The Wilkes Partnership advises long-standing client, Star Live as it secures significant investment from LDC

Leading independent Midlands law firm advises the shareholders of long-standing client Star Live – the specialist production agency that delivers live event and specialist build solutions – as they secure significant funding from LDC, part of Lloyds Banking Group.


The Wilkes Partnership began working with David Walley, founder of The Arena Group and Executive Chairman of Star Live in 2016 and has proudly supported his successful buy-and-build strategy through the acquisition of 4 companies, including Star Live. Throughout that time, the Wilkes team worked closely alongside David Tucker at Regent Assay who provided corporate finance advice.

Star Live has seen considerable growth in the last year and have increased revenues by more than 30%. It has also secured a multitude of projects at high-profile events, including the Coronation Concert, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

David Walley, Executive Chairman at Star Live said:

“I have been working with the Wilkes team for over 5 years now. Rick Smyth and Lucy Freeman have been with us since acquiring our first business that was the beginning of our journey that eventually led to the Star deal. Since then, we have completed three significant acquisitions together, as well as a host of other related transactions which helped us to develop and grow the business and to navigate the turbulent COVID pandemic. We have also had great assistance from other teams across the firm, including immigration, property, commercial contracts and litigation.

We have always found the Wilkes team to be proactive, approachable and capable. They have been invaluable in helping us solve the problems that we have faced and in taking advantage of our business opportunities. They worked incredibly hard to help us deliver on the LDC investment.  We were delighted to have Rick and his team with us on this deal”.

The Wilkes Partnership’s continued collaboration with Star Live exemplifies the firm’s commitment to fostering long-term relationships with its clients. By combining legal expertise, business acumen, and a client-centric approach, The Wilkes Partnership is able to support entrepreneurs and business leaders in achieving their objectives. The funding which Star Live has received will support the next stage of their journey including overseas expansion, as well as investing in its people, brand facilities and equipment.

Lauren Stephens, Central Services Director at Star Live said:

I am grateful to the Wilkes deal team for their support throughout the due diligence process. Working with Rick and the team is always a pleasure as they approach challenges with reason and common sense. They managed the due diligence process capably and with good humour. It was beneficial to have a long-standing relationship with the wider Wilkes team, including property, immigration, commercial contracts, and litigation, as they understand our business and provided valuable support for complex data responses.

Client partner Rick Smyth, in the corporate team said:

 “At The Wilkes Partnership, we have a genuine passion for supporting entrepreneurs and witnessing their remarkable journey towards achieving their business objectives. As a firm, we take pride in offering our expertise and guidance to allow entrepreneurs to thrive in their ventures and our long-standing relationship with Star Live demonstrates this. We are committed to being more than just legal advisors; we strive to be trusted partners who share in the excitement and satisfaction of our client’s achievements.” 

On the LDC investment, the founders of Star Live were advised by the deal team of Rick Smyth (partner), Kiran Munawar (solicitor) and Alex Golding (paralegal), with specialist support from our colleagues in Employment, Litigation, Immigration, Commercial Contracts and Property. David Tucker at Regent Assay once again provided corporate finance advice.

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