Merger and acquisition make South East new battleground


Ed Whittington and Helen Goatley

The South East has suddenly become a new legal battleground after a £40m merger between Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins followed listed firm Knights’ entry into the region.

Set to begin trading as Moore Barlow from 1 May, the new firm will comprise 70 partners, 272 lawyers and other legal professionals, and a total staff of nearly 500 across offices in Southampton, Guildford, Woking and Lymington, as well as two locations in London (Richmond and the City).

Moore Barlow will have a combined turnover of almost £40m, propelling it easily into the top 100. It will also be the sole UK legal advisor within Ecovis, an international network of more than 7,500 lawyers, accountants and consultants.

Companies House records show that Moore Blatch recorded income of £26.7m in 2018/19, with a profit of £5.5m and net debt of £7.8m. As at 30 April 2019, it had 23 members of the LLP and 254 other staff. It made more than £1.7m net from Aspire Law.

Barlow Robbins saw a profit of £2.8m on turnover of £13.1m, and it had 152 staff, as of 31 May 2019.

Yesterday we reported that Knights was spending up to £8.5m to buy ASB Law, based in Crawley and Maidstone, which has 89 fee-earners and a turnover of £12.2m.

Knights said the deal represented its entry into “the strategically attractive South East market, which is estimated to be valued at £246m excluding London”.

It added: “[ASB] is well located to recruit high-calibre talent, including lawyers that no longer wish to commute to London.”

Moore Blatch is involved in two unusual alternative business structures (ABS). In 2014, it teamed up with national spinal injury charity Aspire to launch Aspire Law, a specialist spinal cord injury practice and the first ABS of its kind.

More recently, we reported that it was one of three owners of Escalate, an ABS handling SME commercial disputes referred by firms of accountants.

Ed Whittington, managing partner of Moore Blatch, said: “There is a unique opportunity to bring together the absolute best of our two organisations – both outstanding firms with deep regional roots, strong areas of specialism, and dedicated teams of exceptional talent.”

Helen Goatley, chair of Barlow Robbins, added: “Today’s top talent want the right mix of a stimulating, rewarding career alongside a fulfilling work-life balance, an experience which we feel Moore Barlow will be uniquely suited to offer, and from which our clients can only benefit.”




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.

Reports

Our latest special report, produced in association with Temple Legal Protection, looks at the role of after-the-event (ATE) insurance in commercial litigation post-LASPO. We are at a time when insurers, solicitors, clients and litigation funders work ever more closely to create funding packages that work for all of them, with conditional fee and even damages-based agreements now part of many law firms’ armoury.

Blog

3 April 2020

In challenging times, should you move to the cloud?

Having a cloud-based system can provide workers with incredible flexibility. However, there are many things that a firm should be aware of before making the transition to the cloud.

Read More

Loading animation