Law At Work, the Glasgow-headquartered legal specialist, has been acquired by a stock market-listed peer in a multi-million-pound deal.
Marlowe, which is focused on “developing companies which assure regulatory compliance and safety”, said it was buying the Scots firm for an initial sum of £6.3 million.
Law At Work was established in 2001 and specialises in employment law, HR and health and safety advice. The firm employs about 70 staff, more than half of whom are employment lawyers, HR compliance professionals and health and safety consultants.
London-headquartered Marlowe said the acquisition was a further step in its strategy of “building an end-to-end provider of regulated compliance services”.
Chief executive Alex Dacre said: “By acquiring Law at Work, a business which helps clients to mitigate their employee-related risk and assure their health & safety performance, we are both strengthening Marlowe’s leading health and safety operation and significantly advancing our capabilities to work with clients across the full spectrum of their compliance needs.
“The business, which delivers subscription-based consultancy services, operates nationally in an attractive and underserved market in which we see significant growth opportunities. The acquisition is a major step in strengthening our position as the UK leader in regulated compliance services to organisations of all sizes.”
Magnus Swanson, Law chairman, said: “The transaction provides us with a great opportunity to provide the best support for UK businesses as they meet the rising challenges of legal compliance.
“At a practical level, joining the Marlowe family of businesses opens the door for Law clients to access an increased range of expert advisors and latest technologies, in particular the Meridian platform. Businesses want advisors they can trust, and this deal propels the strongest consultancy in our field in Scotland on to a national stage.”
For the year to 31 May, Law At Work generated revenues of £5.4m, underlying earnings of £1.2m and a profit before tax of £1m. As of 31 October, it had net assets of £2.2m.
Marlowe will also pay a further sum of about £4m over three years dependent on the achievement of profit targets.
Last year, Law At Work said it was looking to grab a greater slice of the UK’s £500m-plus regulatory consultancies market after acquiring Aberdeen HR and employment practice Empire.
The transaction – for an undisclosed sum – followed Law’s acquisition of Square Circle HR in 2016 and saw the enlarged firm boast close to 1,000 clients UK-wide.
Empire was established in Aberdeen in 2005 and has expanded steadily through the years servicing clients, many in the oil and gas industry, across Scotland and the UK.
Law at Work had been part of Scottish legal firm Maclay Murray & Spens, now Dentons, before being spun out.
News of the acquisition of Law came as Marlowe posted an interim pre-tax profit of £6.2m, up from £3.9m a year earlier.
Dacre said: “All our activities showed strong year-on-year growth and contributed to an acceleration in group organic revenue growth which is now 6.5 per cent.”