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Slater & Gordon is to take over niche industrial disease firm John Pickering and Partners, the Australian firm’s fourth acquisition since August.
The acquisition of eight-partner John Pickering, one of the largest asbestos and industrial disease specialist claimant firms in the UK, will add a headcount of around 27 to Slater & Gordons’ UK operations including 12 fee-earners along with a revenue of about £3m and offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Halifax. The acquisition is due to be completed by the end of 27 November.
“Our organisations have much in common, both having forged reputations in fighting for justice for asbestos victims,” said John Pickering and Partners’ managing partner Paul Glanville in a statement. “At a time when Government reforms and the insurance industry are putting greater pressure on asbestos disease victims, we feel that by combining our strengths, we’ll be able to ensure that we offer the best representation for our clients.”
Slater & Gordon’s UK head Neil Kinsella added: “The expansion of our personal injury team will see the addition of a team with an excellent reputation as experienced defenders of the rights of asbestos disease sufferers for compensation. Together we have more than 30 years of experience helping the victims of asbestos related diseases and with more people being expected to be diagnosed than ever before over the next few years, we will be in the best possible position to help the victims of this terrible disease and their families.”
The planned move is part of Slater & Gordon’s strategy to become one of the UK’s leading consumer law firms. The Australian listed firm began its march into the UK’s legal market with the acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker in January 2012 (30 January 2012).
It has since picked up Taylor Vinters’ Cambridge-based personal injury and Court of Protection practice, Liverpool-based firm Goodmans and 280-staff member personal injury firm Fentons. The trio together added an annualised revenue of £35m (A$58.3m) to the firm’s global turnover (7 May 2013).
In September, partners at Pannone voted in favour of the proposed sell-off of its consumer business to the expansionist firm. However, the planned takeover has hit delays with the firm forced to allay individual concerns before any acquisition can go ahead (21 October 2013).
Slater & Gordon’s AGM is due to be held in Sydney today (24 October), fuelling speculation that Pannone partners will be forced to reach an agreement on the deal this week.