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Three In A Row For Nik Askaroff

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Nik Askaroff of EMC Corporate Finance has been crowned Dealmaker of the Year for the third time in a row, cementing his place as the most influential rainmaker in the region. Askaroff scooped the award at Insider's 11th annual South East Dealmakers Awards 2017, held on 2nd February at the Copthorne Effingham Hotel, near Gatwick. The event, compèred by broadcaster Chris Hollins, celebrated the achievements of the region's top M&A professionals. Philip Cunliffe, Insider's regional business editor, said the UK's decision to leave the EU would create uncertainty in the market, but stressed the region is well placed to weather any potential storm. He added: "What is clear is that businesses here in the South East appear resilient and, backed by the knowledge and expertise of everyone in this room gives us optimism that the region will be able to cope with whatever is in store."

Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year
Winner: WK Corporate Finance
Judges hailed Andy Coghlan’s team of 14 (and rising) due to its reputation for first-class advice to growth companies in the region. Stand-out deals last year were the sale of Plastique Group to ESCO and the investment in MPB Group by Mobeus Equity Partners, both shortlisted as Deals of the Year.
Shortlisted: SamCorpRSMGrant ThorntonEMC Corporate Finance, Quercus Corporate Finance, Castle Corporate Finance
Sponsored by: BGF

Corporate Law Firm of the Year
Winner: DMH Stallard
DMH Stallard held on to the title for another year. Jonathan Grant leads the team which has worked on a wide range of deals over the last 12 months. The firm was involved in no less than four of the shortlisted Deals of the Year category, including the sale of Carlyon Green; the sale of Brighton Sheet Metal to BREAL Capital; and the sale of Brightwave Group to Capita.
Shortlisted: Cripps, PDT Solicitors, Irwin MitchellStevens & BoltonCharles Russell Speechlysasb lawRawlison Butler
Sponsored by: Buzzacott

Corporate Bank of the Year
Winner: Santander
Santander’s corporate team in the South East is led by Gwyn Price who has also been shortlisted in the Corporate Banker of the Year category. Santander is lending to the region’s SMEs through its innovative and flexible Breakthrough Growth Capital loans.
Shortlisted: Clydesdale Bank, RBS, HSBC, Williams & Glyn, Lloyds Bank, Barclays
Sponsored by: Mazars LLP

Asset-based Lender of the Year
Winner: Shawbrook Bank
Judges said Shawbrook Bank’s business credit and structured finance divisions has been hugely active in the South East marketplace over the course of the last 12 months. Led by the very experienced Tim Hawkins and Andrew Rutherford, it significantly increased its lending portfolio to South East businesses during 2016.
Shortlisted: RBS Invoice Finance, Lloyds Commercial, IGF Group, PNC, Leumi ABL
Sponsored by: PDT

Corporate Finance Adviser of the Year
Winner: Andrew Clegg, Quercus Corporate Finance
This is Clegg’s 20th anniversary of working in the region and is busier now than he has ever been in that time. Last year he advised Harbour & Jones on its acquisition of PCC and a financing deal for Impulse Logic.
Shortlisted: Simon Woodcock, Grant ThorntonKirsty SandwellRSM; Dan Nixon, WK Corporate Finance; Chris BrazierRoffe Swayne; Stuart Stepney, Castle Corporate Finance; Michael Pay, EMC Corporate Finance
Sponsored by: Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Ltd

Corporate Lawyer of the Year
Winner: Keith Syson, Stevens & Bolton
Syson wins the title he last won in 2011. He has been one of the region’s most trusted and reliable lawyers for many years now, consistently providing first-class advice to his clients. Syson’s deal highlights last year included the acquisition of NVA Services by Volution Group and the acquisition of Tobar Group by Merino Private Equity.
Shortlisted: Abigail Owen, DMH Stallard; Geoffrey Sparks, Charles Russell Speechlys; Nigel Stanford, Cripps; Keith Syson, Stevens & Bolton; Faye Bargery, Irwin Mitchell; Rebecca Glazebrook, PDT Solicitors; Jonathan Grant, DMH Stallard

Corporate Banker of the Year
Winner: Andrew Rutherford, Shawbrook Bank
Rutherford has become the first asset-based lending specialist to win. Judges said Rutherford is a consummate banking professional who is highly respected in the market and has built a superb reputation in the region. Shawbrook Bank has made huge advances since its move from Centric Commercial Finance in 2014 and Rutherford has been behind much of this recent success.
Shortlisted: Mathew Glentworth, RBS; Gary Smith, Barclays; Graeme Alston, HSBC; Gwyn Price, Santander; Phil Barnes, HSBC
Sponsored by: Grant Thornton UK LLP

Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Winner: Tamara Roberts, Ridgeview Wine Estate
Tamara is part of the second generation of the Roberts family to run the Ridgeview Wine Estate. Ridgeview wines are served at Downing Street receptions and numerous Buckingham Palace state banquets. She took over as chief executive officer of the family business in 2014, and has since overseen Ridgeview’s rapid growth, to a production of 300,000 bottles. Under Tamara’s astute leadership, the business has plans to double production incrementally over the next five years.
Shortlisted: Darren Fell, founder and chief executive; Luke Johnson, chairman, The Brighton Pier Group; Greg Caswill, chairman, Envision Pharma Group; Ian Fletcher-Price, Posturite
Sponsored by: Barlow Robbins

Private Equity / Venture Capital Deal of the Year Award
Winner: Investment in Ferrabyrne Ltd by YFM Equity Partners (Advisers Meta Corporate Finance; WK Corporate Finance; Cripps; Coole Bevis; asb law)
The investment in Ferrabyrne by YFM Equity Partners will enable the company to push for growth, expand its client base and create new jobs. The judges were impressed with the fact that the deal involved only South East-based advisers who worked to resolve a number of complex issues, and that it was also focused on protecting and enhancing skilled manufacturing jobs.
Buyout of Envision Pharma Group by Ardian (Advisers: Grant ThorntonIrwin Mitchell; William Blair; White & Case; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Weil, Gotshal & Manges)
Investment in MPB Group by Mobeus Equity Partners 
Investment in Olive Communications by Business Growth Fund (Advisers and funders: George Green Solicitors; Barclays)
Buyout of FMP Global by Tenzing Private Equity (Advisers and funders: Catalyst Corporate Finance; Irwin MitchellSquire Patton Boggs; Memery Crystal; Pinsent Masons; HSBC)
Investment in The Up Group by Livingbridge (Advisers: PwC, BDO, Olswang)
Sponsored by: IGF Group

Deal of the Year Award for transactions under £10m
Winner: BIMBO of Hydra-lectric Group (Advisers and investors: Charles Russell Speechlys; Avondale; Morrisons Solicitors; EMW; Wilson Partners; Rockpool Investments)
Hydra-lectric’s new management team aims to build the business into an established market leader and to be one of the region’s major employers. The judges were keen to recognise that the deal was successfully funded through the Enterprise Investment Scheme, coupled with complementary investment to boost a manufacturing business in the region.
Sale of Pasant-ay Healthcare to Karex Berhad (Advisers: EMC Corporate Finance; Mayo Wynne Baxter)
Sale of Carlyon Green to ACRx[SL1]  LLC (Advisers: EMC Corporate FinanceDMH Stallard; Carpenter Box)
Sale of Brighton Sheet Metal to B-REAL Capital (Advisers and funders: BDO; Coole Bevis, DMH Stallard; Gunnercooke; Leumi ABL)
Acquisition of part of NSL Ltd by E-Zec Medical Transport Ltd (Advisers: DMH Stallard; Blake Morgan)
Sponsored by: Shawbrook Bank

Deal of the Year for transactions over £10m
Winner: Investment in ByBox by LDC (Advisers and funders: PwC; Spectrum Corporate Finance; Shoosmiths; BDO; Liberty Corporate Finance; Osborne Clarke; RBS)
Already one of the fastest growing UK technology businesses, LDC’s investment provides ByBox with a platform for further significant growth. The judges felt this was an exceptional story, being a technology business that had attracted such high-value investment and, with the opening of a new technology hub, will have a positive impact on the South East business landscape.
Acquisition of SG Court Pharmacy Group by Paydens (Advisers and funders: BDO; Cavendish Corporate Finance; Cripps; HSBC)
Merger of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles (Advisers and funders: KPMG; Travers Smith; HSBC; Bridgepoint Capital)
Sale of Brightwave Group to Capita PLC (Advisers: RSMDMH Stallard)
Acquisition of Big Box Storage to StorageMart (Advisers and funders: RSM; JLL; asb law; Clifford Chance; Linklaters; RBS/NatWest)
Sale of Plastique Group to ESCO Technologies (Advisers: WK Corporate Finance; PDT Solicitors)
Sponsored by: Together

Dealmaker of the Year Award
Winner: Nik Askaroff, EMC Corporate Finance
Askaroff has been the lead dealmaker on a number of significant deals this year, including two that were shortlisted as Deals of the Year. The judges felt he is the outstanding and most influential dealmaker in the region as he not only consistently wins new business and gets results for his clients but also contributes hugely to the business and professional organisations in the South East.
Highly commended: Peter Samuels, SamCorp
Andy Coglan, WK Corporate Finance
Paul ButlerRoffe Swayne
Andrew Clegg, Quercus Corporate Finance
Sponsored by: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors