Top Midlands firm is acquisition number 5 for private equity house

Acquisition (l-r): Tim Hastings (Nelsons chairman), Neil Lloyd and Stewart Vandermark

The private equity house looking to building a £100m legal services group has taken a major step towards that goal by acquiring leading East Midlands firm Nelsons.

It is Blixt Group’s third major acquisition – with Essex firm Fisher Jones Greenwood and Lancashire practice Farleys – and fifth overall after backing each of those firms to add bolt-ons.

Blixt runs it legal operation through Lawfront, whose revenue will hit £45m with this latest deal.

Nelsons has around 170 staff in offices in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby offering a wide range of private client and commercial law services. It also runs Fusion Legal – once part of Connect2Law – a referrals and support network for law firms. The deal was announced on Nelsons’ 40th anniversary.

The firm’s accounts for the year to 31 May 2022 recorded that turnover topped £20m for the first time (up 10% to £20.6m) with profit before tax up 18% to £3.1m. They said “the swagger has returned to the firm” since Covid restrictions had ended.

In a statement, Lawfront said the transaction would “rapidly accelerate” Nelsons’ own growth strategy by “making acquisitions possible, expanding services and increasing recruitment”. It will continue to operate under the Nelsons brand and no jobs will be lost.

Neil Lloyd, Lawfront’s chief executive, described the deal as “a big step towards achieving our vision of a high-quality, national legal services business”.

He continued: “Nelsons is an excellent law firm, with a reputation for quality legal advice. Vitally, it is closely aligned with Lawfront culture, focusing on retaining the very best people in the profession to deliver the very best service to our clients.

“We enter the East Midlands with a high performance, ambitious team that will allow us to grow strongly in the region, both organically and through further acquisitions.”

Nelsons’ chief executive, Stewart Vandermark, said: “It was clear early on that Lawfront was a great fit for Nelsons, bringing greater opportunities for all our colleagues and enhancing the services we can offer to our clients.

“Nelsons has consistently achieved excellent results and we wanted to remain at the forefront of the consolidating legal market – joining Lawfront ensures that for our ambitious team.”

Carl Harring, chief executive of Blixt, added: “We are excited about our investment in the legal sector and the opportunity to partner with the team at Nelsons and other like-minded law firms to accelerate their growth.”

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