Gordon Dadds Group is in talks with top-50 City firm Ince & Co to create what would be the largest listed law firm.
The law firm acquisition vehicle announced to the stock exchange this morning that it was in talks with Ince & Co about a merger.
“The precise structure and mechanics of the transaction are also under discussion and the respective boards are working towards a further announcement as soon as possible.
“There can be no certainty at this time that the merger will proceed and we will update shareholders in due course.”
Gordon Dadds announced turnover of £31.2m in the last annual results, although annualised revenues – given that most of its acquisition activity was towards the end of the financial year – topped £42m.
Ince & Co has seen its turnover go up and down in recent years, most recently from £88.5m to £83.4m. The talk has been that it is a merger candidate.
This would be by far the biggest deal Gordon Dadds has done. When it listed last year, the board said there was an opportunity to act “as a consolidator of firms ranked between 69 and 185 in the UK top 200 market” – Ince & Co, though, sits higher than that.
The international reach Ince & Co would provide – it has seven offices outside the UK – may appeal. In June, Gordon Dadds announced it had established an office in Hong Kong and told investors that it was looking at other international opportunities.
Gordon Dadds has completed five acquisitions since listing in August 2017: south London firm Alen-Buckley, corporate tax advisory business CW Energy, corporate solicitors White & Black, and Bristol firms Metcalfes and Thomas Simon.
Gordon Dadds listed at 140p and closed yesterday at 172.5p, although it reached a high of 190p last month. Its shares have been suspended pending a further announcement.