PE investor takes next step into law with deal for A&O spinoff

Chamay: Significant opportunity

The private equity business that owns a leading conveyancing group and is about to buy DWF has now invested in an online offering created by City giant Allen & Overy.

The legal and compliance data subscription platform aosphere will become a standalone entity, with A&O retaining a significant minority stake in the business it created in 2002 as Derivative Services and rebranded in 2015.

Alongside the “strategic investment” by private equity firm Inflexion is backing from Endicott Capital, a US-based investor specialising in the information services industry.

Aosphere says it has over 725 clients and 15,000 individual users. It provides online legal analysis on a subscription basis across a range of compliance topics in areas such as financial derivatives, shareholder disclosure requirements, cross-border marketing and data privacy.

A statement said the aim was to create “a scaled, global regulatory data business across a range of cross-jurisdictional topics”, and aosphere was in particular looking to grow the business in the US “and where appropriate through acquisition”.

Inflexion has owned conveyancing group Movera – recently rebranded from the ONP Group – since 2019 and is in the process of buying listed law firm DWF for £342m.

David Whileman, partner and head of partnership capital at Inflexion, said: “The sector is one we’ve tracked for some time as heightened regulatory scrutiny and complexity have led to growing demand for efficiency and thus outsourcing in legal spend… The quality of aosphere’s offering and its reputation in the market are truly unique.”

Marc-Henri Chamay, co-founder and chief executive of aosphere, added: “This partnership creates a significant opportunity for us to accelerate our growth. Inflexion shares our vision of providing clients with the most comprehensive, reliable, and user-friendly legal and regulatory information and services.

“By combining our strengths and capabilities, we will be able to offer our clients more choice, more value, and more impact.”

Mr Chamay describes himself as the first non-lawyer to achieve partner equivalent status in a magic circle law firm.

The most recent accounts for aosphere, for 2022, record a profit of £5.4m on a turnover of nearly £21m, up 21% and 13% respectively on the previous year. It had 41 staff.

The company also owns a minority stake in a US joint venture with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association called Netalytics, which provides information solutions to the over-the-counter derivatives market.

    Readers Comments

  • Hisham Anis says:

    Thats an exceptional example where law firms can use technology to create value. Impressive and well done to all involved.

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