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Midlands-based HCB Solicitors has pulled out of talks to rescue Linder Myers as administration still looms for the ailing Manchester-based practice.
Linder Myers signaled its intention to appoint administrators on 6 February, with a filing at the Manchester District Registry Court (6 February 2014). HCB incorporated a company called HCB Linder Myers the day after Linder Myers announced its intention to appoint administrators (11 February 2014).
HCB has changed the name of the registered company to HCB (the Midlands) and a spokesperson for the firm said it will use it for another purpose.
Manchester-based Stephensons Solicitors was also connected to Linder Myers but in a statement released on 11 February, chairwoman Ann Harrison said: “We’re actively open to opportunities to grow the practice through the right merger partner or acquisition. But, we have been linked with various potential mergers and purchasers, none of which have been proved true. We wish Linder Myers partners and staff the very best as they go through this difficult period.”
Linder Myers, which has a turnover of over £18.7m, said it wanted to sell the business or find a merger partner, putting a question mark over the future for its 260 staff and 51 partners.
Managing partner Bernard Seymour previously said: “The increasingly challenging environment in which law firms are operating has made trading very difficult in recent years. Following a successful period of growth at Linder Myers, the last few months and the Christmas period in particular, proved difficult and we have taken the decision to file an intention to appoint administrators in order to protect the business and our valued employees and partners.
“We are currently having positive negotiations with a number of interested parties with a view to either selling the business or merging with another firm. Linder Myers’ clients will remain unaffected as business continues to trade as usual.”
The financial difficulties are a turnaround in fortunes for the firm, which is more used to buying other firms out of administration. It bought fellow Manchester firm Rowlands Field Cunningham (RFC) out of administration in 2012 when it planned to grow from a £10m to £25m operation in three years (3 January 2012).
In October 2012 the firm bought fellow Manchester firm SNG Commercial Law out of administration and in the same week completed mergers with Chester-based Drummonds Solicitors and Lancashire-based Senior Calveley & Hardy Solicitors (1 October 2012).