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Business & Economy

Watson Burton shows strength in the franchise market

Commercial law firm Watson Burton has highlighted its growing presence in the franchise market by announcing that it worked on transactions in the sector worth approximately £3.5 million in its last financial year (May 2018-April 2019)

Newcastle-headquartered Watson Burton was appointed as an affiliate to the British Franchise Association (bfa) in 2017 and has since seen increasing demand for its specialist legal services from franchisees and franchisors.

According to the NatWest (bfa) Survey 2018, there were 48,600 franchise units across the UK last year – which contributed 710,000 jobs to the economy – and the sector generated a £17.2 billion turnover, up 14 per cent since 2015.

The bfa suggest that becoming a franchisee is a popular option, as many people view it as a way of starting a business with less exposure to risk.

This is reflected in bfa statistics which show around 90 per cent of franchisees report profitability in their first two years, and less than four per cent of franchise businesses fail for commercial reasons each year.

Franchisees can benefit from economies of scale and the support of a large brand combined with local marketing and business owners.

As a bfa-affiliated law firm, Watson Burton offers specialist expertise to both franchisors and franchisees. The bfa is the voice of ethical franchising in the UK and provides information and advice to businesses planning to franchise – or people considering joining a franchise. It also works closely with its members to help develop expertise in the industry.

Watson Burton’s legal services to the franchise industry are headed up by Watson Burton partner, Marc Allison. A corporate and commercial lawyer, he has a great depth of experience in the franchise market in bringing specialist transactional expertise to franchisors and franchisees.

To meet the increasing demand from the franchise sector for Watson Burton’s services, Marc is supported by a team of experienced lawyers who bring a multi-disciplinary approach to the franchise sector work the firm provides.

Watson Burtons’ work in the franchise industry includes acting for franchisors in the sale and purchase of entire franchise networks nationally and internationally, as well as offering commercial legal services for franchisors and franchisees.

The firm’s work includes advising on the structure and suitability of franchise offerings, property advice for offices, retail units and other premises, advising on brand protection and management, and drafting and negotiating core and ancillary documentation.

Marc Allison commented: “Last year we advised on more than 30 franchise-related transactions and continue to be engaged on structural advice, franchise disputes and franchise documents.

“We see the bfa as a ‘badge of quality’ so it is very important for Watson Burton to be affiliated with the organisation: we strongly believe in the opportunities it offers to the franchise industry.

“Our work sees us representing both franchise businesses and franchise networks that need legal support in their dealings with franchisees.

“By utilising the experience of a team who are experts in corporate, property, construction and commercial transactions we are able to offer sector specific franchise advice. In turn we anticipate further growth for the firm in this sector.

“We are the only North East headquartered firm to have achieved bfa affiliation and it’s important to be able to offer a ‘gold standard’ to businesses across the franchise industry spectrum.”

Watson Burton, which also has offices in Leeds and London, delivers commercial legal services nationwide. Its core practice areas are corporate, employment, real estate, construction and dispute resolution.

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