Double acquisition for MAPD Group with “more to come”

MAPD: Brian Cullen and Joanna Kingston-Davies

The MAPD Group – a business bringing together local law firms – yesterday announced a double acquisition in the North-West ahead of “several” more deals later in the year.

MAPD – which stands for Making A Positive Difference – has added Cumbrian firm Thomson Hayton Winkley and Ashton-under-Lyne practice Bromleys and now has a group turnover of £30m.

The group was created in 2020 following a management buy-out funded by Shard Credit Partners of the Jackson Lees Group, made up of North-West firms Jackson Lees and Broudie Jackson Canter.

In 2021, it acquired Stoke-based Myers & Co in the first stage of its buy-and-build strategy, followed last year by Liverpool and Manchester firm Bermans.

With 60 staff across six offices, Thomson Hayton Winkley and its sister brand the Rural Law Practice is one of the largest law firms in the Lake District; it also has estate agency and financial services arms.

The firm provides a range of commercial and private client services, and has both specialist farming and tourism/hospitality practices.

Bromleys, based in Ashton-under-Lyne, has a 58-strong team again serving both commercial and individual clients. It says it has the largest childcare team in Greater Manchester and is well-known for its Court of Protection work.

Firms joining MAPD retain their brands and co-founders Brian Cullen and Joanna Kingston-Davies said there were currently in talks with several other firms about similar deals as they look to expand the group nationwide. The latest deals were also backed by Shard.

Ms Kingston-Davies said: “MAPD is passionate about acquiring great law firms and supporting their growth. It was immediately obvious when meeting [their leaders that both firms] had many of the credentials we look for in a law firm, namely: a loyal and diverse client base, strong roots in their local community and a keen commitment to their people.”

John Cooke, director at Thomson Hayton Winkley, said: “This is a good day for our staff and for our local community, who can be assured of our continued commitment to developing and supporting them over the coming years, which we will now do with renewed vigour.”

Paul Westwell, managing director at Bromleys, added: “We are now part of a group that shares our values and ambitions for the future.”

Further deals announced across the country show other firms ambitious to expand.

Employee-owned law firm Talbots Law has increased its presence in the Midlands by buying Coventry-based Sarginsons Law. The aim is to grow the 20-strong firm’s turnover from £1m to £3m over the next two years. Talbots’ fee income hit £22m last year.

The acquisition is the latest part of the expansion Talbots embarked on when changing its ownership structure in late 2021. It has since opened a new office in Edgbaston and almost doubled its workforce to nearly 400. Coventry means it now has nine offices.

Chief executive Dave Hodgetts said: “We’ve been looking to establish a presence in Coventry for a while, so when the opportunity to bring Sarginsons into the Talbots family came up, we knew we had to act…

“The deal is a great start to our M&A activity and we are actively looking at other law firms who could join our business.”

Ian Cox, managing partner of Sarginsons Law, said the fact Talbots was employee-owned was “a big draw when we were looking at potential options”.

Redkite Solicitors has added offices in Gloucester and Cirencester with the acquisition of Davey Law. It now has six offices in the South-West in addition to 10 in Wales, employing 242 staff. The deal takes its turnover to £16m.

Davey Law directors Peter Davies, Christopher Mills and Michael Brady are joining as consultants, with Stephen Harris becoming a partner.

Redkite chief executive Neil Walker said: “Part of our growth strategy is to expand our footprint in England, alongside our on-going growth across Wales.

“We are delighted that the team at Davey Law felt Redkite Solicitors was the right firm to continue developing what they have built over many years. As a law firm rooted in the local communities it serves, it fits perfectly with our strategy of providing the best quality legal advice on the high street”.

Also expanding geographically is Hampshire and Dorset firm Dutton Gregory, which has moved into Surrey by taking over Mackrell Turner Garett. Earlier this year, Dutton Gregory also established an office in Liverpool and now has over 130 staff.

Managing partner Andrew Tilley said: “The legal market is changing rapidly, and our strategy for growth will give us the resilience to continue delivering the highest standards of service to both our existing and widening client base.

“In order to maintain momentum, merger or acquisition has to be part of that strategy, so we are now very excited about the prospect of further developing our merged businesses in Surrey and beyond.”

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