Listed UK professional services group RBG Holdings – the parent company for City law firm Rosenblatt – has acquired London corporate law boutique Memery Crystal for £30m.
RBG unveiled the deal on the same day it posted its most successful year for professional services revenue, with turnover up 15% in 2020 to £20.9m against an 8% increase in profit after tax to $6.7m.
The Memery Crystal deal will see both businesses retain their own management, brand identities and separate offices. Together, Memery Crystal and Rosenblatt will make up RBG’s legal services division, adding the firm’s 149 employees, including its 29 partners and an additional 66 fee earners to the group’s existing legal arm.
Memery Crystal is of comparable size to its new stable mate with unaudited revenue for its financial year ending on 30 April of £23.2m. Founded in 1978, the boutique is a well-known brand within London’s business community with a similar profile and size to tech specialist Kemp Little, which was snapped up by Deloitte last November.
Recent work includes this month advising Jersey-based medical cannabis cultivator Northern Leaf on its £14m raise via an issue of convertible loan notes and acting for rugby union club Saracens on the ongoing £23m redevelopment of the West Stand at their Stone X stadium in north London.
RBG said the deal fell in step with the group’s M&A strategy of acquiring “complementary” specialist companies to create a broader range of professional service offerings and creating opportunities for cross-referrals.
CEO Nicola Foulston said the acquisition was another “significant” step in the group’s development, highlighting the natural fit between Memery Crystal’s focus on corporate transactions and Rosenblatt’s strong dispute resolutions practice.
“We believe the acquisition will be transformative in terms of the scale of our business,” she added. “Memery Crystal is a very successful firm, which combined with our commercial focus on margin and cash, can be even more profitable.”
Nick Davis, CEO and managing partner of Memery Crystal, added that it would be “business as usual” for the firm as it joins up with RBG.
“The strength of the combined group will mean we can offer enhanced services to clients and provide a stronger entity for staff to develop their careers,” he added.
Alongside Rosenblatt, which went public as an AIM-listed company in its own right in 2018, RBG also operates litigation finance manager LionFish in London and Manchester-based corporate finance boutique Convex Capital.
Upon completion, the transaction will be paid out in £12m in cash as well as £11.2m in RBG shares and an additional £6.8m in cash across a 12-month period, subject to regulatory approvals. London-based Memery Crystal’s partners will receive a combination of cash and shares in exchange for their stake in the firm, according to the announcement.
Last year, top 50 UK firm Gateley, the first law firm to list on London’s AIM exchange, acquired Belfast-based reputation management and media law boutique Paul Tweed for £2m. The deal marked Gateley’s eighth acquisition, and second law firm, since it went public in 2015.