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Record year sees Harper Macleod retain top-four spot in dealmaking league table

Dealmakers at leading law firm Harper Macleod enjoyed another record year in 2016, which saw the firm retain its spot in the top four of Scotland's dealmaking league table.

The firm closed more than 100 reported deals with a combined disclosed value in excess of almost £700 million.

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That performance saw Harper Macleod retain its place and increase its market share in the only independent measure of deal activity in Scotland, the Business Insider Deals Table.

Harper Macleod's reported deal tally of 109 for 2016 marked a 42% rise in the firm's activity for the 12 months, against an overall reported rise of 19% in the total number of deals reported in Scotland.

Donald Munro, Head of the Corporate team at Harper Macleod, said: “These figures were unveiled on the same day we announced our appointment as Legal Adviser to the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, so it seems appropriate to make a sporting analogy. The result reflects our position as one of the country's elite firms and one of a select group of independent Scottish firms which can offer a credible full service to clients.

"You can see from the names on the table, and those that no longer feature, the dramatic changes that have occurred in Scotland legal landscape over the past five years or so. We've taken that opportunity to increase our market share by offering a combination of quality and value that we believe sets us apart. That's why we're also seen as a trusted partner for UK and international firms for the Scottish elements of large-scale transactions."

The team at Harper Macleod advises in all types of transaction, from major M&A and projects to pioneering alternative investments such as crowdfunding and crowdlending.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertaintly, positive trends drawn from the firm's transactions during the year included a significant increase in inward investment into Scotland and the continuing buoyancy of both the Healthcare and Food & Drink sectors in particular.

The firm's business advisers are renowned for their work with family owned and owner managed businesses, and this was another area in which the appetite for dealmaking among clients led to significant activity.

Among the deal highlights of 2016 were: Tchibo Coffee Service GmbH's acquisition of Matthew Algie; the purchase and sale of multiple care home groups; the sale of Inveralmond Brewery to Innis & Gunn; the acquisition of ACF by LDF Group Finance Ltd; and the firm's Infrastructure & Projects team advising on the £350m Aberdeen Harbour project.

Munro added: "We've enjoyed a fantastic year, which is all down to the trust being placed in us by our clients and the sheer hard work of every one our lawyers across the firm. Uncertainty my now be the only certainty, but while it's hard to argue with predictions that the number of large M&A deals may be affected by Brexit and other macro issues, our own pipeline of work suggests another positive year ahead for the firm."

As well as M&A and major transactions, Harper Macleod is renowned for its work with SMEs, entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses. The firm's High-Growth & Investment team works closely with leading organisations including Entrepreneurial Spark and the Scottish EDGE fund, working with hundreds of growing businesses every year.

The Insider deals tables cover activity in Scotland across every sector. Over the past five years, Harper Macleod has risen from 17th to 4th in the table.