Mishcon de Reya tight-lipped over listing rumours

Mishcon: “Ambitious plans for the next phase of growth”

London law firm Mishcon de Reya said yesterday that it was looking to raise capital, and refused to confirm or deny media reports that it is eyeing up a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Sky News reported on Saturday that it has “kicked off secret preparations for a flotation or stake sale that would value it at several hundred million pounds”.

It said: “Sky News has learnt that Mishcon… is to hire bankers in the coming months to explore options. Sources said this weekend that Mishcon’s leadership team was yet to make any formal decisions about raising capital to accelerate its growth.

“The firm‎ is actively contemplating the idea of a stock market listing in order to attract new investors, one added.

“An alternative transaction could involve the sale of a stake to a private equity investor as Mishcon further diversifies into a wider range of professional services aimed at wealthy individuals and companies.”

A spokeswoman for the firm responded: “Mishcon de Reya LLP has delivered significant growth over the past 15 years.

“As a financially robust and dynamic firm we have ambitious plans for the next phase of growth and to achieve this are considering all options for raising capital. No decisions have yet been made.”

There are currently five listed law firms – Gateley, Ince Gordon Dadds, Rosenblatt, Knights and DWF – as well as three other listed businesses that own law firms: Redde, NAHL Group and Anexo.

Sky News said that a Mishcon float “would inevitably attract strong interest because of its profile, which may help to persuade its management to opt for that‎ route”.

Coverage of the story has highlighted many of the high-profile clients it has acted for over the years, including Princess Diana, author Deborah Lipstadt in her successful defence of a libel claim brought by the Holocaust denier‎ David Irving, BBC journalist Carrie Gracie last year during her equal pay dispute with the broadcaster, and Gina Miller in her article 50 case.

Mishcon is an alternative business structure (ABS) with a turnover of £168m in its last financial year. It has set up three standalone businesses offering related non-legal services: MDR Brand Management, cybersecurity consultancy MDR Cyber, and e-discovery firm MDR Discover.

It also pioneered the growing trend of law firms incubating technology start-ups with its MDR LAB, and worked with the Land Registry earlier this year on a trial of blockchain involving the digital transfer of property ownership.

Meanwhile, NAHL Group last week issued a trading statement that the first six months of this year had seen performance in line with expectations, “with revenue and underlying operating profit both showing growth against the same period last year, as well as sequential growth on H2 2018”.

NAHL owns marketing brand National Accident Helpline (NAH), along with the ABS National Accident Law, and has two other joint venture ABSs with law firms, all in the personal injury field.

The statement said: “NAH continues to operate in challenging market conditions, driven by competitive pressures. The board expects these to persist until the implementation date of the legal reforms, currently planned for April 2020.

“NAH management continue to adapt the division’s marketing and placement tactics to respond and optimise the results. The strategic transformation of PI continues and, pleasingly, the contribution from its legal services business unit is slightly ahead of expectations.

“This includes the group’s wholly owned law firm, National Accident Law, which has made encouraging progress since its launch in April 2019.”

Chief executive Russell Atkinson said: “The board is pleased with the group’s performance during the first half and remains excited about the opportunity that National Accident Law represents for the PI division.”

NAHL’s share price is on an upward trajectory. Having hit a low of 75p in February, it closed on Friday at 121p, although still far below the all-time high of 420p back in October 2015.

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