James Caan was one of the most likeable of the Dragons on BBC 2’s Dragons’ Den - until he quit in 2011, anyway - but he wasn’t exactly a prolific investor.
Well, Caan has finally said “I’m in” to a project - his private equity company Hamilton Bradshaw has announced that it’s going to inject capital into Newcastle under Lyme firm Knights Solicitors (subject to approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority).
It’s the first time - according to the parties - that there has been private investment in a commercial law firm. Knights Solicitors, which pulls in just under £10m a year, focuses on corporate, commercial and real estate and is probably best-known for having been part of legacy Lovells’ Mexican Wave. The firm says it will use the cash injection to invest in IT and adds that it wants to break into the top 100 UK firms within three years, which would mean it more than doubling its turnover. Maybe Caan was attracted to the firm’s ambition.
Perhaps the most startling thing about the deal is that Caan himself will sit on the firm’s board, meaning a peculiar experience if the IT director has to pitch to get funding for a set of new monitors.
One Dragons’ Den contestant once tried to flog the judges a one-handed glove to remind drivers to drive on the right side of the road while in France. On that basis, law firms look like a safe bet.