28 Jan 2022

Mishcon de Reya postpones IPO amid market volatility

Top 40 UK firm won't list on the London Stock Exchange until market conditions improve

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Top 40 UK firm Mishcon de Reya’s highly anticipated listing on the London Stock Exchange has been postponed amid market volatility.

The Global Legal Post understands that the IPO, which at an expected valuation of £750m would make Mishcon by far the most valuable listed law firm in the UK, will not take place unless Mishcon decides market conditions are right.

Mishcon said last April when it brought in JP Morgan to advise on a potential listing that it could take place 'as early as the fourth quarter of 2021'.

The postponement comes amid global market turmoil that has muddied the path to going public for a number of companies, including Dutch file sharing platform WeTransfer, which cancelled its IPO on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange yesterday citing excessive volatility.

Bloomberg reported that nine companies have also put off IPOs in New York, including cloud-based human resources platform Justworks. It said the second quarter was now the earliest window being considered by the UK firm.

First discussed at the firm back in 2019, Mishcon’s IPO was approved by 93% of the partnership in the most recent vote last September, comfortably above the 75% needed to go ahead.

The firm is currently five years into a long-term expansion strategy that aims to more than double its current revenue from £189m last year to £400m over the next five. GLP understands that Mishcon believes its rationale behind going public, namely that it will fuel growth by providing capital to develop the firm’s core legal services, litigation funding arm, consultancy businesses and presence in Asia, still stands.  

Mishcon has seen a number of partners depart since the vote to go public last September, including all five partners in its highly rated fraud defence and business disputes group and the head of its white collar crime and investigations group, all of whom joined Greenberg Traurig in London.

However, in December the firm signed up white collar and investigations specialist Alison Geary as a partner from WilmerHale and this week it has secured two more London partners, health and safety specialist Kizzy Augustin, who has joined from Russell-Cooke, and Campbell Forsyth, who is joining the patents group from Dentons.

The firm has faced negative publicity this month after being hit with a fine of £232,500 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – one of the largest it has ever handed down – over failings with anti-money laundering controls. The firm was also fined £25,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last October over failures concerning football transfer payments.

A spokesperson for Mishcon declined to comment on the firm's IPO plans. 

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