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Slater & Gordon agrees £53.8m deal for Russell Jones & Walker

Slater & Gordon, the world's first publicly listed law firm, has agreed to acquire Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) in deal worth £53.8 million.

Founded in the 1920s to win compensation for injured steelworkers, RJW now generates around 60 per cent of its revenue from personal injury litigation. It employs some 425 staff in ten locations, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Under the deal, all of RJW's principals will remain with the firm and will be given shares in Slater & Gordon.

The acquisition also includes RJW's Claims Direct brand, which in essence operates as a marketing co-operative for several law firms with enquiries allocated to its members.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Slater & Gordon said that total revenue from RJW and Claims Direct is expected to top £53 million in the 2013 financial year. Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation are projected to hit £10.9 million.

Slater & Gordon managing director, Andrew Grech, said, "The UK market is inherently attractive to use because of its size and its jurisdictional similarities to Australia.

"We have the huge advantage of having a five-year head start in operating in a listed environment and we can bring that experience to the UK through a kindred firm in RJW, which has the business structure and the people to exploit that advantage."

The deal, which has been through a due diligence process lasting more than 12 months, is subject to approval by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A decision is expected in April.

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