Fairpoint Group plc announces intention to acquire Simpson Millar LLP


Investment for growth secures long term future and platform for diversification

Fairpoint Group plc has agreed to acquire Simpson Millar LLP in a landmark deal bringing together one of the UK’s best known consumer legal brands and the country’s leading provider of advice and solutions for financially stressed customers.

The transaction, which is subject to market and regulatory approval is expected to accelerate growth and provide new opportunities for two highly complementary businesses.

“This is excellent news for our firm and our customers,” says Peter Watson, Managing Partner at Simpson Millar LLP. “The synergies between ourselves and Fairpoint Group will enable Simpson Millar to expand and grow its footprint while supporting long established links and relationships upon which the firm has built its reputation.”

Upon completion of the deal, Simpson Millar will continue to be run by its current management team, using its existing trading brands and operating as a business unit within the Fairpoint Group.

From its headquarters in Leeds and 12 regional offices around England and Wales, Simpson Millar will accelerate its focus on improved customer service and value whilst enjoying greater access to capital, enabling it to increase its consolidation activity in the legal services market.

Simpson Millar has made a number of highly successful acquisitions in the recent past including education specialist MG Law and family practice McAra's. It has also bought a number of teams and client portfolios such as the Care Homes division of Barnetts Solicitors in Southport and a substantial volume of work from Lindsay’s in Liverpool. Peter explains that the firm will continue to develop new ties around the country.

“This is an investment in growth and a commitment to help us realise our existing long term strategy,” says Peter. “With the support of Fairpoint, we are able to expand significantly the numbers of products and services on offer from a portfolio that is already highly complementary. Meanwhile the firm can approach discussions with potential new partners armed with the added incentive that Simpson Millar is now part of a diversified financial and legal services business.”

Chris Moat, Chief Executive Officer of Fairpoint Group plc, adds: “We are very pleased to be making this announcement today, having identified some time ago the diversification benefits offered by new rules allowing non-law firms to own legal services businesses via Alternative Business Structure Licences. Fairpoint has spent a considerable amount of time finding the right partner and I would like to thank our search agent Jepson Holt in helping us to achieve that goal and Zoe Holland, Managing Director of Manchester-based Zebra Legal Consulting (Zebra LC) who provided Fairpoint with technical legal due diligence. Our gratitude also goes to Peter Watson, Craig Jones and Anthony Elston at Simpson Millar who have implemented the firm’s strategy so expertly to this point.

“Finally, our Finance Director John Gittins, Legal Services Director Tim Percival and Head of M&A Tim Ritchie also deserve great credit in making this transaction happen.”

Simpson Millar was advised by Giles Clegg at Lupton Fawcett Dennison Till and John Beevers at Sagars LLP. Fairpoint’s legal advisers were Eversheds (Alistair Cree, Edward Bartlett and Elizabeth Tindall) and financial advisers from KPMG (John Hughes, Daryl Booth and Andrew Nelson).

A copy of the deal release can be found here.

Notes to editors:

Fairpoint Group plc is an AIM quoted consumer financial services business focused on serving financially stressed consumers. Our business is structured into the following primary business lines in order to serve the needs of this consumer group:

  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)
  • Debt Management Plans (DMPs)
  • Claims Management


Simpson Millar LLP successfully represents the rights of individuals and their families via a network of 13 regional UK offices and through their long-standing association with membership organisations such as trade unions. Simpson Millar was the first ever UK law firm to obtain Lexcel Accreditation from the Law Society and, more recently, the first to obtain the Diversity in Business Accreditation.


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