Documents filed at the London Stock Exchange today (29 May) reveal West Midlands firm Gateley is aiming for a £100m valuation and has investors lined up as it plans to be the first UK law firm to carry out an initial public offering (IPO).
The 380-fee earner firm is looking to raise £30m at the admission with 70% of the firm held privately. The update also revealed that Gateley has already lined up two significant investors to take stakes with Schroder Investment Management taking 8% while Milton Asset Management is looking to acquire 5.6%.
The release also shows the holdings and value of the seven current significant shareholders post admission. Senior partner Michael Ward, disputes partner Peter Davies, corporate partners Brendan McGeever and Paul Hayward, will all hold 3.12% of the firm – worth £3.12m – while regeneration and development partner Callum Nuttall will have holdings worth £2.75m, and corporate recovery head Mark Wilson and banking & finance chief Andrew Madden will have a £2.4m stake each.
The listing will see Gateley admit 105.3m ordinary shares with an issue price of 95p each and follows yesterday’s announcement of a targeted admission date of 8 June onto AIM.
In its initial filling on 12 May, Gateley said that moving from an LLP to a PLC would allow for faster expansion and diversification and give it a ‘first mover advantage’. It plans on using its alternative business structure to acquire complementary business services, such as professional training and regulatory advice, providing it with an opportunity for cross selling to existing clients as well as broadening its appeal.
Other areas of growth identified were developing Gateley’s relationships with house builders, gaining more instructions from the Pension Protection Fund, growing corporate teams in Yorkshire and the North West, improving its project litigation offering and building its representation on bank panels.
The firm also plans to use the IPO to create a more flexible career structure, aligning its shares with employee goals in a bid to maintain staff retention. The firm’s current partners, who are selling the shares, will all move to become salaried employees but will retain 50.1% of the firm’s share capital in aggregate. They have also all undertaken not to dispose of any shares for the first year while more senior partners are facing a five-year lock in with claw-back provisions for cash received and retained shares.