Axiom ditches listing for private equity investment

Donio: Faster innovation

Leading alternative legal services provider Axiom Law has announced a “significant” investment from top private equity firm Permira, having previously indicated that it would list instead.

It said the new investment would support Axiom “as it continues to expand in the US and internationally, launch new service delivery capabilities and leverage the legal industry’s ongoing shift to flexible talent models”.

Permira is already invested in LegalZoom, the leading US legal brand that owns a law firm in the UK – in what was dubbed the largest ever investment in law – as well as consumer credit management business Lowell Group, which also owns a firm of solicitors.

Permira advises funds with total committed capital of approximately $47bn and has made over 250 private equity investments.

Axiom, which is not a regulated law firm, provides legal and consulting services to in-house teams in three ways: through ‘on-demand’ lawyers, an end-to-end outsourced service for complex legal processes, and project work.

It employs 2,000 people around the world, including in London and Belfast, and had a 2017/18 turnover of around £275m.

The most recent accounts of its UK arm, for 2017, show a turnover of £49m and gross profit of £16.5m, although “administrative expenses” wiped this out, meaning it made a net loss of £319,000.

Elena Donio, chief executive officer of Axiom, said: “Our industry is in the early days of a complete transformation, away from the historical law firm paradigm toward nimble, technology-powered solutions. Axiom has been leading that transformation, and this partnership is about preparing for faster innovation, more disruption and extending our lead.”

Permira principal Daniel Brenhouse added: “Axiom is a pioneer in liberalising the career alternatives for legal professionals through a strong culture and a compelling value proposition.

“Permira and the Axiom team share the same vision of broadening its applications, while simplifying the integration of Axiom lawyers into legal departments of the world’s leading companies.”

In February, Axiom said it had submitted a draft registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

It also spun off two of its divisions into independent companies: Knowable, which provides contracts intelligence for companies, and Axiom Managed Solutions.

The transaction is expected to complete by the end of the year.

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