Legal Business Blogs

MJ Hudson raises £31m as the latest law firm float as Gateley continues acquisition drive

Despite the relative drought of listings in recent months, former SJ Berwin private equity head Matthew Hudson has raised £31m for his asset management consultancy MJ Hudson (MJH) following a floatation of the business last week. Meanwhile, listed firm Gateley also revealed last week it acquired Cambridge-based management consultancy T-three.

Founded in 2010, MJ Hudson focuses on advising fund managers and investors as well as providing legal services, fund management services and investment advice. Though not exclusively a law firm, MJH is an alternative business structure and is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, making it arguably the seventh law firm to list.

The Jersey-headquartered business had a market capitalisation of £98m when trading commenced last Thursday (12 December). Shares closed on Friday last week at 59p, with the listing taking place on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.

MJH’s most recent financials show a turnover of £16.7m for the year to 30 June 2019, with an operating loss of £1.1m. The capital raised following the listing will be used to bolster its core advisory, business outsourcing and data analytics divisions. In total MJH has completed six acquisitions, the last of which came over the summer with the buyout of a Netherlands-based environment, social and governance reporting and consultancy business.

Currently, MJH offers services to over 750 clients, with roughly 500 fund managers and over 200 institutional investors on its books. Its offices span the UK, Guernsey, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and the US. In terms of legal, the business comprises 12 partners in addition to 22 professionals across five locations.

Though a majority of MJH’s work originates in the UK, Hudson assures there is significant potential for the business to grow in the US following its capital raising, with the country hosting the majority of the world’s alternatives market.

Elsewhere, Gateley – the first of the previous six firms to list– has continued it acquisition strategy by buying business management consultancy T-three. Founded in 1996, T-three’s primary business offers leadership development and behavioural change programmes, as well as people and management development programmes. Its clients include the BBC, NCP, Jaguar Land Rover, Samsung and Transport for London.

The move complements Gateley’s acquisition of Kiddy & Partners in 2018, another provider of leadership development services. Kiddy has generated £3m of fees since Gateley bought the business. Non-legal business at Gateley currently comprises around 7% of revenue, but chief executive Michael Ward (pictured) hopes to lift the figure to 20%.