Barnetts Solicitors in four-way sell off

Southport-based Barnetts Solicitors has sold the business off to four separate buyers having appointed administrators on Tuesday (21 January).

The firm’s conveyancing practice was sold to DC Law, while SGI Legal picked up the PI and litigation practice, Simpson Millar acquired care home division Seneca Banking Consultants took its interest rate swap practice.

A statement from Barnetts states that all 130 jobs and more than 3,000 clients have been retained throughout the multiple sell-off.

Barnetts Solicitors senior partner Richard Barnett said the disparate nature of the business meant finding one buyer was always going to be unlikely, adding that “the reconstruction of the business was the only way to satisfy everyone”.

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group joint administrator Julien Irving commented: “The legal sector has and continues to face significant pressure that requires legal practices to reassess their business in this challenging environment.”

SGI Legal bought the personal injury files of defunct Midlands firm Challinors, including its serious injury, employers liability and public liability claims when the firm went into administration in August (20 August 2013).

SGI Legal managing partner Simon Gibson said: “We’ve made no secret of our growth ambitions and have structured our firm to take advantage of developments in the personal injury sector. We will continue to provide positive solutions for those wishing to exit the personal injury sector while maximising the opportunities for SGI”.

Leeds-headquartered Simpson Millar was unable to confirm the exact number of staff that it was adding to its existing care home team but financial director Anthony Elston said: “In turnover terms it’s a relatively small part of our practice but it’s a building area. There are a lot of claims out there and they’re expected to start coming through.”

Simpson Millar was one of a trio of firms lined up to merge with Slater & Gordon last year (7 May 2013). The firms had got as far as signing non-binding heads of terms but it was announced that merger talks had been deferred until early this year in August when Slater & Gordon revealed a 10 per cent increase in UK turnover and the acquisition of UK personal injury practice, Fentons in its announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange (21 August 2013).