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Public listing of law firms – UK surges ahead of Australia

The latest development comes from UK-based multinational law firm DWF which is weighing up an IPO. The firm has more than 2,700 people and four offices in Australia.

UK law firm Knights is moving towards an imminent float that would value the firm at £100 million.

Anexo Group, a specialist integrated credit hire (Edge) and legal services (Bond Turner) provider, is listing with a market capitalisation of £110m.

Earlier listings in the UK:

  • 8 May 2018 – Rosenblatt IPO market capitalisation of £76 million

  • 27 November 2017 – Keystone Law Group IPO market capitalisation of £50.0 million

  • 4 August 2017 – Gordon Dadds IPO market capitalisation of £40m

  • 8 June 2015 – Gateley IPO market capitalisation £100m

In addition, there are at least three other UK law firms that are part of non-law firm listed corporations.

Australia may have been the first in the world to list a law firm on a public securities exchange (S&G in 2007) but all the IPO action is now in the UK.

Australia hasn’t had a law firm IPO since Shine Lawyers in May 2013. No doubt this has something to do with the investor wipe-outs associated with Slater and Gordon and ILH Group.

Other than the specialist patent firms, there has been no Australian law firm IPO for more than five years. This quietness and reluctance to list is in sharp contrast to the recent activity in the UK.

© 2018 Peter Frankl Pty Ltd

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