Takeover of listed legal services and credit hire group called off

Sellers: Amicable relationship with DBAY

The proposed takeover of Anexo Group PLC – the listed business that owns leading personal injury law firm Bond Turner – was called off yesterday.

In June, private equity firm DBAY Advisors, having taken a 29% stake, approached Anexo over a possible cash offer for the rest of the issued and to-be-issued shares – only 36% of the company is currently in public hands – and was given due diligence access.

However, in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday, Anexo said: “Since that time, discussions with DBAY have not led to an offer which, in the view of the board, reflected the value of the company, and which the board therefore would have felt able to recommend to shareholders…

“This due diligence access and all offer discussions have been terminated. The board can confirm that the company is no longer in an offer period.”

The lawyers behind Anexo – barrister Alan Sellers, Anexo’s executive chairman, and solicitor and Bond Turner managing director Samantha Moss – were set to make at least £61m from selling their remaining stakes in the business if the takeover had gone through at the proposed offer price of 150p per share.

They had already made £46m after selling some of their shares to DBAY in a deal announced last November but only completed in March after regulatory approvals.

Mr Sellers said the group’s relationship with DBAY was “amicable throughout our lengthy discussions and DBAY remains a supportive shareholder”.

Saki Riffner, DBAY’s chief investment officer, remains a non-executive director of Anexo.

The announcement was made after the close of trading, with Anexo’s shares at 140.5p, having started the year at 130p.

Anexo also issued a trading update, saying performance was “slightly ahead of management expectations”.

Monthly cash collections at Bond Turner “have continued to exceed those seen in the similar period last year”, it said. “The group expects this trend to continue as the process of re-opening the courts gathers pace.

“The group continues to recruit high-quality legal staff in line with its policy of expanding its headcount to drive increased case settlements and cash collection.”

EDGE, the credit hire division, has also continued to see a rise in average vehicle hire numbers following the lifting of the national lockdown.

Mr Sellers said: “The group’s activities continue to accelerate as UK lockdown measures ease, especially with the imminent release of pent-up case settlements as the UK courts system begins to open.”

Anexo has grown somewhat away from the legal limelight despite being listed for almost exactly three years.

The origins of the group were Mr Sellers’ creation of a standalone credit hire business in 1996 which relied on a panel of law firms to recover costs from insurers.

In 2006, it incorporated Armstrongs Solicitors, since renamed Bond Turner, so the group could provide a complete litigated claims process.

Its 2020 results showed revenue increased 11% to £87m, of which £35m came from Bond Turner, which now employs over 500 people.

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