Paddy Brennan Acquires McConnell Chartered Surveyors Limited

Johns Elliot Solicitors advised the shareholders of Belfast property consultancy McConnell Chartered Surveyors Limited on its acquisition by prominent Northern Ireland entrepreneur Paddy Brennan.

Tracing its original origins back to 1854 and based out of Belfast’s Montgomery Street, McConnell Chartered Surveyors Limited is the Northern Ireland Alliance partner of JLL, which is one of the world’s largest real estate advisors with over 100,000 employees. The firm will now be helmed by new owner Paddy Brennan as managing director. Brennan was a co-founder of BTWShiells, the largest independent commercial property consultancy firm in Ireland prior to its 2014 sale to Lambert Smith Hampton.

Brennan has recruited eight former employees to support his growth strategy for McConnells. The majority of the firm’s former shareholders will remain within the business. Commenting on the acquisition, former shareholder Rory Clark said: “The sale of the business to Paddy brings a very welcome boost to McConnell’s, combining our loyal, strong and diverse client base, with Paddy’s wealth of experience in the property business and particularly his expertise and contacts in Capital Markets. We very much look forward to a bright future working together.”

Johns Elliot Solicitors advised the shareholders of McConnells with a team led by partner Jason Thompson.


An Interview with Jason Thompson, Johns Elliot Solicitors

Please tell us more about this acquisition and the role you played in it.

Johns Elliot Solicitors has been a trusted legal advisor to McConnells for over 30 years. The firm has advised on all matters including corporate, commercial and property throughout the period of this longstanding relationship. We are of a similar vintage to McConnells, tracing our origins back to 1837.

I was instructed at an early stage in the transaction initially to advise on the heads of terms and a confidentiality agreement. I was subsequently involved in the due diligence process as well as negotiating and agreeing the detail of the share purchase agreement and associated ancillary documentation.

What unique skills and experience did you bring to bear on the transaction?

Johns Elliot is well known for delivering pragmatic legal advice in a commercial setting. I completed my initial training with the firm which was founded on long-established values of service, commerciality and integrity.

We take pride in the strength of each of our individual client relationships, as evidenced by the lengthy period over which we have acted for McConnells. Having personally acted for McConnells for approximately ten years, my in-depth knowledge of the business was beneficial throughout the course of transaction and particularly in relation to the due diligence process. We aim to provide high-quality legal services to a client base that ranges from international companies, investment institutions, charities and public authorities to local businesses, private individuals and families.

We take pride in the strength of each of our individual client relationships, as evidenced by the lengthy period over which we have acted for McConnells.

We offer a partner-led service, and our key strength lies in the quality of our team. Each client has an individual point of contact directly responsible for delivery of the required legal services and able to draw upon shared expertise within the firm. This ability to access the collective expertise of a dedicated team of lawyers allows the delivery of practical solutions tailored to the specific needs of the client.

I dealt with all corporate and real estate aspects of the transaction. I have significant experience in these areas of practice, having dealt with a number of high-value transactions over the years including, more recently, the sale of a hotel for a well-known international brand. I was assisted by my colleague, Graeme King, in respect of related employment matters.

Did you encounter any significant obstacles during this transaction? If so, how did you overcome them?

From a legal standpoint, the originally agreed structure of the deal changed during the course of the transaction following further discussions between the parties. This can always prove challenging and necessitated the redrafting of certain documents. However, we adapted to the revised terms quickly to ensure this did not impact on the timescale for completion of the transaction.

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