Exclusive: US legal giant sells its ABS to consolidator


Beaumont Legal: £9m turnover

US legal services giant LegalZoom has sold the Yorkshire law firm it bought more than four years ago to consolidator Metamorph, Legal Futures can reveal.

The acquisition of Wakefield-based Beaumont Legal, an alternative business structure (ABS) best known for its volume conveyancing and remortgage work, is Metamorph’s biggest deal to date.

It is unclear what the move means for LegalZoom’s online operation in the UK – the company has not responded to multiple requests from Legal Futures for comment.

LegalZoom claims to be the best-known legal brand in America on the back of offering a wide range of online legal services, and in 2014 made plain its intention to reach the same status on this side of the Atlantic.

In 2015 it became the first US business to be licensed as an ABS, and bought Beaumont Legal for £6.4m. It also bought company formation business The Formations Company.

LegalZoom’s UK website only offers formation-related services for businesses, and conveyancing and wills for consumers. A digital will product launched in 2016, which LegalZoom said would “revolutionise the way we think about and plan for our loved ones after our death”, is no longer available.

In 2018, LegalZoom received a $500m investment and since then all of the management team who were responsible for launching in the UK have left.

Beaumont’s most recently filed annual accounts, for the year to 31 December 2018, showed revenue of £9m, down from £9.7m a year before, with gross profit down from £2.3m to £1.7m, and a slightly improved operating loss of £2m.

Metamorph Law operates as a single business with multiple local and national brands, and this is its ninth acquisition. The deal takes the group’s underlying annual revenue above £30m, and the 129 Beaumont Legal staff will boost employee numbers to 550.

Metamorph executive chairman Tony Stockdale said: “The acquisition of Beaumont Legal adds further depth and quality to our client service offering. Such a long-established firm, with over 200 years of history, compliments our current portfolio of brands and geographical coverage perfectly.

“The deal is another exciting step forward in our objective to become one of the leading law firms in England focused on private client and SME work.”

Last year, Metamorph founder and now strategy director Simon Goldhill said the group was planning to list by mid-2021.





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