Listed UK firm Knights acquires York independent Langleys for £11.5m
Legal and professional services firm gains 72 fee earners and private wealth strength
Listed UK firm Knights has added regional independent firm Langleys Solicitors for £11.5m.
The acquisition brings the Newcastle-based legal and professional services firm 72 fee earners and significantly boosts its existing York office, which it launched at the beginning of 2020 with a team of 20 including seven partners.
It will also enable the firm to expand its operations in the East of England by providing entry into Lincoln, which it described as ‘an attractive growth market for legal and professional services’.
Knights said the deal with Langleys is in line with its strategy to grow nationwide through targeted acquisitions that are a strong cultural fit, with the firm’s real estate and corporate offerings being closely aligned with Knights’ existing services. It added that Langleys has particular strength in private wealth, where it believes there is significant growth potential.
David Beech, CEO of Knights, said the acquisition “sees us become the leading law firm in York and provides a strong base for organic growth in the East of England through Lincoln, as we continue to strengthen our position as the leading legal and professional service business outside of London.”
Langleys also operates a legal aid child law (CL) business within Langleys LLP and a volume residential conveyancing business through a subsidiary, Home Property Lawyers Limited (HPL), which have five and 64 fee earners respectively. Knights said these businesses are included in the transaction but are not core to the firm and that the strategic options for them would be reviewed.
Langleys reported revenue of around £14m for the 2020/21 financial year, with the core business (excluding the CL and HPL businesses) accounting for around two thirds of the total.
Knights’ revenue hit £59.7m in the six months to the end of October 2021, 29% higher than in the first half of the 2020/21 financial year. It also reported adjusted profit-before-tax of £7.6m – 26% higher than in the same period in 2020.
Langleys partner Tim Cross commented: “Having built a strong reputation over a number of years, now is the right time to join Knights, whose growth journey we have followed in York and elsewhere across the regions. We believe Knights’ scale, ambition and ability to invest will enable us to unlock significant growth potential and we look forward to achieving this as part of a larger business."
The acquisition of Langleys marks Knights’ 14th since it announced its IPO back in 2018. In the past year the firm has moved into the Southeast with the acquisition of Weybridge-based firm Mundays, the Northeast with the purchase of Teesside firm Archers Law and strengthened its presence in Yorkshire with the addition of Sheffield-based Keebles last May for £11.5m.
Last November Knights also launched a debt advisory business in response to mounting demand for debt advice, claiming it was first legal services business in the UK to do so.