Established commercial law firm to be acquired for £11.54m

Legal and professional services business, Knights, has agreed to acquire Keebles LLP, an independent commercial law firm primarily based in Sheffield.

Established in Sheffield over a century ago, Keebles is a full-service independent law firm with a strong corporate and real estate offering.

The acquisition sees 138 fee earners joining Knights, providing entry into Sheffield and complementing the Group’s existing presence in Nottingham and Leeds.

The acquisition of Keebles strengthens Knights’ presence in Yorkshire, in line with the Group’s strategy to accelerate its organic growth through carefully targeted acquisitions.

In its unaudited accounts for the year ending 30 April 2020, Keebles reported revenue of £12.7m. It is budgeting revenue of £12.2m in the year to 30 April 2021, with a corporatised PBT margin of c.5% in 2021.

Under the terms of the deal, Knights will acquire Keebles from its ten existing equity partners on a debt free, cash free basis for a total consideration of £11.54m, subject to working capital adjustments at the time of completion.

This comprises an initial consideration of £8.41m, made up of £4.91m in cash and £3.50m in 791,990 new ordinary shares in Knights, along with deferred cash consideration of £3.13m to be paid in equal instalments over the two years respectively following completion.

Completion is expected to take place on 11 June 2021.

David Beech, CEO of Knights, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Keebles, a business with an exceptional cultural fit and talented team of lawyers with a strong reputation across Yorkshire and beyond.

“Having grown our position significantly in Leeds and York, Keebles provides us entry into the important city of Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire area, allowing us to join up our presence across the region and execute our ambition to become the leading legal and professional services business outside London.”

Paul Trudgill, partner at Keebles, added: “The culture of Knights is closely aligned to Keebles, making it the natural home for our business as we enter the next stage of our growth journey.

“Having grown to become a leading law firm in South Yorkshire, we are delighted to be joining Knights as it executes its ambitious expansion plans and look forward to thriving as part of a larger Group.”