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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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5]. 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 [6] with a paper fortune of £130m, the only person among the top 1,000 to have made their money solely in law.