Slater & Gordon set to acquire trio of UK personal injury practices

Australian listed firm Slater & Gordon is to bulk up its UK presence with the acquisition of Simpson Millar, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters.

The acquisitions follow the January 2012 acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker (30 January 2012), Slater & Gordon’s first step into the UK market.

The three practices all have a personal injury focus, although Simpson Millar has expanded in recent years into other consumer law areas. The firm was ranked 134th in The Lawyer UK 200 2012, with a turnover of £15.5m across 10 offices. Goodmans is a boutique personal injury firm based in Liverpool.

Slater & Gordon is to acquire the personal injury practice only of Taylor Vinters, which has offices in Cambridge, London and Singapore. The personal injury team is based in Cambridge.

The combined revenue brought in by the three practices is expected to be between £23m and £26m, bringing combined revenue for Slater & Gordon as a whole to an expected A$290m (£190m) in the 2013 financial year.

Term sheets have been signed with all three practices and the takeovers are expected to complete between August and December.

The firm will carry out a capital raising on the Australian stock exchange via a fully underwritten placement to institutional investors, with the aim of raising A$58.9m (£38.6m) at an issue price of A$2.55 (£1.67) per new share. A non-underwritten share purchase plan aims to raise an additional A$5m from retail shareholders at the same share price. Slater & Gordon told shareholders in an announcement that the capital raised would fund the planned acquisitions as well as further growth opportunities.

In a statement announcing the planned acquisitions, Slater & Gordon said: “When Slater & Gordon made the announcement in January 2012 to acquire Russell Jones & Walker, the legal market had only just started to see some of the changes that the Legal Services Act would bring in the UK. We believe that further growth is important because we are in the midst of a changing landscape in the UK and we want to be at the forefront of that change – both in a regulatory sense and in service delivery. We believe that the time is now right for further expansion.”