Australian-listed firm Slater and Gordon has announced the acquisition of another two UK firms as it continues to expand its operations here.
In a presentation to the Australian Stock Exchange earlier today, the listed firm confirmed imminent takeovers of north-west firm Walker Smith Way and Cardiff practice Leo Abse & Coen.
The acquisition of Walker Smith Way, which has a forecast annual revenue of £10.3m, is due to complete in April. Four offices will transfer to the Slater and Gordon brand as part of the deal.
Leo Abse & Cohen is a specialist personal injury firm with expertise in hearing loss claims and a forecast annual turnover of £8.4m. The deal is set to be completed in May.
The total spent on both acquisitions will be £18.7m. This is made up of £10.4m cash at completion (including extinguishment of debt) and £3.7m in equity, plus £4.6m in deferred and conditional shares two years after completion.
The announcement will see Slater and Gordon's UK headcount grow by around 200, with an extra five offices. Both firms will be dual branded for the next 12 months.
In 2015, Slater and Gordon said it is looking to the UK to provide 45% of the company’s revenue – about £115m – with a profit margin of 23-24%.
For the first half of the current financial year, the firm revealed its UK operation has contributed almost £60m turnover and £14m profit.
The financial statement also confirms that exclusive talks continue with listed UK entity Quindell in respect of due diligence relating to the possible acquisition of operating assets. These talks are described as ‘preliminary and incomplete’.
The purpose of due diligence is to decide if the assets are a ‘strategic fit’ and to determine their fair value, with further due diligence on a portfolio of Quindell personal injury litigation case files with rights with a view to a transfer of files over the coming months.
Slater and Gordon had already bought Russell Jones & Walker, Fentons and Pannone since arriving the UK three years ago. Yesterday it announced a rebranding and moved around 700 staff members to a new city centre office in Manchester..
Managing director Andrew Grech said: ‘In the UK we are making substantial progress towards our objective of becoming a leading consumer law firm.
‘We have now secured a strong direct-to-consumer base, and see substantial capacity for growth. In addition to this, we are also seeing opportunities open up in other channels of new business generation which are under assessment.’