NewLaw vendors receive final £5m pay-out for sale to Redde plc

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5 May 2015

Moat: focus on law firm acquisitions

Moat: focus on law firm acquisitions

The owners of NewLaw Solicitors have received an issue of shares worth £5.16m as final consideration for its acquisition by Redde plc.

Most of the 4.3m shares – priced at £1.19 – are subject to a lock-in arrangement for 12 months from the date of their admission to trading on AIM, and are being issued in nine instalments, with the first last week.

Cardiff-based NewLaw was the fourth ABS licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and has since put together a series of joint venture ABSs targeted mainly at personal injury work.

As well as the law firm, the NewLaw Group includes companies involved in the provision of medical reports, costs drafting and employment law advice. Redde (then called Helphire) bought the group in February 2014 for £24.5m in cash up front and two tranches of shares subject to the achievement of EBITDA targets. Last year Redde issued £5.13m worth of shares to NewLaw’s owners.

Helphire also acquired net external working capital debt and shareholder loans of approximately £8.2m.

Meanwhile, a trading update from another listed company that owns a law firm – Fairpoint Group – said that it is “materially ahead of the same period last year” due to the contribution of Simpson Millar, the firm it bought last year.

It said the law firm “is performing well and we continue to develop a good acquisition pipeline of opportunities which are either complementary and/or synergistic to further enhance this established legal platform”.

Chris Moat, Fairpoint’s chief executive said: “We expect the full-year benefit of our legal services platform will provide an important growth stimulus for 2015. In addition, we have the capacity and finance to continue to pursue selective acquisition opportunities, with particular focus on this market.”

Australian listed firm Slater & Gordon announced last week that it has completed its acquisition of Walker Smith Way LLP, a deal first announced in February in conjunction with agreement to buy south Wales and south-west England firm Leo Abse & Cohen.

Their annual turnovers are £10.3m (Walker Smith) and £8.4 (Leo Abse), and the combined purchase price is £18.7m, made up of £10.4m cash at completion (including extinguishment of debt), £3.7m of equity consideration and £4.6m of deferred and conditional consideration over two years post-completion.

Walker Smith is a four-office, 23-partner firm headquartered in Chester that offers a range of services, but 70% of its revenue is derived from personal injury work.

It was also confirmed last week that the SRA has approved Slater & Gordon’s acquisition of Quindell’s professional services division. Approval from the Financial Conduct Authority remains outstanding.

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