Metamorph leads way in autumn merger rush


Stockdale: Deal adds further depth

Law firm consolidator Metamorph has unveiled its latest acquisition as one of a slew of mergers and acquisitions that has been announced in recent days.

Merger activity usually spikes around this time of the year in the run-up to most firms’ professional indemnity insurance renewal.

Metamorph has bought general practice Knight Polson, which has offices in Eastleigh and Fareham, and takes the number of offices the group has in Hampshire to five.

It is Metamorph’s tenth acquisition and follows its biggest deal to date in April, buying Wakefield-based Beaumont Legal from US business LegalZoom.

Metamorph Law operates as a single business with multiple local and national brands and bringing in Knight Polson – which will retain its brand – takes annual revenues to around £35m and the total number of staff to over 630.

Metamorph executive chairman Tony Stockdale said: “The acquisition of Knight Polson adds further depth and quality to our client service offering, especially in the south of England.

“The deal is yet another 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.

Liverpool-based claimant law firm Smooth Law has acquired Sorry Mate Group, a niche practice in Warrington which specialises in motorcycle, cycle, and large value claims. Its 10 staff take the headcount at Smooth to over 25, and the firm said it had “ambitious plans” to increase turnover and staff in the next year.

Director Paul McKittrick said: “We are pleased to associate ourselves with a practice that is dedicated to their clients. We will implement an ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ attitude and allow SorryMate to maintain their ethos and core values that have been at the centre of its success for years.”

He added that Smooth was looking for further acquisitions across a wider range of legal services to increase its consumer offering: “We have the appetite and the funding to acquire other practices and or books of business and we are always very eager to listen to ideas.”

In Yorkshire, LCF Law has acquired York-based Sachedina Solicitors, its second deal this year after buying Crooks Commercial Solicitors in Wakefield earlier this year.

Led by Jane Sachedina, the corporate and commercial law firm was established 16 years ago and the solicitor will now work as a consultant at LCF Law.

LCF managing partner Simon Stell said: “Sachedina Solicitors has a great reputation for providing a high-quality service with strong principles, which made it an ideal fit for LCF Law as we continue growing.

“This acquisition will also benefit Jane’s clients, because as well as still having her expertise, they will be able to access a much broader range of legal services spanning the corporate and personal spheres.”

With offices in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Ilkley, LCF Law employs 145 people.

Leicester firms Pattersons Commercial Law and specialist insolvency and litigation firm Ashteds have merged under the former’s name to create a 12-strong team.

Pattersons owner Rik Pancholi, who is joined as a director by Ashteds’ Ash Mody and Charlotte Clarke, said: “We have been growing steadily and strategically for a few years but I have always been keen to look at new partnerships.

“Ash and his team have a fantastic reputation and this merger means we are another step closer to a full-service offering.”

Home counties firm Blaser Mills Law acquired High Wycombe general practice Reynolds Parry Jones.

In a statement, the firm said that despite a “strategy of accelerated growth” in recent years, which has included opening a central London office, it has “by no means been at the cost of neglecting our commitment to the continued expansion of our client base locally in the environs of Buckinghamshire”.

It continued: “We have viewed Reynolds Parry Jones as an excellent local competitor of ours for as long as Blaser Mills Law has been in the town. They have a long-held and strong reputation in many practice areas including wills trusts and probate, all aspects of commercial and residential property, alongside family and divorce, employment and dispute resolution.”

Reynolds Parry Jones will continue to operate under its brand and from its existing premises, where it has eight fee-earners.

Meanwhile, leading conveyancing firm O’Neill Patient is encouraging firms to approach it if they are “looking for an exit route or the opportunity to be part of a bigger entity”.

O’Neill Patient – which was last year bought by a private equity firm – purchased Cavendish Legal Group in June, which it said at the time was the first of “a number of acquisitions of property focused law firms”.

Chief executive Andy Scaife said: “With the unwinding of the furlough scheme happening at the same time professional indemnity renewals are becoming due, it is clear that there are a number of legal firms, with good solid businesses, for whom the figures just may not stack up, who want an exit route or who want help achieving their growth plans.”




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