Corporate - M&A

The Corporate Team at Carson McDowell advises leading Northern Ireland businesses and International companies doing business in Northern Ireland, across a broad range of sectors. We are involved in providing specialist legal advice on all aspects of corporate transactions and matters.

For decades, our lawyers have advised on the most significant M&A and corporate transactions in Northern Ireland. Our experience and reputation speaks volumes, which is why we are widely recognised as one of the leading corporate and M&A legal practices in Northern Ireland.

What we do

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Private equity and venture capital
  • Reorganisations and restructuring
  • Shareholder agreements, joint ventures and partnerships
  • Advice on corporate governance and company law issues such as director duties, payment of dividends and returns of capital

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2019

What the team is known for

Prominent Northern Ireland firm which advises on matters from acquisitions and disposals to corporate governance. Noted for its specialist knowledge of the manufacturing and construction sectors, and strength in complementary disciplines such as competition, environmental and planning law. Well equipped to oversee deals spanning multiple jurisdictions.

Strengths

Clients say the team has "consistently provided excellent service and advice in multiple areas of corporate law in a very prompt and effective way."

"Carson McDowell is a high-quality corporate firm, and at the vanguard of the profession in Northern Ireland," says a source.

Work highlights

Advised SHS Group Ltd on its acquisition of ignition supplier Standard Brands from Graphite Capital.

Notable practitioners

The "excellent" Richard Gray has considerable experience in M&A transactions and corporate finance matters. Market commentators appreciate that he "works tirelessly to get the right result."

Neasa Quigley demonstrates expertise in complex equity funding and M&A transactions, with a strong presence in the energy sector. Clients praise her ability to "get to grips with the complex commercial issues at play very quickly and find solutions."

The "extremely responsive and hard-working" Gerard Armstrong is praised for possessing "an ability to summarise complex and fast-moving contractual changes into succinct, client-friendly review documents."

Michael Johnston advises clients both domestically and internationally on Northern Irish commercial matters. He is the firm's managing partner and is described by commentators as "an intelligent and wise advocate."

One client praises Gerard Armstrong for "thinking of things I don't and putting in extra miles to serve the best interests of the client." He advises companies from the agrifood and construction industries on a range of transactional matters.

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

What the team is known for

Prominent Northern Ireland firm which advises on matters from acquisitions and disposals to corporate governance. Noted for its specialist knowledge of the manufacturing and construction sectors, and strength in complementary disciplines such as competition, environmental and planning law. Well equipped to oversee deals spanning multiple jurisdictions.

Strengths

One impressed client lists the team's strengths as "client service," "good value for money" and an "excellent knowledge of commercial work."

Others praise the firm for its "strong support, appropriate advice and responsiveness."

Work highlights

Acted for the shareholders of Chain Reaction Cycles in its merger with private equity-owned rival Wiggle.

Acted for Fane Valley Co-operative Society on the sale of the Fane Valley Dairies Business to Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society.

Significant clients

VINCI Energies, Celesio, NTR, Newscorp, SHS Group.

Notable practitioners

Richard Gray is a seasoned corporate finance lawyer who acts on behalf of clients from a range of sectors, including online retail and manufacturing. He is "very committed to the job and getting the right outcome," says a client, who also calls him "a great person to bounce ideas off" and a "trusted adviser."

Co-head of department Neasa Quigley handles corporate transactions in the energy sector, recently acting on significant acquisitions and equity investments on behalf of local and UK-wide clients in the industry. Market sources note that "besides having very strong knowledge in acquisition deals, she has proved to be very available, flexible and pertinent in her work."

Managing partner Michael Johnston is known for his years of experience handling a variety of corporate transactions, including equity investments, demergers and business sales. Clients say: "He makes himself available at all times and he can be relied on to deal with matters professionally and competently."

One client praises Gerard Armstrong for "thinking of things I don't and putting in extra miles to serve the best interests of the client." He advises companies from the agrifood and construction industries on a range of transactional matters.

​Chambers and Partners UK 2017

What the team is known for

Prominent Northern Ireland firm which advises on matters from acquisitions and disposals to corporate governance. Noted for its specialist knowledge of the manufacturing and construction sectors, and strength in complementary disciplines such as competition, environmental and planning law.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The firm has a local feel and yet provides a service expected from national and international practices."

"I would go as far as to suggest they are the best local law firm in Northern Ireland due to the people they employ."

Work highlights

Advised McKesson on its EUR408 million acquisition of UDG Healthcare's pharmaceutical distribution business.

Advised PFC Industries on its sale to wealth manager Davy Private Clients.

Notable practitioners

Clients say that it is an "absolute pleasure" to work with co-head of department Richard Gray, who impresses with his "professionalism, attention to detail and timeliness." His practice focuses on M&A transactions and corporate finance matters.

Neasa Quigley co-heads the department and is described by market sources as a "standout individual." She handles a wide range of transactions involving the energy and technology sectors.

Interviewees praise Michael Johnston for being "hugely knowledgeable, practical and commercially astute - a wonderful professional in the fullest sense." He is managing partner of the firm.

Gerard Armstrong is prominent in M&A and project finance work. He is also an expert in the agrifood and construction sectors.

Significant clients

Wrightbus, SHS Group, Chain Reaction Cycles, Fane Valley, Bord Gáis.

The Legal 500 2018

What the team is known for

The corporate practice at Carson McDowell has been particularly busy with buy-side mandates for clients from the technology, energy, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors, notably on private equity-related investment matters.

Work Highlights

Advised technology company Options regarding a $100m investment by New York-based private equity fund Bregal Sagemount.

Assisted Davy UK with its acquisition of Danske Bank’s wealth management business, involving the transfer of over 1,000 customer investment portfolios.

Acted for Dalradian Resources in a C$78m private placement financing with Orion Mine Finance Fund II and Osisko Gold Royalties

Notable practitioners

Richard Gray, Neasa Quigley and Michael Johnston.

Significant clients

Helm Housing Association, the Aegion Corporation and Vinci Energies UK.

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