Tuesday 26 June 2018 11:23 am

Law firm Knights aims to raise £50m in largest-ever legal float

Regional law firm Knights has said today it plans to raise £50m in its London float later this month in what will be the largest legal listing to date.

The offer price has been set at 135p per ordinary share which will result in a market capitalisation of approximately £103.5m.

The firm will received gross proceeds of £30m which will be used to repay the majority of its existing debt and fees.

Read more: Will the number of listed law firms double over the next 12 months?

The selling shareholders, which include chairman Bal Johal, will receive gross proceeds of £20m.

Chief executive officer David Beech will retain a shareholding of approximately 45.5 per cent.

Beech will be subject to a three year lock-up arrangement following the firm’s stock market admission.

Knights has expanded rapidly under Beech, growing revenue from £8m in 2012 to £34.9m last year when it entered the UK's top 100 law firms for the first time.

The firm said it believes it can grow faster than the wider UK legal market.

It aims to do this by attracting new talent, opening new offices, acting as an outsourcer to national and international law firms, and enhancing cross-selling through the addition of complementary service lines.

Read more: Law firm Knights gunning for largest-ever law firm flotation

It also intends to use funds from the float to grow by bolting on new firms and teams.

It said by the end of April 2020 it aims to have recruited at least 200 more fee earners, added at least two more offices and completed at least three more acquisitions.

Beech said: “This IPO represents an exciting milestone in the growth of Knights. I am delighted there has been such a strong interest from leading institutional investors and I welcome all our new shareholders to the register. We believe that the admission to AIM will provide us with a platform to continue our rapid growth, attracting business organically and boosting our profile to secure acquisitions.

Knights was previously backed by Dragons' Den star James Caan who invested in the firm via private equity vehicle Hamilton Bradshaw in 2012 before exiting in 2016.

Read more: Private equity-backed law firm and City law firm explore London listings

At that point Permira Debt Managers, the debt management and advisory arm of global investment company Permira, invested in the business.

Last month the firm announced the acquisition of Manchester-based law firm Turner Parkinson giving it a seventh office and a further 66 employees including 45 fee earners.

Knights will be the second firm to float this year, following City firm Rosenblatt, and just the fifth firm to float in total.

Gateley was the first in 2015, followed by Gordon Dadds and Keystone in 2017.

At least three other UK firms are currently exploring listings, including DWF, Keoghs and Fieldfisher.