Edward is a corporate solicitor with over 30 years’ experience advising companies on how to effectively plan and execute a variety of corporate transactions. Throughout his career, Edward has worked on many high-value acquisitions, disposals, reorganisations, mergers and takeovers, with many involving cross-border issues and significant commercial aspects. He also assists companies with, or seeking, a stock market listing, with UK equity market fundraisings and regulatory compliance.
Edward acts across all industries but has extensive experience in advising those in the retail, hospitality, and food and beverage sectors as well as manufacturing businesses.
Edward has been a contributing editor to Sweet & Maxwell’s Company Directors: Law and Liability for over a decade, and assisted with the development and publication of the CBI’s Practical Guide to Corporate Governance.
I’ve worked with Ed for over 10 years to successfully conclude several acquisitions, disposals, and restructurings. I now chair and advise a number of companies in the UK and Canada and Ed will always be the first point of contact to ensure perceptive and astute advice at all times. Ed can explain and simplify complex issues, consider all aspects of a transaction and provide clear guidance. He is also a pleasure to have on the team.
Deputy Chair, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT
Chair, Biotronics Limited
I have high expectations of the external advisers I work with; I don’t just want a capable lawyer, I want a person with business acumen, who understands Marston’s and its objectives and priorities. I want someone who knows our people, thinks in our shoes, talks our language and does things our way, being prepared to go the extra mile to get the job done. Ed’s ability to deliver on those expectations is a key reason for his appointment to lead the external legal team on several of Marston’s most significant brewery business acquisitions over the years, including Ringwood, Wychwood, Thwaites and Charles Wells.
Managing Director, Marston’s Beer Company
We’ve worked with Ed on a number of deals – both big and small. He’s a sound strategist and a shrewd negotiator, who is easy to deal with, thinks in our shoes and understands our priorities and objectives. We think he’s great.
Head of Legal, Industrial Customers, Veolia UK
Ed advised me and my wife as owners of events management business, DB Pixelhouse, on an equity release and investment transaction with Westbridge Capital. He’s a good guy to have on your side; he knows the right people, thinks ahead, focusses on the issues that matter, and knows how to get a good deal done.
CEO, DB Pixelhouse
I worked with Ed in project managing a long running multi-jurisdictional divestment project for a FTSE 250. He is a commercially astute and experienced lawyer with an adaptable style, who is bright, committed, capable and resourceful. He is also a pleasure to deal with.
Owner, Guidemark Ltd
I have worked with Ed on several corporate and commercial transactions, both large and small, in my time as group finance director of the leading greeting cards publisher, UK Greetings, and as financial consultant with Clintons Retail, and have appreciated his polite, responsive, pragmatic and sensible manner, and his unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of his clients in their preferred style.
Financial Consultant, Clintons Retail
Ed advised me when I was seeking to secure my first corporate acquisition. He was calm, unflappable and wise throughout the process and we ended up with an excellent win-win deal. Just what anyone could want from their legal partner!
CEO, SA Brain & Co
I’ve worked with Ed over several years on corporate transactions. He is highly responsive, thorough, and very easy to work with. He takes time to understand client objectives and gives practical commercially focused advice – based on years of experience – as to which issues are crucial and which are less important. This helps set the tactics for negotiation meetings where he provides invaluable support and creative solutions. I’ve enjoyed working with Ed and recommend him highly.
CFO and Strategy Director, FTSE 250 company
Ed’s expert guidance, informed advice and dedicated support during my company's sale to Steelite helped to turn concept into reality and deliver an excellent result. He’s a great person to have on your side
William Edwards, Founder of William Edwards Ltd
- UK equity market secondary offers/fundraisings
- Regulatory compliance
- Private equity
- Advised Marston’s PLC on several deals including:
- the £55m acquisition of the Charles Wells brewery and related brands (awarded Deal of the Year at Insider Central & East Of England Dealmakers Awards 2017)
- the £25.1m acquisition of Thwaites’ beer division and related beer brands
- the acquisition of Refresh plc (including the Wychwood Brewery and Hobgoblin beer brand)
- the acquisition of the Ringwood Brewery and related beer brands
- the acquisition of the Bluu bar/restaurant chain.
- Advised Spanish packaging group, SAICA, on its acquisition of the Americk Packaging Group.
- Advised Veolia on several acquisition projects including the acquisition of nuclear decommissioning specialist, KDC Holdings Ltd.
- Advised Close Brothers Group plc on the acquisition of EOS Wealth Management Limited.
- Advised Rotala Plc on several bus business acquisition projects including the acquisitions of Central Buses, Hotel Hoppa, Wings Luxury Travel, Wigan Coachways, Hansons, Elite Minibus and Coach, and Green Triangle buses.
- Advised Covpress Assemblies on the £30m acquisition of the business and assets of Honda assemblies supplier, UYT Limited, including related supply arrangements with Honda.
- Advised Advanced Medical Solutions Group plc on its €64m acquisition of RESORBA and associated £34m placing on Aim (shortlisted as Deal of the Year at the Quoted Company Awards 2013).
- Advised Spectris plc, on a series of cross-border acquisitions.
- Advised Midcounties Co-operative on a series of acquisitions of child daycare nurseries, as well as a number of acquisitions of individual supermarkets and convenience stores.
- Advised Young & Co.’s Brewery P.L.C. on the acquisition of the Old Ship, Hammersmith.
- Advised Aston Villa Football Club’s owners on the investment by NSWE.
- Advised Clintons in respect of its exit from a retail joint venture with Amscan International.
- Advised the shareholders and management of Reward Gateway on a £140m secondary buy-out by Great Hill Partners.
- Advised Midcounties Co-operative on the sale of its motor dealerships division involving three simultaneous transactions to dispose of 8 franchise dealerships to three separate, unconnected purchasers.
- Advised Spectris plc on the sale of Spectrum Inspection Systems to Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
- Advised RMC Group (now CEMEX) on the £141m sale of Hales Waste to Biffa Waste Services.
- Advised Hill & Smith Holdings plc on its sale of Express Reinforcements.
- Advised AT&T on the sale of its European long-distance telephony operations across 11 jurisdictions.
- Advised the shareholder of globally renowned fine bone china designer and manufacturer, William Edwards Ltd, on its sale to Steelite Group.
- Advised Homeserve plc on its group reorganisation including the demerger of South Staffordshire Water and the acquisition of minority interests in its main operating subsidiary.
- Advised on the reorganisation of the Americk Packaging Group following its acquisition by SAICA.
- Advised the London Electric Vehicle Company (formerly The London Taxi Corporation) on structuring and financing arrangements related to the development of the new TX electric taxicab.
- Advised Brintons on a variety of corporate restructuring arrangements.
- Advised the owners of Purecraft Bar and Grill on corporate restructuring including the buy-out of minority interests.
- Advised Morgan Advanced Materials on the merger of its fired-shapes thermal ceramics business with Magma, a UK-based fired-shapes specialist, to create a combined business under joint ownership.
- Advised the Conygar Investment Company plc on its successful £30m hostile takeover of the Advantage Property Income Trust listed on the London Stock Exchange’s main market and the Channel Islands Stock Exchange.
- Advised Interserve plc on its £116m recommended takeover of MacLellan plc using cash, loan notes and shares with a mix-and-match alternative and constituting a class 1 transaction for the bidder.
- Advised Tui AG on its £1.8bn takeover of Thomson Travel.
- Advised James Beattie plc on its £70m takeover by House of Fraser.
- Advised Numis Securities Limited as nominated adviser and broker on the admissions to Aim of Hunters Property plc, with an initial market capitalisation of £16.9m and ULS Technology plc with a market capitalisation of approximately £26m including an associated placing raising £12.1m.
- Advised Rotala on two separate placings to raise £2.4m and £3.5m, respectively.
- Advised Premier Foods on its Class 1 circular in connection with the sale of its canned grocery operations.
- Advised The Conygar Investment Company on a placing to raise £70m.
- Advised Azure Dynamics Corporation on placings to raise £14m and £5.25m, respectively.
- Advised Daniel Stewart & Company on a placing by Pubs n Bars.
- Advised United Industries on a rights issue to fund the takeover of Channel Holdings.
- Advised Halfords and VT Group on implementing director deeds of indemnity.
- Advised Wm Morrison Supermarkets, Hill & Smith Holdings, Manganese Bronze, Marston’s and others on AGM notices and AGM procedures.
- Advised Wm Morrison Supermarkets, VT Group, Manganese Bronze Holdings, Unity Trust Bank and others on updating their articles of association.
Ed has acted on investments by a number of private equity investors including 3i, LDC, Maven Capital Partners, Guinness Peat and acting for Alchemy Partners on 4 public-to-private takeovers and on the entry and exit of its investment in Ashbury Confectionery.
- Advised UK Greetings on its greetings card supply arrangements with a major UK high-street retailer.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Edward Dawes is a strong choice for corporates and shareholders, and offers expertise in acquisitions and investments as part of a broad M&A practice. Clients reveal: “He goes above and beyond the call of duty. He’s very down-to-earth, willing to intercede on your behalf and manages the client’s time well.” Chambers UK 2020
Recommended in The Legal 500 2019 for Corporate & Commercial
Ranked in Chambers UK 2019 for Corporate/M&A – Mid-Market & Private Equity
Lead legal adviser to the buyer in the transaction awarded ‘Deal of the Year’ at Insider Central & East of England Dealmakers Awards 2017 (Marston’s PLC’s £55m acquisition of the Charles Wells brewery and related brands)
Lead legal adviser to the buyer in the transaction awarded ‘International Deal of the Year’ at the Midlands Dealmakers Awards 2014 (the acquisition of Covpress International Holdings by a UK/China consortium)
Clients say that “he moves very quickly and is very responsive.” Chambers UK 2019
He is “very proactive” and “good at providing creative alternatives.” Chambers UK 2017
Edward qualified as a solicitor in 1988. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2019, he worked at the following firms:
- Squire Patton Boggs
- Wragge & Co