Legal Business Blogs

‘A milestone’: Keystone becomes third UK law firm to float on London Stock Exchange

Following the trail blazed by Gateley two years ago and Gordon Dadds this summer, New Law player Keystone will become the third UK law firm to float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) with shares to begin trading on 27 November priced at 160 pence per share.

Mid-market challenger firm Keystone Law, which will raise £15m from joining AIM, is valued at £50m and will be known as Keystone Law Group Plc. Panmure Gordon has been instructed by the firm to act as financial adviser, nominated adviser and broker.

Commenting on the listing, James Knight, founder of Keystone Law and chief executive of the new plc, said the intention to float marks a milestone in Keystone’s achievements so far.

He added: ‘The strong support we’ve had so far from the team, investors and clients demonstrates a genuine endorsement of what we hope to achieve. We look forward to building on that support and our own standards as we begin life as a public company.’

The announcement to float on the LSE follows Keystone’s conversion to an alternative business structure (ABS) in 2013 and an additional £3.5m cash injection from private equity firm Root Capital the following year. According to the firm, turnover stood at £26m for the financial year 2016/17.

Keystone’s float follows in the footsteps of Gateley’s landmark listing in 2015 and Gordon Dadds, which became the second law firm to float in August after a reverse takeover bid.

There have been mixed fortunes for listed law firms to date. While Slater and Gordon, which became the first law firm in the world to go public when it floated on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2007 has seen its fair share of difficulties – not least in the UK following its £637m acquisition of Quindell’s (now Watchstone Group) professional services division, arguably partners at Gateley have seen the law firm go from strength-to-strength, with a double digit increase in revenue of 16% to £77.6m for this financial year.

Veteran partners at the firm also reaped the benefits of a recent share sale which saw select partners taking home almost £500,000 after a stake in the top 50 UK law firm was sold for nearly £10m just last month.