Listed UK firm Knights signals 'attractive' acquisition pipeline as revenue exceeds £100m

Regional firm reports turnover increase of at least 36% as it forges ahead with growth strategy

Listed UK law firm Knights is set to break through the £100m revenue landmark as it looks to ‘execute on an attractive acquisition pipeline’ over the next 12 months.

The promise of an active year for deals is contained in a trading update published by the fast-growing regional law firm today in which it said it expected to achieve revenue of more than £100.8m for the year ending 30 April.

That should easily be enough to place it in the UK top 50 when the ranking is updated in the summer, joining fellow listed firms Ince, Gately and top 25 firm DWF.

Knights cited the ‘fragmented’ state of the legal services market, coupled ‘with the medium to long-term effects of COVID-19’, as opportunities for it to forge on with its acquisition strategy in a bid to become the largest legal professional services firm outside the capital.

In terms its performance over the last financial year, it said it would exceed the consensus market forecast of £100.8m, thereby achieving at least at a 36% increase in revenue from 2020.

That growth follows the firm’s acquisition of South West-based commercial law firm OTB Eveling and South East practice Mundays in the second half. The firm said it had achieved 8% of organic growth in this period, while the successful integration of those acquisitions putting it on track to post underlying profit before tax of at least £18m, up by 32%.

David Beech, CEO of Knights, said the firm had achieved “growing momentum” in the second half of the year, adding: "With a well-invested platform and confidence in the group's strategy, we look forward to making good progress in the new financial year as we continue to execute on the acquisitive and organic opportunities we see ahead.”

The firm has already unveiled its first deal of this financial year: that of Sheffield independent commercial law firm Keebles, a £11.5m acquisition it unveiled earlier this month

Last month, Mishcon de Reya announced plans to float after the firm’s partnership voted in favour of a move that promises to make it the most valuable London-listed law firm at around £750m. 

The Office for National Statistics, meanwhile, reported last week that sector-wide billings for the UK legal industry surged to a record high of £4.06bn in March, compared to £3.3bn for the same period last year. The year-on-year jump represented a 19.8% increase in total revenues for the UK legal industry, painting a healthy picture for the legal market a year on from the outset of the pandemic. 

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