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Private equity house takes major stake in insurance specialist Parabis

Duke Street has become the first private equity house to take a major stake in a legal services provider after striking a deal with the Parabis Group.

The move, which comes just days after Australian stockmarket listed law firm Slater & Gordon bought Russell Jones & Walker for £53.4m, is the latest twist following the introduction of alternative business structures.

Parabis provides legal and claims management services to the insurance industry in the UK and is expected to post revenues of £160m in the year to March 2012. One of its personal injury litigation brands, Plexus Law, has a track record of advising local authorities and other public bodies.

The Duke Street deal, which is subject to approval by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, values the Parabis Group at between £150m and £200m.

In addition to litigation, the group also provides services such as claims management outsourcing, rehabilitation, loss adjusting, and health & safety assessment and audit.

Duke Street partner Iain Kennedy said: “Parabis presents a unique opportunity to invest in a fast growing, dynamic and fragmented sector.

“The intention is to support management with Duke Street’s operational expertise in transforming the business from a professional services firm to a business process outsourcer, and to drive the continued consolidation of the legal services industry via Duke Street’s successful buy-and-build model.”

Parabis’ Chief Executive Tim Oliver and Commercial Director Tim Roberts will remain with the company following the deal.