Mersey legal group seeks private equity investors

A £38m-turnover Liverpool city region legal group that includes Jackson Lees and Bermans is to seek private equity backing as it continues its dynamic acquisition strategy. Tony McDonough reports

Jackson Lees
Joanna Kingston-Davies and Brian Cullen are growing MAPD through acquisition


Liverpool city region legal group MAPD Ventures is seeking further investment as it continues to acquire law firms as part of an ongoing acquisition strategy.

MAPD was set up in 2019 by Brian Cullen and Joanna Kingston-Davies. Mr Cullen has a 60% controlling stake in the business. Its registered address is Hoylake in Wirral.

In 2020 it acquired Liverpool-based Jackson Lees, a legal firm founded in 2016 following the merger of three of the city’s best-known practices, Lees Solicitors, Jackson Canter and Broudie Solicitors.

Brian and Joanna were senior executives at Jackson Lees which is based in Exchange Flags. They led a management buyout of the firm and incorporated it into MAPD.

In September 2022 it acquired another well known Liverpool firm, Bermans, which also has an office in Manchester. A number of other acquisitions have followed and the group now has a headcount of more than 500 across 15 offices.

MAPD has just released its annual accounts on Companies House. Covering the 12-month period to May 31, 2023, they show revenues of £23.2m, a big leap on the £15.7m in the previous year. The company saw a small pre-tax loss of £241,600. No dividends were paid.

However, the business has grown bigger since the end of the reporting period and the accounts state annual revenue has now grown to around £38m.

Jackson Lees, which remain as standalone businesses, has also released its accounts for the same period. Revenues were up by £1m to £14.7m. Pre-tax profits trebled to £1.12m.

In April 2023, MAPD acquired Thomas Hayton Winkley,  a 150-year-old law firm on the South Lakes which focuses on legal services for SMEs and family-owned businesses.

Bromley’s Solicitors was also acquired in the same month. It has operated in Ashton-under-Lyne for more than 175 years.


Walker House
Jackson Lees is based at Walker House in Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


In September 2023 MAPD also acquired Avidity IP Holdings, a European and UK patent attorney, and Farrington Law, a small private client practice in Southport that will become part of Jackson Lees.

In the annual accounts MAPD outlined its growth strategy. It said: “The business funds its acquisition strategy via its debt provider, Shard Capital Partners. 

“The business continues to hold discussions with a strong pipeline of opportunities to reinforce its nationwide presence and service lines, together with smaller bolt-on deals for existing group businesses.

“Over the course of 2024/25 the group will explore its funding options which will include the potential for private equity investment to accelerate the acquisition plans.”

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