Acquisition number six for PE firm with ‘tuck-in’ deal

Nelsons acquisition: Tim Hastings (l) and Rik Pancholi

Private equity firm Blixt Group, which owns three regional law firms, has backed a third ‘tuck-in’ acquisition to support their growth, this time for East Midlands firm Nelsons.

Nelsons, which joined Blixt’s legal group Lawfront in May, is acquiring Leicester-based Patterson Commercial Law, which has 10 fee-earners.

Founded seven years ago by Rik Pancholi – who qualified at Nelsons in 2008 – Pattersons Commercial Law offers a broad range of legal services and has a particular focus on owner-managed businesses.

Essex practice Fisher Jones Greenwood and Farleys in Lancashire were Blixt’s first acquisitions – and both announced small acquisitions after they joined Lawfront. Nelsons took the group’s revenue to £45m.

In an interview with Legal Futures earlier this year, Lawfront chief executive Neil Lloyd said its strategy was to buy between five and eight “regional leaders” and then invest in their growth in those regions. This meant up to five more deals over the next two to three years.

Blixt would also provide funding for “tuck-in” acquisitions, he said, and there was “quite a pipeline” of these.

A statement yesterday said the Pattersons acquisition “demonstrates Lawfront’s strategy of backing the management of leading regional law firms to achieve their own growth ambitions, both organically and by acquisition”.

Mr Pancholi said: “This move feels more like coming back home for me personally and into a space where I know our team will thrive and our clients will be incredibly well supported. That culture appears to be even stronger with Nelsons having become part of Lawfront.”

Nelsons chairman Tim Hastings added: “Becoming a Lawfront firm has given us access to resources and additional expertise that will help us to realise our own bold growth plans, of which Pattersons Commercial Law is now a part.

“I’m confident that the larger combined team will be an asset to the business from day one and that they will be valued by colleagues and clients alike.”

Mr Lloyd said “the key to group success is backing our regional leadership teams to achieve their own growth ambitions”.

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