Home Market Law firm Knights gunning for largest-ever law firm flotation

Law firm Knights gunning for largest-ever law firm flotation


Law firm Knights is set to announce its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange tomorrow in what will be the largest law firm flotation so far.

The June initial public offering (IPO) is expected to value the business in excess of £100m, outstripping Gateley, the first English firm to go public in 2015, which was valued at £100m when it floated.

Read more: Will the number of listed law firms double over the next 12 months?

Knights has expanded rapidly under chief executive officer (CEO) David Beech, growing revenue from £8m in 2012 to £34.9m last year when it entered the UK's top 100 law firms for the first time.

It was previously backed by Dragons' Den star James Caan who invested in Knights via private equity vehicle Hamilton Bradshaw in 2012 before exiting in 2016.

At that point Permira Debt Managers (PDM), the debt management and advisory arm of global investment company Permira, invested in the business.

Read more: Dragons' Den law firm Knights appoints broker for potential float

The firm is expected to use the proceeds of the IPO to pay down its debt, for working capital and to provide a future financing option to back its expansion.

Last month the firm announced the acquisition of Manchester-based law firm Turner Parkinson giving it a seventh office and a further 66 employees including 45 fee earners.

Knights is unusual among law firms for its corporate model and its adoption of an alternative business structure (ABS) that allows it to take on external investment and allows non-lawyer ownership of the business.

Read more: Watch out Burford: Listed law firm could launch its own litigation fund

Traditionally partnerships only allowed lawyers to take a stake in the business, capital was raised either from the partners or through bank loans and all profit was divided up among the partners at the end of the financial year.

Knights will be the second firm to float this year, following City firm Rosenblatt, and just the fifth firm to float in total.

Gateley was the first in 2015, followed by Gordon Dadds and Keystone in 2017.


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