Pannone partners vote in favour of Slater & Gordon sell-off

Pannone partners have voted in favour of the proposed sell-off of the firm’s consumer business to Slater & Gordon.

The Lawyer revealed last week that Slater & Gordon has been circling Manchester-based Pannone with the intention of making the consumer business its next strategic acquisition (20 September 2013).

A formal announcement is not expected to be made by either firm until mid-October, when it is thought that Pannone will announce the division of the firm. Pannone’s corporate business, worth an estimated £8.5m of the overall £45.6m turnover reported at the 2012/13 year-end, will break away and reform under the leadership of head of dispute resolution Paul Jonson.

More than 75 per cent of the partners voted in favour of the acquisition at a meeting which is believed to have taken place on Monday evening, giving managing partner Emma Holt the majority she needed to proceed with the sell-off.

Insiders said the majority vote was reached with relative ease but at least one full-equity partner whose team is a critical part of the deal is thought to have voted against the move and remains in negotiations over the transfer to Slater & Gordon.

All indications at this stage are that Pannone will cease to exist as a firm in its own right after the acquisition, sources said.

Slater & Gordon, which is listed on the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX), refused to comment referring to its regulatory obligations to the market.

Slater & Gordon has steadily built up its UK arm since first entering the market through the acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker in January 2012 (30 January 2012). The firm’s latest acquisition, that of personal injury firm Fentons, was unveiled in August as the firm revealed turnover of £45.6m for the UK branch of  the Australian firm (21 August 2013).

London and Manchester-based Fentons will add approximately 280 staff and annualised revenue of £27.7m to the UK business. Slater & Gordon’s report to the ASX said the two firms had executed a formal business sale agreement and due diligence had been substantially completed. It is expected to be complete in October 2013.

In May the firm revealed planned acquisitions of Simpson Millar, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters  (7 May 2013). Deals with Taylor Vinters (19 August 2013) and Goodmans (30 August 2013) completed in August adding annualised revenues of £3.9m and £3.4m respectively.

Discussions with Simpson Millar have been deferred until early next year.

For more on this read our blog: Another Mancunian merger for Slater & Gordon?