A fast-growing stock exchange-listed company which has acquired a clutch of employment law firms has moved in to lawtech with the £54m purchase of a startup supplying 60 of the top 100 firms. The acquisition of VinciWorks by Marlowe plc is the latest sign of growing City interest in the burgeoning sector. 

VinciWorks is a specialist supplier of risk and compliance software, which it claims is used by 20% of UK solicitors. Its new owner is Marlowe, founded in 2015 as a supplier of business-critical services and software. In July this year it announced the acquisition of Oxfordshire law firm Cater Leydon and Surrey firm ESPHR, both employment specialists. Earlier this year it failed in an unsolicited takeover bid for data services firm Restore. 

Marlowe’s largest shareholder is Lord Ashcroft (Michael Ashcroft, the former deputy chair of the Conservative Party), who owns 15.4% of the business. 

In an announcement to the stock exchange, Marlowe said it has the scale and knowledge to help VinciWorks scale its business. Alex Dacre, chief executive, said: 'The acquisition is highly complementary to our existing portfolio of compliance software products and will enable us to offer clients a complete regulatory solution which enhances their visibility and understanding of evolving standards and regulations, enabling them to better manage their corporate & ESG, employee and workplace risks.'

Shares in Marlowe plc edged up 3.6% to 879p on the news.