A firm with ambitions to buy 60 high street practices by 2020 has secured funding for a new year shopping spree.
Metamorph Law, set up by strategy consultant and former commercial solicitor Simon Goldhill (pictured), says it has secured £4m to acquire at least five firms in 2016.
The money has been part-raised through private equity and debt facilities will be put in place to match whatever is pledged by investors.
The new venture first came to light in May, but since then a joint venture with Assure Law, which took up a small stake in the business originally, has been completed.
Assure Law chairman Tony Stockdale will become executive chairman of Metamorph, with other senior members of Assure Law in finance, technology and HR also taking on dual roles.
Bob Labadie, co-founder and until last year a director of Co-operative Legal Services, has joined Metamorph as managing director and will work on installing and developing systems and technology for the group.
Chief executive Goldhill said: ‘We now have the resources in place, both in terms of finance and people, to enable us to build the structures and processes we need to be ready for acquisitions to start in Q1 2016.’
The company has been created specifically as a vehicle to acquire, transform and aggregate existing high street firms.
The profile of sought-after firms will include those with turnover between £1m and £3m, with a good local reputation and up to six equity partners.
Firms will have headcount of between 10 and 35 staff members and be at least 60% targeted at the consumer legal market, in areas such as residential conveyancing, wills and probate, estate and tax planning, family, civil litigation and employment. Metamorph said acquired firms will have ‘no significant reliance’ on personal injury or PPI claims for their income.
The firm has approached the Solicitors Regulation Authority about securing an alternative business structure licence, and is likely to set up a new holding company, Metamorph Group Limited, into which the investment will be made.
Assure Law was founded in 2013 to help law firms to improve profits. Stockdale has been chief executive of north-west firm Linder Myers for 18 months since Assure Law completed a deal through which the firm refinanced its debts.