Regional commercial firm Knights Professional Services has said that it is 'in advanced talks' to acquire regional firm Darbys Solicitors. The deal, expected to complete in January, will create a firm with a turnover of more than £40m and 300 professionals in seven offices. 

Knights was one of the first firms to be backed by a private equity investor, selling a stake to Hamilton Bradshaw Capital Partners in 2012. The firm has offices in Staffordshire, Cheshire, Gloucestershire and Derbyshire. Earlier this year it reported profits of £3.4m on a turnover of £12.4m in 2013/14. 

Chief executive David Beech (pictured, right) said the acquisition of Darbys would push Knights into the top 100 UK law firms by revenue. 'Knights set an ambitious business objective to become a top-100 law firm by 2017 - and, with the purchase of Darbys, we have achieved that target a year early. We are proud of the growth that Knights has seen over the past two years in particular – which has seen us open in two new locations, appoint more than 150 new professionals and double our turnover,' he said. 

Darbys is a full service firm with a national client portfolio. It has offices in Oxford, Manchester and Colchester. Under the deal the firm will become part of the Knights brand.

Managing partner Simon McCrum (pictured, left) said: 'The two firms have a complementary offering – combining to develop our existing strengths. It was clear from the beginning that David and I could see immediately that the two firms together will produce a superb business.'

Beech said Knights would continue an acquisition programme 'throughout 2016 and beyond to pursue our passion to be a leading regional professional services business'. The firm said it is 'actively seeking professional services businesses to add to its core law offering'. Its main focus is on accountancy groups, tax specialists and property advisers located outside the major cities.