Slater & Gordon today (21 August) made further inroads into the UK personal injury (PI) market as it formally announced to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) the acquisition of leading claimant firm Fentons, although discussions with earlier merger talks partner Simpson Millar have been deferred until early 2014.
The Australian-listed firm confirmed that due diligence on 120-lawyer Fentons, which has an annual revenue of £27.7m, is substantially completed and formal business sale agreements have been executed with the London and Manchester firm. Macfarlanes advised on the deal, led by corporate partners John Dodsworth and Jessica Adam, opposite Pinsent Masons for Fentons, led by corporate partner Gregg Davison.
Slater & Gordon’s managing director Andrew Grech said of the deal, which was first reported last week: ‘We are delighted to announce today the proposed acquisition of Fentons Solicitors LLP, the largest specialist direct to consumer claimant PI practice in the UK. We expect the transaction to be completed in early October 2013 are looking forward to the integration of Fentons with our existing and growing operations in the UK.’
An earlier deal to acquire the personal injury practice of Taylor Vinters completed on 16 August and the acquisition of Goodmans is on track to complete on 30 August. The Australian firm said the deals are ‘a significant step in building depth of talent and business base required to accelerate UK growth.’
However, discussions with 10-office national firm Simpson Millar, which had widely been assumed to be a done deal after it was announced in May, have been deferred until early 2014 with no further explanation at this stage.
Fentons is by far the largest of Slater & Gordon’s recent UK acquisitions. The total annual revenue of Taylor Vinters, Goodmans and Fentons is £35m, with Taylor Vinters contributing £3.9m and Goodmans £3.4m. They follow last year’s landmark £53.8m acquisition of Russell Jones & Walker.
The news comes as the Australian firm also today revealed a total 2012/13 revenue increase of 36.7% to A$297.6m and net profits up by 67.6% to A%41.9m.
Grech said: ‘FY14 is expected to be an exciting and very busy year as the Group integrates new businesses in the UK whilst continuing to grow the Australian business organically.’