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Portrait of Will Axtell


Will is a partner in the corporate team, specialising in M&A, fundraisings, spin-outs and other corporate law matters. He is based in the Oxford office and has particular expertise in the technology and life sciences sectors. Will has a strong track record in complex and high value transactions, often with a cross-border element. He has advised on many US-UK international transactions and has acted on some of the largest Oxford University spin-outs to date. Will is also co-head of the firm’s digital business group.

His clients range from start-ups and high growth companies to larger listed companies, as well as high net worth individuals and successful entrepreneurs. Will is listed in the ‘leading lawyer’ category for corporate law by The Legal 500, which notes his ability to combine ‘undoubted legal expertise with emotional intelligence’. Chambers UK states that he ‘provides sound, authoritative advice - exactly the sort of person you want standing by your side during a complicated transaction’. Will particularly enjoys helping entrepreneurs achieve a successful exit to a larger buyer (either trade or private equity).

Will joined Penningtons Manches Cooper in 2014 from another leading UK law firm. Earlier in his career, he spent several years as an in-house corporate lawyer with Vodafone, working mainly on high profile M&A deals. He trained and qualified at a Magic Circle firm. 

Recent work highlights

  • Advising on the £45 million sale of ATDBio to NASDAQ Stockholm listed Biotage AB, a major cross-border life sciences transaction.
  • Advising on the sale of Titian Software to US-based Battery Ventures, an important cross-border technology transaction.
  • Acting for Echo Healthcare, a US medtech company, on its acquisition of Immersive Interaction.
  • Advising Vaccitech, the co-creator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, on its spin-out from Oxford University and its £10 million funding round.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP