT Holding BV acquisition of AB Plant Shipping – involving Coffin Mew, Nederhof, Ashtons and Taylorcocks.
  • Oyster Marine rescue (and acquisition by Richard Hadida Yachting) – involving KPMG, Spectrum, PwC, Pitmans Law and Blake Morgan.
  • Powertecnique sale to Riello UPS – involving Meridian, Trethowans, Taylor Wessing and Dains.

Mid-range Deal of the Year – £10m to £50m sponsored by IGF

Winner: The Quarr Group

MBO involving HSBC, Meridian, Shoosmiths, Blake Morgan, James Cowper Kreston and Taylorcocks.



  • Churches Fire Security investment by Lyceum Capital – involving Lyceum, HSBC, PwC, Paris Smith, Travers Smith, Addleshaw Goddard and Smith & Williamson.
  • R&M Electrical Group MBO – involving Meridian, NatWest, Trethowans, Shoosmiths, BDO and DSA Prospect.
  • Shorefield Holidays refinancing – involving HSBC, Blake Morgan and Tozers.
  • Tructyre sale to Michelin – involving NatWest, Spectrum, Moore Blatch, Deloitte and Covington & Burling.

Large Deal of the Year – over £50m sponsored by CMA Recruitment Group

Winner: ICS Cool Energy

Sale to Ingersoll Rand – involving Spectrum, Moore Blatch and Osborne Clarke.




  • Diversi Foods sale to Oetker Gruppe – involving Paris Smith, Argo, White & Case, Gateley and Houlihan Lokey.
  • Independent Vetcare restructure – involving HSBC and EQT.

Management Team of the Year sponsored by CMA Recruitment Group

Winner: Lucketts Travel

Sale to Ingersoll Rand – involving Spectrum, Moore Blatch and Osborne Clarke.


Highly commended: Churches Fire Security

Established in 1992., a nationwide company dedicated to supplying its customers with the best fire safety solutions.




  • R&M Electrical Group – Formed in 1987, one of the largest electrical distributors in the UK.
  • Selwood (Workdry International) – the world-famous pump manufacturer with a pedigree which spans seven decades.
  • Shorefield Holidays – the family-owned business operating holiday parks since 1958.
  • The Quarr Group – founded in 1992, the group services the public and private sectors with contract catering, cleaning, facilities management and more.

SPONSORS BDO-logo-2017 Taylormade-Peach-logo Trethowans-Logos-2018-MIDNIGHT---WORDMARK-CMYK