Article written by Laetitia Ponde Nkot
Shakespeare Martineau has made its first merger with Mayo Wynne Baxter.
Shakespeare Martineau is a Birmingham, United Kingdom-based, full-service law firm. Founded in 2015, the firm provides legal services in the areas of banking and financial services, business immigration, commercial, corporate, employment, and many and provides amongst other manufacturing, agriculture, education, energy and investment funds sectors.
Shakespeare Martineau arose from a merger between Shakespeares and SGH Martineau in June 2015. In 2020, Shakespeare Martineau laid plans to attract mergers, acquisitions and hires to its brand house, to double in size by 2023, to attain a turnover of at least £200 million and to be in the top 30 companies by 2025, saying that its ambitions were ‘limitless’.
The firm retitled Shakespeare Martineau LLP Ampa last year. Shakespeare Martineau’s house of brands’ holding LLP currently includes Midlands firm Shakespeare Martineau, law firm Lime Solicitors, debt and asset recovery firm Corclaim, property, planning consultancy Marrons Planning and specialist cybersecurity company CSS Assure, which Ampa acquired last October. Purchase of global cyber security firm CSS Assure calculated to bring more than £7m to group turnover over next three years.
No money was exchanged in this merger, Mayo Wynne Baxter’s partners merged to join Shakespeare Martineau’s Ampa group, still operating in a separate LLP for all but its injury and clinical negligence teams who will incorporate Ampa’s Lime Solicitors brand. Mayo Wynne Baxter recorded a profit before tax of 2,6 m on a turnover of £11,6 of which 1.2 m is transferring over to Lime.
AMPA is a group of separate and distinguished brands with interdependent specialist areas, talented experts, and a concerted goal to fulfil their clients’ needs and their growth ambitions. Sarah Walker-Smith, the group CEO at Ampa, said: ‘Clients and people across our sector are crying out for change and transformation. It’s time to consider the agile needs of clients more broadly and step away from the traditional consolidation model. Ampa does just that.’… `We are a leading full-service law firm, providing legal services to businesses, organisations, government departments, families and people throughout life and in business. But we offer so much more than that. Expertise, commerciality and relationships are at the very heart of what we do.’
Mergers come in many forms; it could be a meeting of equals that complement each other, a takeover/bailout, or the acquisition of a small business by a dominant partner. The firm says: ‘very often in our industry big aggressive companies acquire companies just to destroy the very core of that brand and the reason they have so many loyal customers.’
‘Mayo Wynne Baxter has unique geography, local market affinity, excellent client relationships, strong employer brand and a great reputation which is why it is so important that it maintains its brand and market positions. It has been great to meet and now go into partnership with a similarly progressive business and like-minded people to help us drive the Ampa vision.’
Mergers mean growth, both in terms of firm size and geographical coverage. Mergers can cause casualties in terms of layoffs, especially when the two companies have a similar profile and operate in the same regions, because the merger will necessarily lead to duplication of jobs, especially in support functions and for the new venture is ultimately a success, it can be seen as a necessary evil.
Shakespeares grew rapidly through a number of low-profile mergers. In 2011 Shakespeares merged with Wood Glaister and Gorrara Haden, in August 2012 combined with stalwart Harvey Ingram and in 2013 with Marrons and Newsome Vaughan while obtaining an alternative business licence to supply for insurance clients. In December 2015 Shakespeare Martineau merged with London-based commercial law firm, Macrae and Co.
In the 12 months ensuing the deal, Shakespeare Martineau’s post-merger turnover fell to £71m, down 6% from the compounded figure of £75.6m for the company, Shakespeares and SGH Martineau’s gross revenue being £49 million and £26.6 million for the 2014/15 financial year. However, the Profits per equity partner (PEP) advanced from £225,000 to £235,000. Shakespeare’s managing director Martineau said at the time that “everyone had benefited from the increased opportunities and services, declining revenue is always what happens in a merger where there are problems independent of the merger, but that in reality, compared to most mergers, it was a paltry amount.
Shakespeare Martineau busily looks for mergers, acquisitions, new recruits and brands to grow alongside and within it. Being part of the Ampa group permits the firm to move up the progress of its job creations in recruitment to expand the company.
Mayo Wynne Baxter will officially shift to a member of Ampa from May 2022. The merger is anticipated to bring Ampa’s turnover to beyond £100m in the current financial year.
In October 2021, Ampa announced B Corporation pending status. B Corporations are companies certified by B Lab, a non-profit organisation, to meet certain social and environmental standards.