Last year, we reported (here) that the well-known claimant occupational disease firm, Roberts Jackson, had been bought out of administration by alternative business structure (ABS), AWH Legal.
Since then, AWH has been backed by special situations investment fund, Sandton Capital Partners, which has invested over £1 billion ‘across a diverse range of industries in Europe and North America’. According to its website, Sandton specialises in providing ‘solutions for situations that are too difficult for more traditional sources of capital to navigate’.
AWH has secured investment of £100 million, which will be used to ‘consolidate’ a ‘heavyweight brand and firm in the north-west to challenge the established names’.
This week, AWH announced that it had completed its first acquisition, as part of a 2-year-strategy, taking over insolvent firm, Roebuck Solicitors.[i]
Roebuck is a 110-year-old private client practice, which makes around £4 million in annual turnover and will increase AWH staff numbers by one-third, as redundancies have not been proposed in plans to improve efficiency. The new firm will be known as ‘AWH Legal t/a Roebucks’.
Abdul Hussain, Managing Director of AWH, explained that the ABS is ‘diversifying’ outside of personal injury (PI) because the introduction of ‘other areas of practice’ will help to ‘build a sustainable business model going forward’:
‘As a sector, PI is very volatile and vulnerable to more changes coming into place ... that space is going to be difficult to operate in over the next few years’.
Summing up the current business model, Mr. Hussain released the following statement:
‘This latest acquisition forms part of our intention to complete £100m worth of quality acquisitions in the next two years that complement and enhance our existing services and team.
We are actively looking to seek new opportunities and as a result of organic growth we are also looking to grow our team with a range of new roles available from junior to director level’.
At present, AWH is speaking with another PI firm and two private client practices about prospective acquisitions in the near future.[ii]
[i] Neil Rose, ‘Law firm consolidator makes first acquisition outside of PI’ (20 August 2019 Legal Futures) <https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/law-firm-consolidator-makes-first-acquisition-outside-of-pi> accessed 20 August 2019.
[ii] Monidipa Fouzder, ‘PI purchaser branches out from 'volatile and vulnerable' market’ (20 August 2019 Law Gazette) <https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/pi-purchaser-branches-out-from-volatile-and-vulnerable-market-/5101189.article> accessed 20 August 2019.