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‘Expect further transactions’, Slater & Gordon says, as it buys Simpson Millar

'The timing is now optimal to accelerate our growth plans'

8 May 2013

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Slater & Gordon has told investors to expect 'further transactions' over the next six to 12 months as it announced plans to buy national firm Simpson Millar and personal injury specialists Goodmans Law, together with the PI department of Taylor Vinters.

Earlier this year Simpson Millar launched a new insurance product with DAS, Everyday Legal. The firm is based in Leeds and has ten other offices across the country. Goodmans Law is based in Liverpool.

Slater & Gordon, which has been actively buying up small personal injury practices, said it expected to complete the latest purchases by December, subject to due diligence and binding agreements.

The firm told investors that the "opportunity pipeline is continuing to build" and it expected to "execute a number of further transactions".

Slater & Gordon estimated the cost of acquisitions at £23m, made up of £13m in 'upfront cash', £6m in deferred cash and £4m in shares.

The firm announced that it was raising a total of A$63.9m (£42m) to fund its UK expansion, following the purchase of Russell, Jones & Walker at the start of last year.

Andrew Grech (pictured), managing director of Slater & Gordon, said the three potential acquisitions now identified would "deliver a number of strategic benefits, including an expanded geographic base and specialised practice areas."

He went on: "The capital raising provides us with the financial flexibility to pursue the broad spectrum of growth opportunities in the UK.

"Twelve months on from entering the UK, the timing is now optimal to accelerate our growth plans in line with our strategy to become a dominant law firm brand in consumer legal services in the UK."

Slater & Gordon told investors that changes in the UK legal environment were "driving consolidation of the consumer legal services market".

The firm noted in its presentation that no "dominant law firm brand" currently existed in the UK, which offered a "future growth platform" four to five times the size of the Australian market.

Ian Cohen, director and head of medical negligence at Goodmans Law, said the potential acquisition would strengthen the firm's to deliver its "founding objectives".

He went on: "We will be talking to our clients, lawyers and staff in coming months about the greater opportunities that we believe will be available to us, in joining with Slater & Gordon, to build a law firm in the UK that is able to serve the legal needs of everyday people, professionally, conveniently and affordably.

"We do not intend to make any further public comment about the transaction until the due diligence process has been completed over the next few months."

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