We live in strange times. Perhaps it is a product of our Britishness that we appear to have our heads firmly in the sand about the impending departure from the European Union. Some people still think that Brexit will not happen; some have accepted (or embraced) the fact that we are leaving the EU, but many of them have seen that the world has continued much the same since the referendum. They don’t seem to have grasped that triggering Article 50 is only the prelude. Brexit is what is going to happen in March 2019. Ready or not.
We are of course led by the Government’s example. The in-fighting does not help, but they seem to have spent most of their efforts in trying to negotiate the terms of our ongoing relationship with the EU, rather than planning for the inevitable economic and systemic disruption that will follow Brexit. That disruption will affect our relationships with the whole world, not just Europe. There are bound to be unforeseen consequences. It is still not clear that flights to the US and Canada (or the EU) will be able to operate after Brexit. Ryanair have included a Brexit clause in their Terms and Conditions to deal with that possibility. Other business in other sectors will follow suit unless certainty is provided soon.
There will be unforeseen consequences, and we can help our clients to deal with them as they arise or help them to plan, even if others are not. The key is to be ahead of events, not led by them.
Our London office continues to grow and attract more clients in our core practice areas of Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate finance and Funds. The year to August was a busy one and we have seen an increase in work for investors compared to previous years. There is significant activity in the VC/PE investment space, and we have seen a number of ‘club’ deals in recent months investing in a variety of assets from cinemas to petrol stations. The last 12 months has also seen a number of Chinese deals, both investment into the UK and disposals of UK assets to Chinese buyers.
In spite of the uncertainty ahead, London remains a key global financial centre and that is not likely to change in the next few years. We are looking forward to building the office and increasing the number of lawyers operating from our West End offices, with several plans in the pipeline – watch this space!
As our clients expand their reach, we are also pleased to be helping them to access new international markets and to raise the funds to do so.
We are hosting our London Drinks event on 6 September, and a series of technical events in the Autumn and Winter - if you would like to be invited to these please email Rebecca.Miles@mbmcommercial.co.uk.
Partner and Head of London Office
T: 0203 096 0112