Three deals in three months – Knights strikes again

Beech: Strong intent to grow in Manchester

Knights has unveiled its second acquisition this year – and seventh in little over 18 months as a listed company – with a £2.8m deal to buy a housing industry law firm in Manchester.

Croftons Solicitors is specialist housing, regeneration and commercial real estate law firm that acts for more than 50 housing associations. Some 33 fee-earners are joining Knights.

Croftons’ unaudited accounts for the year to 31 March 2019 recorded revenue of £2.8m with a profit before tax margin of around 15%.

Knights said it expected to push this margin to 20% once Croftons has been integrated into the business.

The three owners of Croftons will received £1.4m in cash and £700,000 in shares on completion, with up to £700,000 more in cash paying in equal instalments on the first and second anniversary subject to certain conditions being met.

Knights chief executive David Beech said: “The Croftons team is well regarded in the housing association sector, which typically brings recurring revenues from this highly defensive segment of the market.

“We previously set out a strong intent to expand in Manchester with our move to larger, modern premises in 2019.”

At the start of last month, Knights bought ERT Law to boost the presence it established in Birmingham in November by buying Emms Gilmore Liberson. It also opened a new office in York.

In a busy morning for listed legal business, the Ince Group announced that it has received “valid acceptances and excess applications” from qualifying shareholders and staff pursuant to raise £2m as part of the placing and offer announced last month. It takes the total to £14m.

Chief executive Adrian Biles, and his father John, between them subscribed to 3.3m shares in the placing, taking their shareholding to just under 11m, or 16% of the firm’s issued share capital.

MJ Hudson, the multi-disciplinary asset management business that started life as a law firm and listed in December, has received regulatory approval from the Jersey Financial Services Commission for its £3.7m acquisition of Anglo Saxon Trust (AST), a company and trust administration business based in Jersey.

It has over 300 local and international clients serviced by 10 staff members. In the year to 31 January 2019, AST generated fee income of approximately £2.1 million. Additional earn-out consideration of up to £2.8 million is payable based on AST’s growth over the next four years.

Chief executive Matthew Hudson said: “Strategically, we offer to AST a permanent new business presence in the London market and to the group’s clients generally a joined-up Jersey and Guernsey offering.

“In the core business, our raised profile on the back of the IPO has also had a positive influence both on organic sales and on the scale of inbound inorganic growth opportunities.”

    Readers Comments

  • May says:

    Money, money, money!! You take over these companies but you don’t care about us secretaries and support staff that you make redundant and left struggling to feed their children and pay bills. We have contributed to make our companies an attractive buyout and we have been treated disgracefully and just chucked out.

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