Gordon Dadds to buy Ince & Co

GGD CEO and managing partner Adrian Biles. Credit: GGD
GGD CEO and managing partner Adrian Biles. Credit: GGD

After a prolonged difficult period that saw the departure of senior partners, Ince & Co has been acquired by fellow UK legal group Gordon Dadds Group (GGD).

The AIM-listed GGD said in a customary filing on 29 October that it is buying Ince & Co for GBP34 million (USD43.6 million).

Following the merger, the legal group will be renamed Ince Gordon Dadds LLP, becoming the largest UK law firm, with aggregated revenues (including affiliated entities) of more than GBP110 million, with 100 partners and offices in nine countries.

GGD CEO and managing partner Adrian Biles said, “Ince is a highly successful and well-respected business with an iconic brand and I will be delighted to welcome our new colleagues to the group.

“The merger will build on the complementary strengths of the two firms in terms of industry expertise and range of services. Our management model will also allow Ince’s partners and fee earners to focus even more on providing market leading legal advice to a stellar client base.”

Ince & Co chairman Peter Rogan said, “This is an exciting day for us at Ince, with this cutting-edge deal being very much in line with our long-established strategy. I’m proud that the Ince name will continue and am very excited to be moving forward together as part of this innovative new structure with access to new capital allowing us to gain greater competitive advantage in the market.”

Ince & Co saw declining revenue for three years before registering GBP88.5 million in income for the 2016–17 financial year. The law firm, which has a marine team, also let 32 people go in July. Affected staff comprised 25 business services staff and seven fee-earners.

There were signs that all was not well with Ince & Co not long before the layoffs took place.

In early 2016, Ince & Co’s Singapore head, Richard Lovells, left to head the admiralty in rival Reed Smith’s Singapore office.

The exodus of senior partners continued and, in August, Jan Heuvels relinquished his role as the firm’s Hong Kong-based international senior partner, leaving Ince & Co without a leader.

In October, Martin Brown, who headed the ship finance team in Ince & Co’s Singapore office, left to join Stephenson Harwood.