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Bircham Dyson Bell has moved to develop a specialist automotive practice within the firm's corporate department, securing its first instructions on a management buyout of a dealership network for Volkswagen (VW).
Corporate partner Carol Martin is leading the new direction for the firm, working in conjunction with consultancy service Practical Strategy.
"No one's taken the lead within motoring law. It would be good if we could become a leading light in the UK sector," said Martin. "The automotive sector is heavily regulated and has a high need for legal services, and I think we're very well placed to provide legal advice to the sector in a number of different ways, especially in more dynamic ways like we're doing with Practical Strategy."
Birchams took the first significant step towards automotive expertise when it advised the VW-sponsored dealer group Citygate Automotive on its buyout of the largest VW deal network in the South East from HR Owen, advised by Howes Percival's Milton Keynes office, for £16.2m. Martin said the deal "represents a watershed for the firm".
The VW business comprises a light commercial vehicle franchise and five car franchises in North West London, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
Eversheds' Manchester office advised financiers Alliance & Leicester.