Slater & Gordon completes Pannone takeover

Australian-listed Slater & Gordon has confirmed the completion of its merger with Manchester-based Pannone with an announcement on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) this morning.

Neil Kinsella
Neil Kinsella

The announcement reads: “Slater & Gordon confirms the completion of the acquisition of the consumer law business of UK law firm Pannone Solicitors LLP (Pannone).The transaction was announced to the market on 28 November 2013 and comprises the acquisitions of Pannone’s consumer law business including personal injuries, family law, wills and estates and private clients practices.”

Details of the merger were revealed by The Lawyer in September, when sources close to Pannone said a period of due diligence was underway and that a demerger of the firm’s private client business to Slater & Gordon was expected (20 September 2013).

Slater & Gordon finally broke its silence in November and confirmed that it was in tie-up talks with the firm following months of silence about the top-level discussions (11 November 2013).

This is the firm’s fifth merger in a year, following the acquisitions of the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters (19 August 2013), Goodmans (30 August 2013), Fentons (21 August 2013) and John Pickering and Partners (24 October 2013). The firm also planned to merge with Simpson Millar but in August it announced that the talks had been deferred alongside its results statement to the ASX.

Then Simpson Millar managing partner Peter Watson said in a statement on 30 January: “The firm is currently pursuing its own growth and diversification strategy as evidenced by the Barnetts deal. Further transactions are expected to complete in the coming months. We have not been in discussions with Slater & Gordon since summer 2013 and no further talks are planned.”

Pannone put more than 100 people on notice of redundancy before Christmas, following the firm’s decision to press ahead with a tie-up with Slater & Gordon (10 December 2013). Although the consultation closed several weeks ago, neither firm has confirmed the number of job losses.

A spokesperson said today that all redundancies were voluntary and Slater & Gordon UK chief executive Neil Kinsella said: “Pannone Affinity Solutions was an internal business unit that has now been been reorganised as part of a wider strategy to simplify the business structure.”

He added: “Affected staff have joined relevant existing practice areas. There were a number of voluntary redundancies within the personal injury fast track division. Slater & Gordon is well placed to absorb the files from this division within our existing fast track centres and with no disruption to clients.”

The destination of Pannone’s law firm network Connect2Law has been uncertain up until now but Kinsella said today: “Connect2Law is a highly valued part of the firm and we look forward to continuing our hard work to integrate and fully develop this new and exciting part of the business”.

Earlier this month, former Pannone Connect2Law chief executive David Jabbari joined Parabis where he aims to launch a regional network of firms (5 February 2014).Kinsella is now pursuing a 12-month target to fully integrate its merger with Pannone (28 January 2014).