After Australian-listed Slater & Gordon demonstrated the benefits of greater access to capital by using a share offer to part fund its £637m Quindell acquisition, Gateley has confirmed it is set to gain the same advantages by floating on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM listing this year.
The move would see the UK’s top-100 firm become the first publicly listed law firm with an initial public offering aimed at achieving an estimated valuation of £130m to £140m.
A spokesperson at Gateley confirmed the firm is currently ‘going through the process’ and is understood to be in discussions with capital markets investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald to run the float later this year.
The firm is currently structured as an alternative business structure (ABS) having secured a licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority at the beginning of 2014 and allowing it to appoint non-solicitors to its membership. In 2013, the 450-lawyer firm posted revenues of £71.7m while partner profits reached £274,000 – a jump of 24%.
The firm kicked off this year by landing a role advising parcel delivery company City Link on its administration following its collapse on Christmas Eve. Also in January 2015, Gateley acted on the sale of the National Exhibition Centre to Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm LDC, one of the biggest ever sales agreed by Birmingham City Council.
Slater & Gordon closed an A$890m (£467m) share offer last month to part fund its purchase of personal injury firm Quindell. Ken Fowlie, who is set to become the firm’s managing director for UK and Europe, told Legal Business the offer was a ‘key competitive advantage’ for the firm in making the deal happen.