Bank backing for listed firm’s acquisition ambitions

Beech: Accelerated growth

Knights Group – the Staffordshire-based law firm that listed in June – has secured bank funding to support its acquisition strategy.

It has explicitly targeted at least three acquisitions in less than two years.

The undisclosed funding package comes from Allied Irish Bank (GB), which has worked with Knights for over four years and backed Knights’ recent acquisition of Manchester firm Turner Parkinson.

Knights chief executive David Beech said: “We are delighted to join AIM with a high-quality register of institutional investors that is testament to the strength of our business model.

“We believe it provides us with a platform to continue our rapid growth, attracting individuals and businesses organically and boosting our profile to secure acquisitions.

“The funding package from Allied Irish Bank (GB) gives us the confidence to fulfil these aspirations and drive accelerated growth.”

Most of the £50m raised from the float went to pay off existing debt and the four selling shareholders.

It has set four growth targets to achieve by April 2020: recruiting more than 200 additional fee-earners to the existing 400; maximising “support staff efficiencies by further leveraging overheads”; have at least two new offices on top of the seven it now has; and complete at least three further acquisitions.

In other alternative business structure (ABS) news, US law firm Cohen & Gresser has launched its London office as an ABS because it is owned by its US parent.

The office is headed by partner Jeff Bronheim, who joined the firm after a decade as general counsel of Cheyne Capital Management in London

It will serve clients across the investment industry, including hedge funds, private equity and venture capital funds, investors, and management companies.

Mr Bronheim said Cohen & Gresser’s founders would not open a new office without someone they knew – he and managing partner Lawrence Gresser go back 25 years.

He said there was no intention to exploit the ABS status by taking external investment, for example, which is banned by US legal regulators.

Jordans Corporate Law, the Bristol-based ABS which is owned by global corporate services company Vistra, has launched a technology practice after hiring Declan Goodwin from Osborne Clarke.

Managing director Debbie Farman said: “Declan’s appointment is an important strategic move for the firm, as well as another statement of our intent to expand into new areas.

“His knowledge, expertise and proven track record opens new avenues of growth – and with Vistra’s global presence, we can expand our international services to clients in the technology sector as well as all our other clients when they engage in tech projects.”

Last year Ms Farman talked about Jordans’ international ambitions following its acquisition by Vistra.

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