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Moving on: Pinsents sells early New Law investment to Dow Jones

Pinsent Masons has sold one of its earliest New Law investments to financial information giant Dow Jones for an undisclosed sum, citing a need for it to move on for its next phase of growth.

The firm has sold online compliance solutions business Cerico, which it launched in 2013 as a joint venture with IT consultancy Campbell Nash and latterly upped its investment to a majority stake in 2015. Pinsent Masons retains a ‘strategic relationship’ with Dow Jones following the sale, meaning it will continue to provide and be paid for legal content, compliance support and consultancy to Dow Jones clients, when required.

Pinsent Masons senior partner Richard Foley (pictured) said the firm was proud of what it had achieved with Cerico, which he described as being an immense success with clients. He added: ‘As the business has moved toward its next phase of growth, it has been clear that it will need to integrate with a wider range of business and financial data to support the full range of client need. In that respect Dow Jones is the perfect partner to ensure that Cerico achieves its full potential.’

Glasgow-based Cerico provides online ‘know-your-business-partner’ programmes and digital compliance tools for clients including some international FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 businesses, which the firm would not name. Cerico’s chief executive Jim Armstrong and fellow director Julia Salmond move to Dow Jones with the sale, alongside 15 staff. Former executive chairman Richard Masters and co-founder Tom Stocker will remain partners at Pinsents.

Dow Jones head of professional information business Chris Lloyd commented: ‘Cerico is a best-in-class, end-to-end compliance and regulatory solution that is an excellent fit for Dow Jones as we move further into offering fully integrated solutions for our clients. Combined with Pinsent Masons’ expertise in this area we now have a unique and holistic offering to take to the market.’

Pinsent’s LLP accounts for the year to 30 April 2017 says the firm provided services worth £162,000 to Cerico that year, but the firm stressed this was a technical accounting figure and way off the value of the business. Cerico’s most recent financial accounts, for the year to 31 March 2017, say it purchased services worth £320,013 from related parties that year.

Cerico was one of Pinsents’ first investments in New Law, coming at around the same time it launched legal resourcing hub Vario. Since then, it bought a 20% stake in outsourcing business Yuzu in early 2017, and shortly after acquired diversity and inclusion business Brook Graham for an undisclosed sum.