Publicly listed UK law firm, Gordon Dadds has revealed that it is looking for international acquisitions.

Chief Executive Adrian Biles: “We continuously examine expansion opportunities and are engaged in discussions with firms in a number of other international jurisdictions. In the UK, we have a good pipeline of potential acquisitions with which we are at various stages of discussion or negotiation.” 

In the past 12 months there have been five law firm listings in the UK. 

On 29 June 2018, the sixth listed on the London Stock Exchange. It was Knights Group PLC with a listing capitalisation of GBP 104 million. Only nine days earlier, on 20 June 2018, Anexo Group PLC began trading with a market capitalisation of GBP 65 million. 

Rumoured to be showing an interest in listing are DWF, Keoghs and Fieldfisher.

The recently listed firms are cashed-up and keen to expand. Buying other law firms is on their agenda. While most of the acquisitions are likely to take place in the UK, it is unprecedented that so many law firms at the one time are looking for acquisition opportunities. The competition for acquisitions in the UK may have led them to consider other jurisdictions. The CEO of Gordon Dadds has sent a clear message that it is actively looking internationally. 

The last wave of law firm acquisitions in Australia by public companies was at a time when Slater & Gordon and Shine Lawyers were snapping up firms but this has quietened over the last few years. 

The next wave could result in the emergence of a new category of law firm in the Australian market, that being a subsidiary of a UK listed entity.

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