Administrators from Interpath Advisory were appointed today and immediately announced the sale of the business to Axiom Ince Limited. As part of the transaction, 520 employees and 20 fixed share partners have transferred to Axiom.
James Clark, managing director at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said: ‘Undoubtedly, it has been a very difficult few years for Plexus, and so we’re pleased to have been able to conclude this transaction which not only secures the future of the business, but importantly secures 540 jobs without any need for redundancies.
‘Right from their initial expression of interest, Axiom were determined and committed to acquiring the practice, safeguarding jobs and importantly, helping to protect client interests.’
Last month, Plexus Law said it needed to find a buyer to after the withdrawal of a major investor worth around £5m to the business. The firm filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator but weeks went by without any further update.
It is understood that several firms showed an interest in taking on Plexus but Axiom emerged as the frontrunner. It bought the business and some assets of listed firm Ince Group in May having already acquired London practice Wiseman Lee. Axiom is a full-service firm created through a merger between Axiom Stone and DWFM Beckman. It has several offices in London and bases in Birmingham, Bristol and Swindon.
Headquartered in Leeds, Plexus consists of Plexus Legal LLP, operating from offices in Chelmsford, Evesham, Leeds, London, Liverpool and Manchester, and Plexus North which is based in Edinburgh.
The group was incorporated in 2017 after acquiring certain work and assets from the former legal business Parabis Law.
Administrators today explained that, following the acquisition, a new management team was introduced which detected 'irregularities' in relation to historical financial performance. After a forensic review, it was discovered that contingent fees were over-recognised in the group’s accounts leading to an overstatement of profits in in 2020 and 2021.
They added that filing of the 2021 statutory accounts was delayed as a result of the investigation, which reversed the previously-declared profits. This prompted a significant cash requirement which was then further exacerbated both by the impact of Covid-19 and declining sales in. As a result of this, Interpath Advisory was approached to examine the options available for Plexus including new investment or sale.
A Sheffield firm which took on thousands of cases from the collapsed Pure Group has itself filed for administration. According to court records, SSB Group Ltd gave notice of its intention to appoint an administrator on Monday. It is understood the business is in talks over a pre-pack sale as it seeks to avoid an intervention by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
As widely trailed to the national media, reforms to criminal sentencing and the leasehold system feature heavily in the government's legislative programme in the runup to the general election expected in autumn 2024.