UK Group Marlowe Takes over Compliance and Health & Safety Firm Law at Work in Deal That Could Rise to over £10 Million
Glasgow-based Law at Work has been bought by UK-wide compliance services group Marlowe for £6.3 million.
LAW was founded in 2001 and its staff of around 70 help businesses and organisations comply with employment law and health and safety regulations. In the 12 months to May 31 it had a turnover of £5.5 million and pre-tax profit of £1 million. More than half of its headcount are employment lawyers, HR compliance professionals and health and safety consultants.
Marlowe is a specialist group of companies which assure regulatory compliance and safety. It said the acquisition is a part of its strategy of building an “end-to-end provider of regulated compliance services and offers synergies with the Group’s existing Health, Safety and Compliance businesses, in particular with William Martin”.
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The deal involves an initial cash consideration of £6.3 million which could rise by £4 million over three years if profit targets are met.
Marlowe 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.”
London-headquartered Marlowe, which is listed on the AIM London Stock Exchange, was formed by Dacre in 2015 with backing from Lord Ashcroft and has grown through 25 acquisitions. Its companies use the web-based Meridian risk management platform to share data.
LAW will now aim to win more business in London and the south-east of England. Its senior leadership team will remain unchanged and it aims to create new jobs as the business grows. The chairman is Magnus Swanson while Donald MacKinnon is legal director and Steve Cook is managing director.
Swanson 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. The certainty and transparency of the LAW fixed-fee model means that everything from day-to-day staff engagement challenges through to employment tribunals and health and safety compliance is taken care of by us, so relieving pressure and freeing up time for busy employers to get on with running their successful businesses.
“At a practical level, joining the Marlowe plc 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.”
David Beveridge and Colm Kerr of Glasgow law firm Macdonald Henderson, and Neil Grimmond of Craig Corporate advised LAW’s shareholders on the deal.