Industrial disease firm Roberts Jackson receives £15m private equity injection

Cheshire-based industrial disease specialists Roberts Jackson has received a £15m cash injection from private equity firm NorthEdge Capital.

On 30 May the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) granted Roberts Jackson an alternative business structure (ABS) licence.

The ABS came into effect on 17 July enabling the private firm not only to invest in the business but to introduce NorthEdge Capital managing partner Grant Berry and director Jon Pickering as non-executive directors on Roberts Jackson’s board.

The two led the deal alongside NorthEdge Capital investment manager Phil Frame, who has also joined the board as an observer.

Roberts Jackson chief executive officer Karen Jackson established the firm with her husband Oliver Jackson in 2009 and has built the business to more than 200 staff.

The deal has inspired a new-look leadership team, which includes the appointment of Nick Townend as finance director and Paul Hewitt as chairman alongside the firm’s founders. Gladys Swaim-Rutter and Lorna Vanderkamp have been promoted to directors and equity shareholders.

Karen Jackson said the NorthEdge investment is part of a five-year growth strategy, which includes investing in IT infrastructure and potentially making strategic acquisitions.

The deal is the seventh transaction completed by NorthEdge Capital and represents over £100m of investment in the northern business community over the last 18 months.

It’s the latest of relatively few private equity deals in the ABS market since the Legal Service Act brought the new business model into the market in 2012.

Other firms to have gone down the private investment route include Silverbeck Rymer, which became part of Quindell’s portfolio in early 2012 (30 January 2012) and Parabis, which received a £50m cash injection from Duke Street in early 2012 (6 February 2012).

That was followed by property-firm Knights receiving a high-profile investment from Dragon’s Den entrepreneur James Caan’s private equity house in June 2012 (12 June 2012) and Keoghs receiving an investment from LDC (2 November 2012).

Roberts Jackson was advised on corporate finance by Deloitte on corporate finance led by partner Paul Lupton with support from assistant director Iain Marlow.

Pinsent Masons partners Gregg Davison and Anna Whetham also advised Roberts Jackson.

DWF advised NorthEdge capital le by partners Jonathan Robinson and Vicky Ross.