Axiom Managed Solutions (AMS) has abandoned efforts to sell to new investors following its split from Axiom, instead rebranding as Factor following further commitments from existing stakeholders.
The legal managed services business was put on the market in early 2019 when the wider Axiom group unveiled plans to pursue an initial public offering (IPO), although that was ultimately abandoned in favour of a sale to Permira.
Legal Business reported in September last year that AMS was close to a sale to MML Capital Partners for an unknown sum, although MML buyout tickets typically ranged from €10m to €50m. That sales process has failed to find a new buyer despite interest from several bidders, however, with market sources suggesting the company’s high asking price was balked at.
Instead, Benchmark Capital and Carrick Capital have upped their investment in the managed services business as it rebrands to Factor. Both had previously invested in the original Axiom business before its tripartite split.
‘There was loads of interest,’ Factor’s chief client officer and head of strategy Chris DeConti (pictured) told Legal Business. ‘As a management we have a vision and we’re passionate about that vision, but it doesn’t always correspond to the conventional wisdom of New Law. We don’t want to focus on just commoditised work or work involving technology alone.’
The investment will be coupled with ‘a significant, senior appointment’ at the level of the leadership team, according to DeConti, who also stressed the company’s ambitions to double in size in less than five years. Legacy AMS employed around 500 staff across offices in Belfast, Chicago and Wroclaw in Poland and has two major service lines: handling volume work for major bluechips on a managed service basis and using technology to help keep contracts updated with incoming regulatory change.
DeConti said Factor now wants to hone in on its specialised areas, by having expert lawyers lead technology and process teams, particularly in the area of contracts.
‘Business acceleration is a focus for us,’ he added. ‘Contracting is normally an obstacle to revenue, you can’t do business with a client until the contract is in place. If we can shorten the time a bank gets a contract done from 100 days to 50 days, that’s 50 more days of additional revenue.’
Elsewhere, fellow New Law outfit Lawyers On Demand (LOD) expanded in Europe last week, launching its second office in Germany, this time in Dusseldorf. The alternative legal service provider hired Andrea Klieve to lead the new office, with Klieve having previously worked for arvato services, a wing of the German multinational media corporation Bertelsmann.
LOD put the launch down to an increased ‘demand for flexible legal resources in the country’ following the company’s launch in Munich in March 2018. The new office means LOD now has 13 international outposts and a pool of approximately 950 flexible lawyers to call upon.
The New Year has also seen a continued influx of capital into legal tech, with automation platform Reynen Court and contract management company Juro receiving investments of $3m and $5m respectively following new funding rounds.
Juro co-founder and CEO Richard Mabey told Legal Business: ‘It’s been a good start to the year, we’re moving from the start-up phase to the scale-up phase. That means building our engineering, design and data science teams. That’s going to be a big part of 2020.’