Irwin Mitchell distances itself as Parabis admits to “discreet” sale discussions

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7 September 2015

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Parabis includes defendant personal injury firms Plexus and Greenwoods

Irwin Mitchell has said it is “not involved” in discussions with private equity firm Duke Street to buy part of the Parabis Group, contrary to reports in the Sunday Times.

The group admitted today that it has held “discreet discussions with other like-minded businesses” as it considered options to restructure its business.

The newspaper reported yesterday that Duke Street had “lined up” Irwin Mitchell and defendant firm Keoghs as “potential suitors” for Plexus Law the defendant personal injury arm of Parabis.

Parabis, an alternative business structure, comprises Plexus Law, claimant firm Cogent Law, law firm Greenwoods and a range of non-legal insurance services from loss adjusting and rehabilitation to risk management.

According to the Sunday Times, Duke Street, which bought a majority stake in Parabis in 2012, has held talks with potential buyers because the ABS had “struggled in recent years” and accounts filed at Companies house showed that it had “deferred debt payments” and had received “an extra £13m” from Duke Street last year.

A spokesman for Irwin Mitchell said today: “We were not involved in any discussions about Plexus, nor have we been. It’s nothing to do with us.”

A spokesman for Keoghs said the firm was aware of speculation in the press. “Our policy is not to respond publicly to speculation such as this. That remains the case.”

Duke Street declined to comment.

However, Parabis said in a statement: “Parabis Group has been undertaking a strategic review of its business over the past six months against the backdrop of unprecedented regulatory change and legal reform, which has transformed the delivery of legal services, most notably in the insurance legal services sector.

“This review has had a wide remit but two clear objectives to identify our core service offering as the market continues to work through change to ensure we have sustainable business model in the longer term and to determine how best to structure the business to deliver such services.

“In thinking about the future, we took the strategic decision to have discreet discussions with other like-minded businesses to weigh up all options properly. Some of these discussions are continuing.”

Parabis added that both “investors and financial stakeholders” supported the board’s approach.

“As soon as we are able to communicate more information we will but until then there will be no further comment.”

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