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Slater & Gordon makes significant PI firm acquisition

Whitmore: Looking at further opportunities in PI market

The latest consolidation move in the personal injury market came today with Slater & Gordon (S&G) announcing the acquisition of Jigsaw Law from medico-legal and insurance services giant Examworks.

Examworks only bought Cheshire-based Jigsaw [1] two years ago as part of its acquisition of accident management business Kindertons.

No value has been put on the deal, but Jigsaw’s most recently published accounts, for the 10 months to the end of 2018, recorded turnover of £5.3m – up 9% on the previous full year – and an operating profit of £1.2m. It had 56 staff at the time

Jigsaw Law was originally a claims management company but was granted an alternative business structure licence in late 2012. At the time Examworks made clear that the acquisition was not the precursor to a wider move into legal services – it came with Kindertons.

S&G chief executive David Whitmore said: “This has enabled an immediate and significant expansion of our personal injury business and we continue to look at further opportunities in this sector.”

Examworks has also signed a deal to make S&G its preferred legal services supplier. This follows the announcement in July [2] that ExamWorks would handle S&G’s medical reporting and rehabilitation needs.

That decision means S&G’s rehabilitation business, Overland Health, is closing, although its medical reporting arm, Mobile Doctors, will continue offering its services to other law firms.

An S&G spokeswoman said the arrangements were part of its strategy to build its business-to-business partnerships and referral networks.

The firm also announced its 2019 results, which saw group revenues dip 13% to £193m “after planned reductions in less profitable channels of activity” – this has included office closures and redundancies.

However, operating profit, before non-recurring items, was £5m, compared to a loss of £5.6m in 2018. The adjusted EBITDA jumped from £1m in 2018 to £16m.

Mr Whitmore said: “We always planned for 2018 to be the year we stabilised the business and 2019 as the year we created the solid foundations to support an aggressive growth strategy.

“By continuing to make significant investment in technology and our people we have also been in a good position to withstand the impact of Covid over the last six months.”

He said the firm’s mission was to create “technology driven legal solutions for all UK consumers”.