Winn Group sells 60 per cent stake to outside investors to drive growth

Personal injury (PI) firm Winn has attracted investment from two high-profile investment companies, with JZ International (JZI) and Souter Investments taking a 60 per cent stake in the outfit.

Jeff Winn

It is the latest insurance claims firm to take outside investment following the likes of Parabis, which took investment from private equity house Duke Street (19 March 2012) and Minster Law, which was sold to insurance intermediary BGL Group in May (31 May 2012).

Jeff Winn, who founded the group in 2002, will retain a 40 per cent stake in the claims firm, alongside the firm’s core management team, which includes Dawn Winn and Ghazala Bashey.

Winn said the firm would use the investment to rapidly expand the business.

He said: “We aim to expand the business significantly in the next few years and this investment gives us the backing to do that.”

JZI specialises in investing in and developing small to medium-sized businesses in partnership with founders and entrepreneurs while Souter Investments is the private investment office of transport company Stagecoach’s founder Sir Brian Souter.

Since it was launched Winn Group has seen year-on-year growth of 30 per cent. At the latest year-end the Group generated revenues of £40m, with Winn on a remuneration package of £10m (4 February 2013) and Winn Solicitors posting turnover of £17.15m.

Speaking to The Lawyer in January, Winn predicted rapid consolidation of the claims market. He said: ”There will be great consolidation in the market and it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s six to 10 PI firms that dominate 70 per cent of the market in two to three years’ time.”

The sector has seen considerable reform recently with the implementation of the Jackson reforms, which sought to help control costs in PI by overhauling the extent of recoverability for winning parties. Without being able to recover costs from the losing side profitability in these cases is falling prompting many claimant firms to look for new avenues of revenue (25 January 2010).

There have been a rush of mergers in the sector as a result. In May, Cheshire firm, Slater Heelis acquired two-partner firm Tarran & Co while in Bromley, Solex Legal Services announced a planned tie-up with MTA Solicitors and, in the north-west, Anthony Hodari’s latest acquisition is Tandem Law (9 May 2013).

Following the cash injection by Duke Street, Parabis announced the acquisition of Greenwoods (7 May 2013), while Slater & Gordon revealed plans to takeover Simpson Millar, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters (7 May 2013).

For more on the Winn Group read our feature: Crash Course to Success