Wragge & Co LLP mergers & acquisitions specialist Andrew Lawton Smith is stepping down as partner of the commercial law firm to take up a senior director role with Birmingham-based data-management technology provider Mercato Solutions.

Mr Lawton Smith joins Mercato after 20 years at Wragge & Co and an illustrious career that has seen him lead major deals including the Phones 4U buy-out, the sale of Dunlop Aircraft Tyres to ABN Amro Private Equity and the Rank Hovis McDougal group buy-out from Tomkins Plc.

He has also acted for motorsport business, Prodrive, and numerous private entrepreneur clients. Speaking about the move, he said: “My advisory role with Mercato has been moving towards a more commercial and strategic one for some time. 

“This move is a logical step and a really superb opportunity for me to make my mark in the most exciting business I have worked with in my career. 

“The business has reached a crucial stage of its development and I’m keen to play a big part in helping us meet our global aspirations in the years to come.”

In only its second year of trading, Mercato has delivered strong year-on-year sales up 440 per cent. The business offers innovative data management technology to help deliver more efficient ways of buying, selling, managing, analysing and interacting.

Major clients of Mercato include Legal & General, Camelot, John Lewis, Whitbread, Poundland, Transport for London and the Office for National Statistics.

Mercato ITelligence is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants as offering a “Best Practice, Best Value” procurement solution.   

Mr Lawton Smith said: “Mercato has cracked the enterprise content management ‘nut.’  Our mission is to broaden the technology’s applications and connect with any organisations looking for cost reduction and maximum business advantage from mining accurate and real-time marketplace data.

“Huge opportunities exist at the present time, especially for public sector bodies”