Leading full service Scottish law firm Gilson Gray has struck a deal with legal and professional services specialist, Knights, to acquire Home Property Lawyers (HPL) Ltd, in a move that signals the beginning of a well-constructed expansion strategy outside Scotland.
The consideration is not disclosed. The deal is subject to final SRA approvals.
HPL is a residential conveyancing specialist with 65 staff, all of whom have been retained as part of the deal, including current Head of HPL, Gary Tyman. Gilson Gray plans to double the head count as soon as possible and has begun recruiting in the Lincoln area and across England. In time, HPL will adopt the Gilson Gray name.
HPL has established itself as one of the leading property firms in the country and Gilson Gray has a significant track record of working with Intermediary property businesses to deliver residential conveyancing services to their clients.
The acquisition of HPL is in line with Gilson Gray’s growth strategy of making carefully targeted acquisitions and talent coups that extend the firm’s full service offering into new markets. The firm currently offers 20 service lines catering for individuals and businesses with offices positioned across Scotland and now in England.
The acquisition is the latest in a list of expansionist initiatives that has seen the firm rocket to the leading echelons of Scottish law. It recently invested heavily in the Dundee and Aberdeen markets, pursuing increasing market share in those regions. The firm also boasts one of the largest financial service businesses of type in the country – Gilson Gray Financial Services LLP – and offers one of the leading property services operations in Scotland.
According to Glen Gilson, group chairman and managing partner of Gilson Gray, the firm has been scouting the English market for suitable firms to acquire, before choosing to move forward with HPL.
Mr Gilson said: “We have long committed to delivering ‘best of breed’ legal services in Scotland and the HPL deal extends that ambition into England. We plan for HPL to become the market leader in its area of expertise within the next year.
“Having a UK-wide footprint, and the ability to work across multiple jurisdictions, is becoming increasingly important for top tier law firms. This acquisition gives us direct access, at scale, to the English market and is a move requested by many of our client base. It allows us to build our full service offering accordingly and, from a regulatory perspective, it makes sense to keep all our options open.
“We are proud to see Gilson Gray take this step, which we believe to be the first substantial deal involving a Scottish legal firm acquiring an English legal services operation, given that deals of this nature tend to happen in the reverse.”
Head of HPL, Gary Tyman said “I am excited to be joining the Gilson Gray Group. It is a thriving entrepreneurial business that gives me great comfort for the future of the HPL staff, our clients and the quality of the product that we can bring to market. The team has a proven track record of delivering high calibre professional services initiatives and have a superb knowledge of the needs of many of our intermediary partners.
“For example, Matthew Gray, Managing Director for Property Services at Gilson Gray, was the regional head of Propertymark, the National Association of Estate Agents, thus we are able to design and deliver a relevant market-leading proposition for such clients across the UK.”
Concurrently, Gilson Gray is pursuing further blue-chip acquisitions that will consolidate its presence in key regions of England. The firm expects to be in a position to disclose its plans later this summer.