INTEGRATED LEGAL HOLDINGS (ILH) hopes to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) before the end of the financial year, after plans to float in December were scuttled by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
ASIC issued an interim stop order preventing the company — which aims to be the first legal services group on the ASX — from raising funds, after concerns were raised by the Western Australian Legal Practice Board (WALPB).
The stop order has been extended indefinitely, but ILH spokesman Brett Davies said he expects a new prospectus will be ready by the end of February, with a view to listing on the ASX before the end of June.
“The delay is not an issue and the prospectus will now be stronger thanks to the involvement of the Legal Practice Board,” he said.
ILH wants to raise $14 million to buy the WA law firms Talbot Olivier, Brett Davies and Durack Zilko as well as information provider Law Central and management consultancy Professional Services Development.
Steve Penglis, chairman of the WALPB, said the Board had expressed concern directly to ILH and ASIC over certain material in the prospectus.
“The issues which remain of concern to the Board are twofold. The first is as to the goodwill in the prospectus — we want to know what it comprises of and how it has been calculated. The second area is as to the multiples that have been used to determine the amount for which each law firm will be acquired. We’ve also asked if the same multiple has been used for each business and for info on whether those multiples are reasonable,” Penglis said.
ILH plans to buy more law firms once it has successfully listed.
The deal is being watched closely in the UK where the Legal Services Bill is expected to allow UK firms to float later this year.