Knights to acquire Darbys in ambitious expansion plan

Knights Professional Services, the UK’s fastest growing commercial law firm, is in advanced talks to acquire a major regional player in the legal world.

As part of its ambitious strategy for growth, Knights – which has offices in Staffordshire, Cheshire, Gloucestershire and Derbyshire – is to acquire Darbys Solicitors LLP.

The acquisition of Darbys is expected to complete in early January – with the firm transferring to the Knights brand. Knights will reach a combined turnover of £40 million and employ more than 300 professionals across seven offices, to include three of Darbys’ current locations.

It is seen as one of the biggest transactions within the regional legal scene in the last 12 months and creates one of the largest independent professional services firms in the UK.

The acquisition means that Knights smashes its stated business growth targets and places the firm in the top 100 UK law firms by revenue, says Knights’ CEO David Beech.

“We have been talking to Darbys as part of Knights’ expansion plans and culturally we felt this was the perfect fit for both businesses in terms of client services, expertise and geographical coverage.

“We have a similar ethos in respect of our working practices and our focus on delivering outstanding client service.

“Knights set an ambitious business objective to become a top 100 law firm by 2017 – and with the purchase of Darbys, we have achieved that target a year early. We are proud of the growth that Knights has seen over the past two years in particular – which has seen us open in two new locations, appoint more than 150 new professionals and double our turnover.”

Darbys is a highly regarded,  long-established, full service law firm with over 20 specialist teams providing legal services to a national client portfolio. It has offices in Oxford, Manchester and Colchester.  Darbys was recognised, by the Top 200 survey of law firms, as the fastest-growing law firm in the country in 2013.

It is run by managing partner Simon McCrum. He said: “This is hugely exciting. It became clear very quickly that Knights and ourselves have the same culture, strengths, national vision, and the same ‘quality’ and ‘service’ ethos.

“The two firms have a complementary offering – combining to develop our existing strengths. It was clear from the beginning, that David and I could see immediately that the two firms together will produce a superb business.”

David Beech added: “We see this deal as the catalyst for our next period of growth. We will be looking to continue our acquisition programme throughout 2016 and beyond to pursue our passion to be a leading regional professional services business.

“It is an important part of our strategy to provide integrated solutions to our clients with legal services being part of a wider offering.

“Future acquisitions and increased recruitment of professionals who seek to join a functional business and cohesive culture are integral to our ambitious growth plans.”

As part of Knights future growth plan it is actively seeking professional services businesses to add to its core law offering. Regional accountancy groups, tax specialists and real estate advisory organisations located outside of the major cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, are the main focus.

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