AIM-listed Fairpoint set to ramp up legal offering after Simpson Millar acquisition

AIM-listed consumer financial services business Fairpoint Group has stated its commitment to expanding Simpson Millar after it completed its acquisition of the firm earlier this week for an £8m consideration.

Fairpoint secured a £20m funding facility from Allied Irish Banks (AIB) earlier this year both to fund the acquisition and to underpin its future consolidation plans.

Leeds-based Simpson Millar was acquired by Fairpont Group after the firm shelved merger discussions with Slater & Gordon in January (9 April 2014). 

Simpson Millar will continue to be run by the same management team, using its existing trading brands, but operating under the Fairpoint Group umbrella.

Simpson Millar managing partner Peter Watson said that any future acquisitions would only draw on the funding facility if an upfront consideration was required and that would depend on the underlying structure of the firm in question.

He said Simpson Millar would be looking at consumer and trade union firms of various sizes and that deals would be driven by both geography and work streams.

Watson added: “I would expect further acquisitions to take place this year. There are a number of firms that we’ve spoken to that we would have pursued independently of the deal with Fairpoint.”

He would not be drawn on what had caused talks with Slater & Gordon to break down but said: “I’m not going to say we will be as big as Slater & Gordon but we will adopt a similar roll-up strategy.”

Fairpoint chief executive officer Chris Moat said the acquisition of Simpson Millar was an important step in diversifying the company’s income streams.

He added: “The new banking facility supports this transaction and provides long term financing to underpin the group’s strategy of diversification of its income streams, by both organic growth and acquisition in both our core markets.”

The Simpson Millar transaction is Fairpoint’s third acquisition this year, the other two being in the debt solutions market.