UK law firm Gateley plans to pioneer London IPO

Michael Bow
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Gateley has a range of clients, including Mothercare
A corporate law firm that counts Mothercare and West Ham as clients is hoping to break new ground by becoming the first British firm to float on the stock market.
Gateley, which has offices at Paternoster Square, is hoping to raise £10m by listing shares on the alternative investment market (Aim).
Its 81 partners will retain a 50.1 per cent stake in the group under the plan and give up their partnership status to become salaried employees.
The firm will become the first in the UK to take advantage of new laws allowing non-lawyers to invest and own law firms, opening up the traditionally tight-knit ownership of legal partnerships to outsiders.
The listing will value the group at between £133m and £145m. “We believe the catalysts for value creation are now to acquire, incentivise, differentiate and, where sensible, diversify,” chief executive Michael Ward said. “These opportunities for growth will undoubtedly be most accessible as a Plc and we want to be the first to be able to take advantage of them.”
Aussie law firm Slater & Gordon became the first legal practice in the world to float when it debuted on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2007. Gately would join its ranks to become only the second. Around 200 partnerships in the UK have been awarded licences to move to a public structure but few have done so.

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