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Personal injury: Slater & Gordon in talks to acquire Fentons

Further consolidation in the personal injury market looks set to take place next week after it emerged that acquisitive Australian-listed firm Slater & Gordon (S&G) is in talks with London and Manchester personal injury firm Fentons.

As first reported by RollOnFriday, S&G is expected to announce the deal on Tuesday (20 August). If the acquisition goes through it will nearly double S&G’s 146-lawyer UK arm, adding 120 lawyers, including 36 partners and 30 fee-earners.

Speaking to Legal Business neither firm denied the deal was taking place. However, Slater & Gordon’s chief executive Neil Kinsella (pictured) said: ‘While we find reports about our discussions with other firms in the press flattering, the reality is that we are in talks with a variety of firms at any one time and never respond to questions about specific confidential discussions.

‘As a publicly listed company, all announcements about potential acquisitions of a material nature would of course be first made to the ASX.’

Last year S&G acquired Russell Jones & Walker in a landmark £53.8m deal and went on to acquire Simpson Millar, Goodmans Law and the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters.

This latest move comes as personal injury firms respond to the banning of referral fees by Lord Justice Jackson’s civil litigation reforms, which came into effect on 1 April 2013. In June this year, owners BGL Group acquired leading personal injury firm Minster Law, as Minster’s chairman Adrian Christmas told Legal Business that players in the personal injury market need ‘deep pockets and to take the long term view.’