Boss of listed law firm cashes in nearly £10m worth of shares

Knight: Multi-millionaire

James Knight, chief executive of Keystone Law, has become the latest boss of a listed law firm to cash in a substantial number of their shares, generating £9.45m.

Mr Knight sold 1.5m shares at a price of 630p. He still holds just over nine million shares, representing 29% of Keystone’s issued share capital.

Last December, Mr Knight sold £630,000 worth of shares in response to “market demand”. The price then was 492p.

The latest sale was below the current share price, which reached an all-time high of 685p on Monday, when it was finalised, and has since slipped back to 655p.

A fortnight ago, Keystone announced turnover up 11% to £55m in the year to 31 January 2021, with adjusted profit before tax up 3.6% to £6m.

William Robins, Keystone’s director of operations and compliance, sold 130,000 shares this week, raising £819,000.

Meanwhile, in March, the two lawyers behind Anexo Group plc – the listed business that owns leading personal injury law firm Bond Turner alongside a credit hire business – completed the sale of some of their shares to a private equity investor for a total of £46m.

DBAY Advisors, an international asset management firm with offices in the Isle of Man and London, initially acquired 9.9% of Anexo’s shares in November and took its stake to 29% in March after receiving regulatory approvals from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Barrister Alan Sellers, Anexo’s executive chairman, sold some 15m shares for £22.6m and still holds a further 20m shares, 17% of Anexo’s issued share capital.

Solicitor and Bond Turner managing director Samantha Moss sold 15.5m shares for £23.3m, leaving her with 20.6m shares (18%).

They sold at 150p and the shares are now 130p.

The pair sold smaller chunks last June as part of a fund-raise by the company to support the acquisition of WIP books and small law and credit hire firms; Mr Sellers earned £1.57m and Ms Moss £1.61m.

Last month, Anexo reported that revenue increased 11% to £87m in 2020, with adjusted profit before tax falling 30% to £16m “in line with market expectations”.

In January, David Beech, chief executive of fellow listed firm Knights, sold £61m worth of shares. The regional practice’s largest shareholder, he was still left with more than 20% of the firm’s shares.

Last May, he entered the Sunday Times Rich List with a paper fortune of £130m, the only person among the top 1,000 to have made their money solely in law.

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Success in-house – what people don’t tell you about how to get there

TV dramas have made many people think that the legal profession consists of heroes (or villains) in high-flying firms or public prosecution. In reality, nearly a quarter of solicitors work in-house.

The ‘soft landing’ growth strategy for law firms

Increasing demand for ‘hot’ areas of law inspires opportunist law firms to hire more specialists to add to their firepower – the right people at the right time. Yet this is a big ask.

The changing landscape of legal education and online learning

Learning has come a long way since I qualified. There’s a lot more knowledge available about how students learn and how different students learn differently. It’s not one-size-fits-all anymore.

Loading animation