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Palamon to acquire controlling stake in Simplify legal group

Palamon Capital Partners is to acquire a majority interest The Simplify Group, which comprises conveyancing specialists Move with Us and DC Law and probate specialist the Chorus Law. 

The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
Palamon’s investment in Simplify underlines its strategy to build the UK’s largest legal services provider, with multiple routes to market.  The firm believes that changes in the UK legal market have created a significant opportunity to achieve this and embarked on its strategy in 2011 by investing in QualitySolicitors, the largest high street legal brand in the UK.
The fragmented UK high-street legal market, which currently comprises more than 10,000 firms representing GBP13 billion in annual revenue, is facing unprecedented challenges: regulatory changes have put increasing pressure on margins, while consumers are increasingly expecting greater choice and control over how they access legal services. 
Against this backdrop, Palamon believes this transaction will provide significant growth opportunities for both QualitySolicitors and Simplify, which have complementary market positions, service models and skills.  QualitySolicitors’ members can benefit from additional legal work and the sophisticated technology that Simplify brings.  Simplify will obtain access to an expanded network of high street law firms and a broader range of legal services.
The management teams of Simplify and QualitySolicitors will stay in place to lead their existing businesses. 
Daan Knottenbelt, partner at Palamon, says: “Our investment in Simplify is a clear statement of our ambition to build a national leader in UK consumer legal services with unparalleled points of access.  The scale and technological expertise of Simplify coupled with the national high street coverage and consumer reach of QualitySolicitors will provide multiple growth opportunities for both companies.”
Eddie Ross, chief executive of QualitySolicitors, says: “We are excited about the opportunities that Simplify will bring to our growing network of partner firms.  QS is already a national leader in terms of conveyancing volume and by working with Simplify we will consolidate that position for our firms.  The technology expertise of Simplify will enhance our innovative online customer platform, now being developed for the network.  At the same time, the scale of the QS network will provide a broader range of legal services to Simplify customers.”
Grant Mckerron, chairman at Simplify, says: “Simplify is committed to building a platform that offers greater choice and control to the consumer.  Whilst we are market leaders in two segments, our research shows that the majority people using our website are seeking additional legal services not yet provided by the group.  Working with QualitySolicitors will broaden the services we offer and help meet that unserved demand.  We are excited about the significant opportunities that will arise from working together.”

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