In many ways Clydes’ bid to snap up Shadbolt is a sign of a more significant long-term trend shaping the market. Over the course of the last year we’ve seen a gradual acceleration in bolt-on acquisitions.
These include Beachcroft’s acquisition of Kingslegal’s personal injury business (see story), Hill Dickinson’s merger with Middleton Potts (see story), Veale Wasbrough’s union with Vizards Tweedie (see story), and the tie-up between Speechly Bircham and Campbell Hooper (The Lawyer25 May).
What’s more, Clydes has been here before; it gobbled up aviation specialist Beaumont and Son in 2005, and it’s had one of the boldest expansion strategies of any major City firm, notably launching in the US in 2006 (see story).
With bolt-ons being the easiest way for larger firms to add resource, niche firms are being bombarded with offers.
Looks like the pressure’s on to say “yes”.
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