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Freeths - Law firm

Jonathan Hambleton

Managing Partner - Milton Keynes

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"Jonathan Hambleton is very considered, close to the detail but also has a great helicopter view of the overall project."
(The Legal 500, 2023)

Jonathan is an Oxford educated, Slaughter and May trained, corporate lawyer with more than 25 years experience of buying, selling and financing of businesses.

He led the merger of his previous law firm, Kimbells, with Freeths and so has firsthand experience of mergers/acquisitions as a business owner, as well as legal adviser.

Jonathan is listed as an Eminent Practitioner in Chambers & Partners (2024 edition), and he is recognised by The Legal 500 (2024 edition) in the Hall of Fame for Corporate & Commercial. The Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence.


Legal Services


Jonathan has more than 25 years experience of selling businesses, buying businesses and advising bank and equity providers on investing in businesses. This very broad experience has given Jonathan a detailed insight into the aims and aspirations of sellers, buyers and investors and has proved invaluable in getting transactions completed quickly and efficiently.

The sale of CTC for £140+ million to L3 Technologies Inc involved a number of challenges, including:

  • Co-ordinating the large group of selling shareholders
  • Engaging and liaising with lawyers in New Zealand, where CTC owned and ran a substantial flight school and fleet of training aircraft
  • Understanding the requirements of CTC’s debt provider
  • Working with and satisfying CTC’s private equity provider
  • Overall management of the transaction and timetable

Jonathan’s experience of acting for banks on providing debt and private equity houses in relation to equity was a great help in closing the deal – as he understood the approach and perspective of the Bank and Private Equity House. Also, Freeths’ existing relationship with overseas lawyers allowed him to provide the client with a single point of contact for all legal issues.

Recent Work

  • Acting for Charles Wells on the sale of its brands, brewing and distribution business to Marston’s PLC.
  • Acting for Wells & Young’s on the acquisition of the Courage, Directors, McEwans and Youngers beer brands from Heineken.
  • Acting for access platform provider, AFI Holdings, on various acquisitions, including AJ Rentals Limited, and in relation to debt and equity funding from Santander and Rutland Private Equity.
  • Acting on various high value disposals by the US conglomerate Digital Angel, including the sale of Sabre (a manufacturer of search and rescue beacons for military use) to a French listed technology group.
  • Acting for the shareholders in the CTC Aviation Group on the £140+ million sale to L3 Technologies Inc.
  • Acquiring Dry Lube Limited for Diversey Limited (part of packaging giant, Sealed Air Group).
  • Advising Canadian company Metro Supply Chain Group on the acquisition of the Evolution Logistics Group.
  • Acting on the sale of Heritage Automotive Limited, a 12 site franchised car dealership representing Audi, Peugeot, Skoda and Volkswagen and operating across the South West.



Drinks, Hospitality & Leisure

Over the last 25 years Jonathan has built up considerable knowledge around the brewing and distribution of drinks products and the relationship between drinks suppliers, wholesalers, retailers and pubs/restaurants including:

  • Buying, selling and financing of pubs and restaurants
  • Commercial agreements relating to brewing and distribution of drinks products, providing drinks under licence and packaging of drinks
  • Protection and exploitation of drinks brands

This experience proved invaluable on the recent sale of the Charles Wells brewing, packaging and distribution business to Marston’s PLC. The transaction involved not only the sale of assets, but also a suite of contracts under which Marston’s will provide back to Charles Wells the services and products required to run the retained Charles Wells pub estate.



To contact Jonathan or for more information…

Call: 0345 271 6750
Mobile: 0780 243 7992
Or email: Send an email



“Many thanks for your hard work and complete dedication to completing Sabre and the other Digital Angel disposals. You were A+ in all respects”.

(Parke Hess Acquisitions/Disposals, Director of Digital Angel )

“Jonathan’s team combines high level legal expertise with many years of knowledge/experience of the brewing/drinks sector. The support we received from Jonathan Hambleton and his team on the sale of our portfolio of brands and Bedford brewery was invaluable. Many thanks”.

( Justin Phillimore, Managing Director, Charles Wells Limited )

“Your expertise not only in corporate acquisitions but also in debt and equity funding has brought real benefits to AFI and its shareholders – I would recommend you to others without hesitation.”

(David Shipman, Chairman, AFI Holdings Limited)

“I cannot thank you enough for your patience, diplomacy and persistence. We have come a long way from the meeting in Paris. We are very grateful to you.”

(Patrick McGrath, Managing Director, Hatch Mansfield)

“I remain impressed at his attention to detail, thorough approach and ability to take both a helicopter view and detailed view.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2023)

“The ‘very professional’ team provides ‘pragmatic advice’. Practice head Jonathan Hambleton is an ‘excellent commercial lawyer’ and a ‘very capable adviser’.”

(The Legal 500)

“’’…practice head Jonathan Hambleton, is a ‘first-rate lawyer’, and ‘excellent in every respect’.”

(The Legal 500)

“Jonathan Hambleton heads the corporate group in Milton Keynes. He represented AFI Holdings in a recent refinancing. One peer describes him as a ‘very personable and technical lawyer with a good roster of clients,’ while clients underscore his attention to detail.”

(Chambers & Partners)

“‘Highly experienced corporate lawyer’ Jonathan Hambleton is held in high regard for both his strong sector knowledge in the leisure and hospitality industry and his private equity expertise. One client reports: ‘He provided expertise and outstanding advice from a corporate perspective, helping guide us through complex corporate challenges that definitely improved our business’.”

(Chambers & Partners)

“Jonathan Hambleton is a senior figure at the firm and enjoys a ‘great reputation’ in the market for corporate work.”

(Chambers & Partners)

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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