Antony Hodari acquires high-profile personal injury firm
11 Sep, 2012
Paul Rooney is based in central Liverpool and carries out extensive radio advertising, which has made it one of the best-known personal injury brands in the country. It will retain its name and it is expected that all 50 staff will continue in their roles. Founder Paul Rooney will continue to be involved in the business as a consultant, providing his expertise on direct marketing.
By acquiring a direct marketing capability, the move is the latest stage in Antony Hodari’s strategic preparations for the major changes that will hit the personal injury market next April with implementation of the Jackson reforms in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Antony Hodari has hitherto taken a mainly business-to-business approach, concentrating on work from intermediaries. The deal also represents a significant expansion for the firm, which has 105 staff.
Chief executive officer Mark Grover explains: “Paul Rooney Partnership is a fantastically well-known brand, particularly in the north-west, and this acquisition allows us to diversify and obtain work directly. Our strategy is predicated on growth, as you need scale to drive down the cost base, and we will be looking to grow the direct side of the business quickly. Size will be vital in the post-Jackson world of squeezed margins for claimant lawyers.”
Paul Rooney says: “I am confident that the combination of our brand with Antony Hodari’s systems and skills will make for a powerful player in the personal injury market. It will become harder for injured people to bring claims from next year and they will need firms with the resources of an Antony Hodari to take on their cases and fight for their rights.”
Antony Hodari has been through a modernisation programme which has seen staff numbers cut by a third over the past four years, while turnover has more than doubled, to £15m. Mark Grover says: “While next year’s reforms will make life more difficult for claimant lawyers, there will be opportunities for firms that are efficient, well run, and technology enabled. We believe that we are now in a position to take advantage of the reforms.”
Gary Houghton, James Wild and Nick Wyatt from Baker Tilly Corporate Finance acted as lead adviser to Paul Rooney on the deal. Gary Houghton commented: “We are delighted to have advised Paul Rooney on this transaction. The Paul Rooney Partnership is a long established, well regarded firm of solicitors with a very strong brand. This acquisition will provide Antony Hodari with a large caseload and a direct route to market. The combined business will be well placed to compete in the current environment.”
James Sheridan, Gareth Roberts, Helen O’Neill and David Hayes from Manchester business law firm turner parkinson advised Antony Hodari. James Sheridan said: “The Antony Hodari team have transformed their own business in the three years that I have been working with them. The acquisition of Paul Rooney creates a new route to market, which will be crucial in adapting to the significant changes likely to occur in the personal injury market over the coming months.”