Announcement follows the recent appointment of Fiona Scott as CEO.
Leading defendant law firm, Plexus Law, has today announced that it has secured private equity investment from Origin Equity LLP, for a minority shareholding in the business. The total cash equity investment of £15m will support the firm’s growth and innovation plans.
Plexus is a specialist, defendant law firm that provides innovative, high quality legal services to insurance companies, corporates and public sector bodies. Origin Equity is a private equity firm of investors with significant experience in the professional services sector, focused on business transformation and making a select number of investments each year. Origin approached Plexus Law, having tracked the business, the market and its competitors for some time, and in doing so, identified a major opportunity to invest in and support the firm’s growth and accelerate its existing strategy.
In order to secure the investment, Plexus has obtained an ABS license from the SRA.
Two of the Origin team – Gavin Loughrey and Olivia Roberts – will join the Plexus Board, whilst the firm’s existing management will maintain ultimate control of its running. The announcement of the Origin investment follows the recent appointment of Fiona Scott to the position of CEO. Fiona joined Plexus in December from Kennedy’s where she worked for four years as Finance Director. She was a member of the global board and instrumental in overseeing the firm’s financial stability and growth. As Plexus CEO she works alongside Andrew McDougall, who stepped into the role of Senior Partner following Fiona’s appointment; Commercial Director, Tim Roberts; and the Senior Management Team.
Since returning to the ownership of its original founders in 2015, Plexus has continued to strengthen its team and offering. The firm has enjoyed sustained organic growth off the back of increased demand, particularly from London market and reinsurer clients, for claims handling and litigation expertise in areas such as financial lines, professional indemnity and liability work. These developments have fueled senior recruitment across the board which, in recent months, has included the appointment of senior professional indemnity specialist Gordon Walker as Partner. Gordon was previously head of the Leeds office at Clyde and Co, and will be building Plexus’ professional indemnity capability in Leeds. The firm is also opening offices in Chelmsford and Taunton, and is in the process of recruiting in these areas.
Commenting on the investment, Fiona said: “We operate in a highly competitive market and in order to thrive, we need to grow. Origin’s investment will accelerate our organic growth across the UK and Ireland, support our efforts to secure talent through lateral hires and enable us to further explore how we utilise and invest in technology.
“We are in a really strong position to take on this investment. Plexus is cash rich, overdraft free and has an impressive client roster. The decision to opt for private equity investment rather than looking at a merger, IPO or becoming highly leveraged with debt, was influenced by a number of factors, notably that this approach doesn’t compromise management control. In addition, the fact that it is a cash equity purchase ensures that it does not expose the business and its partners to the risk that a highly leveraged, debt funded buy in or IPO might – particularly in the current economic and political climate. It’s also important for us to ensure that we don’t preclude future talent from taking a stake in the business.
“We believe that Origin are a fantastic match for our business. They are highly experienced and focused investors who limit their investments to one or two a year. Everyone in the team is excited about this next stage and clients have been hugely supportive.”
Quote from Origin: “We are delighted to be supporting Plexus in their strategic growth and believe we can help the firm’s senior management team consolidate Plexus’ position as the go-to independent defendant law firm. We can also help the team further exploit advances around data management, analytics and next generation case management processing, three areas in which they have already made great strides.
“Central to our approach is the idea of working closely with ambitious managers and with Plexus we see a huge opportunity for the firm to continue to evolve and innovate. In the current market, where transparency and client ROI is so important for professional services providers, Plexus has developed a reputation for taking an innovative approach to pricing and claims management.”
Plexus is headquartered in Leeds and has six additional offices across the UK with over 1,000 employees, including 119 Partners and 655 fee earners. Plexus generated £6m of profit after payments to partners on £56m of revenues with net operating assets of £29m for fiscal year ending 31st March 2018.
Plexus Law was advised by Squire Patton Boggs (contract, legal due diligence and due diligence) and RSM (tax and accountancy) and Mark Farlow of Atlantra (corporate finance advice).
Origin Equity was advised by PWC (commercial, financial, tax, and IT due diligence), Macfarlanes (contract, legal due diligence and tax structuring), and Aon (insurance due diligence).
Notes to Editors
About Plexus Law
Plexus is a leading provider of defendant legal services to both insurance and corporate clients and manages over 100,000 claims per year. Plexus’s unique technology platform combined with its experienced and proven team of managers and lawyers enables Plexus to deliver an excellent service to its clients, providing critical business information and services to enhance the management of their claims spend. Plexus tailors bespoke services and information packages for its clients which reflect the challenges and complexities of their individual businesses. Plexus has over 1,000 employees and is headquartered in Leeds, with six additional offices across the UK, in London; Manchester; Evesham; Liverpool; Halifax and Edinburgh.
About Origin Equity
Origin Equity is a private equity firm which invests in services sector businesses in the UK and Ireland. Its founding partners, Gavin Loughrey and Olivia Roberts have over 30 years of combined experience in top investment firms. Origin Equity only invests where there is an opportunity for business transformation and seeks to support its management teams to create step changes in profitability through growing footprint, capturing more end-user spend and/or capturing more economics in the value chain. The partners have a long track record of successfully executing all these business transformation strategies.
Plexus: Penny Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 7824 859509
Origin Equity: Olivia Roberts, email@example.com, +44 20 3709 7940