The expanding Metamorph Group has announced the acquisition of an alternative business structure formerly owned by a once-ambitious US entrant.
The group confirmed the acquisition of Yorkshire-based firm Beaumont Legal, which was previously part of LegalZoom, an online document service which had arrived from America.
In 2015, former LegalZoom chief executive Craig Holt said the deal to buy Beaumont would be a step towards building a ‘next generation’ law firm.
Now the firm has changed owner once again, this time transferring to the national Metamorph Group, which has bought seven firms across England since it was founded in 2015. These purchases include conveyancing specialist BPL Solicitors, debt collection firm SLC Solicitors and multi-practice north west firm Linder Myers. Beaumont is mostly conveyancing but also provides wills and probate services.
The Metamorph Group now has underlying annual revenue of £30m and more than 550 staff (bolstered by the 129 staff transferring from Beaumont).
Metamorph executive chairman Tony Stockdale said: ‘The acquisition of Beaumont Legal adds further depth and quality to our client service offering.
‘Such a long established firm with over 200 years of history complements our current portfolio of brands and geographical coverage perfectly. The deal is another exciting step forward in our objective to become one of the leading law firms in England focused on private client and SME work.’
The most recent Metamorph accounts, covering the year ending 31 December 2018, show the firm boosted turnover from £12.2m to £17.7m. Gross profit jumped from almost £5m to £6.3m, but a massive hike in administrative expenses meant that profit before taxation actually fell from almost £600,000 to £76,000.
LegalZoom continues to have an online presence in the UK, offering to help business clients and consumers wanting to buy or sell their home or make a will, but it is unclear what effect the sale of its legal practice will have on this. According to Companies House, Holt’s appointment as a director was ended in 2017. Rich Preece, the US company’s chief operating officer, is the only remaining director. In the whole of 2018, the UK arm reported £605,000 turnover and £306,000 profit before tax.