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Legal dominates city headlines

When David Clementi first announced his ideas for a liberalised marketplace, one wonders if he thought by April 2014 the sector would be battling with hedge funds for the biggest stories?

It makes perfect sense now, but in 2004 stories going viral and share price speculation were probably not top of the agenda as the Ministry of Justice made its first steps towards LASPO and Alternative Business Structures. Nevertheless, one year on from their introduction and during three short weeks the City witnessed a trio of scoops including a stock market
 listing announcement, a financial/legal services merger and allegations of a co-ordinated attack by short sellers betting against one of the market's largest companies.

First up was national law firm Simpson Millar, whose merger with financial services provider Fairpoint stole the headlines on 9th April. The £9m cash deal was hailed by managing partner Peter Watson and Fairpoint CEO Chris Moat as helping the firm accelerate acquisitions, while outlining ambitions to build SM into a powerful consumer brand.

One brand which is already on its way to becoming a household name is National Accident Helpline, and its plans for an initial public offering were reported in the Daily Telegraph the day after Easter. Russell Atkinson, CEO of NAH said in a statement: "We have a long track record of consistent and profitable growth with a highly cash generative business model which we expect will deliver an attractive yield."

Meanwhile, Quindell Portfolio experienced what can only be described as a challenging week after a research note from the dramatic sounding Gotham City Research prompted a wave of selling and a share price slump. QPP strongly refuted all of GCR's statements.

In a month when solicitors  Bott & Co launched a 'profitability calculator' to show what Legal Futures described as the 'shocking reality of the post-LASPO world', no one can accuse the sector of lacking a story or two to set the pulse racing.