Manchester firm Lewis Hymanson Small is to have its second change of ownership this year following the announcement of a takeover of its parent company. 

A subsidiary of US-based insurance giant Markel today announced the agreed acquisition of Abbey Protection, an insurance and consultancy company which last February acquired Lewis Hymanson Small after one of the first approvals of an alternative business structure by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Lewis Hymanson Small describes itself as ‘a full service commercial law firm with national and international reach and our client portfolio includes SME’s, entrepreneurs and private clients’.

According to a stock exchange announcement today, Markel International, a division of Markel Corporation, listed on the New York Stock Exchange will pay cash for Abbey Protection, which was founded in 1992 and listed on the alternative investment market (AIM). The deal values Abbey at £116.5m, a price to earning multiple of 14.5. Markel has a market capitalisation of $7.3bn (£4.8bn)

The takeover is subject to approval by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The statement said Markel's offer is subject to 'the SRA having notified Markel that it does not object to the chnage of control of Lewis Hymanson Small LLP'.

Markel’s statement describes Abbey as 'specialised, well-known and experienced in its target legal and taxation related professional fees insurance market'.

According to the statement, Abbey began looking for 'options for realising the senior executive team's shareholding' early in 2012. However a sale process was put on hold in January 2013 after a sudden rise in the share price. 'At this point Markel International had emerged as the most credible potential bidder.'