First Law Firm Float in the UK 2

First Law Firm Float in the UK

A midsized commercial law firm based in Birmingham is set to become the first law firm in the UK to go public, listing on the AIM market with an IPO set to raise US$15 million for expansion.

Gateley is a firm with six British offices and another in Dubai. The public funds would be used to expand the firm geographically as well as in practice areas and by growing complementary businesses alongside the legal activities.

The float is under the UK’s deregulated market, the so-called “Tesco Law” which permits non-lawyers to invest in law firms. The Legal Services Act was enacted in 2011. Under the planned float, Gateley’s 81 partners plan to retain over 50 percent of the stock in the practice.

The float would give Gateley a market capitalisation of £130m to £140m.

Gateley is a firm with a pedigree extending to the 19th century.

The Financial Times reports that the dynamic growth prospects, strong cash generation, and desire to look after its upcoming talent make the business a compelling investment proposition,” said Nigel Payne, non-executive chairman.

Slater & Gordon, based in Australia, became the first law firm in the world to list shares on an exchange. The personal injury firm has grown through acquisitions including Pannone, a Manchester-based firm, and Russell Jones & Walker, another UK firm. Most recently, it agreed to buy the professional services arm of the British insurance claims processor Quindell for about £700m.
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