Advisers help firm assess options in ‘changing’ market

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IRWIN Mitchell, Yorkshire’s largest law firm, has hired new advisers as it considers opportunities to grow the business.

Irwin Mitchell, which employs around 1,300 staff at its offices in Leeds and Sheffield, hasn’t identified the new advisers, but the firm confirmed that it has the resources to make further investments and acquisitions.

There has been speculation in the legal press that Irwin Mitchell has appointed a broker because it is considering a flotation this year.

In a statement, Irwin Mitchell said: “We have corporate finance advisers who are helping us to look at a range of options for continuing to grow and strengthen our business.

“Indeed, we’ve been working with corporate finance advisers for several years now, and we have recently changed the advisers as we continue to assess the increased and significant opportunities in the changing legal market for a dynamic business like Irwin Mitchell.

“We’ve taken no decision to introduce external investment. We remain in a strong position financially with our existing bank facilities offering us sufficient firepower to invest further and make acquisitions.”

Paul Firth, the firm’s regional managing partner, said he couldn’t comment further at this stage.

In 2014, Irwin Mitchell won regulatory approval to raise external finance to fund its ambitious growth plans, and it was believed to be considering a number of options.

Some commentators have speculated that these plans could include an initial public offering.

In 2012, Irwin Mitchell became the first multiple-licensed ABS (Alternative Business Structure) in the UK.

ABS was introduced as part of the Legal Services Act, which allows outsiders to take equity stakes in law firms, creating major opportunities for expansion. Four years ago, Irwin Mitchell appointed Espirito Santo Investment Bank as its financial adviser to review its options for raising external capital.

In November last year, Irwin Mitchell bought Berkeley Law as part of a strategy to increase the size of its operations in London. It was the firm’s sixth acquisition since 2012. Irwin Mitchell plans to expand its range of services for clients with complex financial affairs in the UK and abroad.