International law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised Yorkshire-based investor Enact on the acquisition of family-owned port services and maritime haulage business SEA Transport Limited (SEA).

Enact is a long-standing client of WBD and, in September, a team of lawyers from WBD advised on its investment in hygiene and infection control company, PAL International Limited.

The deal to acquire SEA, which is based on Felixstowe port, Suffolk, is the maiden investment from Enact Fund III, a £100m fund launched in June 2022 which invests transformational capital of up to £10 million into UK-based SMEs.

As part of the transaction, Enact will support a management buy-in team, while retaining the incumbent founding family members, to deliver growth from Felixstowe and extend the business model across multiple UK ports to create a national platform providing specialist port services and maritime haulage.

A multi-specialist and cross office team of WBD lawyers advised Enact's London team, led by corporate partner James Cook, associate Sarah Tallant and solicitor Nadia Abedin - all based in Leeds. They were supported by London-based partner Claire Kistner and solicitor Benjy Waxman from the firm's banking team and Newcastle-based employment lawyer Sandy Duncanson.

James Cook of WBD commented:

"Enact is a long-standing client of WBD and we are thrilled to have advised them on this latest transaction, which will provide the investment needed to support the expansion of SEA Transport Limited. Our strong private equity credentials coupled with our sector expertise meant we were able to provide commercially-driven legal expertise for our client."

Felix Connolly, Investment Director at Enact, commented:

"We are delighted to acquire a brand in SEA that is recognised and trusted by its customers and has an excellent reputation in the market in which it operates. James and the team at Womble Bond Dickinson offered crucial advice and their specialisms were essential in ensuring a smooth completion."

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD supports clients with their regional, national and international growth strategies. The firm has a large corporate practice in the UK advising clients on a broad range of corporate transactions, particularly M&As, IPOs, MBOs, private equity investments as well as growth and development capital fundraisings.