June 8, 2015 / 3:22 PM / 2 years ago

Law firm Gateley raises 30 mln pounds in pioneering London float

LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) - Partners in Gateley Holdings shared a 25 million pounds($38 million) windfall on Monday when the group became the first British law firm to list on the London stock Exchange.

Shares worth some 30 million pounds were placed on London’s junior AIM market, the company said, giving the firm an initial stock market value of 100 million pounds, short of its target of 140 million.

Some 81 partners were eligible to participate in the sale, the company said last month. They would share an initial 25 million pounds, it said, while the remaining 5 million pounds would help fund the company’s growth.

Chief Executive Michael Ward hailed the flotation, or initial public offering (IPO), as a significant achievement, with some 10 percent of the shares snapped up by the firm’s clients.

“The IPO will provide the platform for the continued success of the business, as well as accelerate its growth opportunities and facilitate value creation through an increased ability to acquire, incentivise, differentiate and where sensible diversify,” Ward said.

Gateley, which has 4,000 corporate and 1,500 private clients and whose core sectors are banking and financial services, corporate, business services, employment and pensions and property, took the step after a change in the law last year allowing non-lawyers to own and invest in law firms.

Australian law firm Slater & Gordon was the first international group to go public, via a listing in Australia in 2007, and its subsequent expansion spurred Gateley’s move, Ward said last month.

Cantor Fitzgerald was nominated adviser and broker for Gateley’s listing, which involved the placing of 31.8 million ordinary shares with institutional and other investors at 95 pence apiece.

The stock was trading at 97.5p by 1517 GMT.

$1 = 0.6547 pounds Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Holmes

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