The number of the UK’s top law firms considering a stock market flotation has increased by two thirds, new research has shown.
A poll of finance directors at the UK’s top 100 law firms by Thomson Reuters shows that 20 per cent would consider an initial public offering (IPO), up from 12 per cent the previous year.
There are now four law firms listed in London after City law firm Rosenblatt listed last month raising £31.8m.
Later this month Knights is aiming for the UK’s largest-ever law firm flotation which is expected to value the business in excess of £100m.
Head of business and support services at broker Arden Partners John Llewellyn-Lloyd said the capital markets are being viewed as an increasingly attractive option by law firms looking to raise money.
“At a time when there is increasing need for investment a lot of firms are thinking unless partners put in more cash there is only one other source because the banks are not going to put in much more,” he said.
The research also showed the number of finance directors who would consider private equity as a source of funding tripled last year to 24 per cent, up from eight per cent in 2015-16.
Llewellyn-Lloyd said: “The fact is one drives the other, if private equity can see interesting exits through IPOs it makes it more attractive for them to look at investing further in the industry.”
Gateley was the first English law firm to go public in 2015, followed by Keystone and Gordon Dadds in 2017 and Rosenblatt last month.
There are also increasing numbers of litigation funders coming to market. Vannin Capital is reportedly working with advisory firm Evercore on plans for a London float that could value it at close to £1bn, while litigation funder Manolete Partners is lining up a £100m autumn listing.