Chambers & Partners has a new owner – the private equity firm, Abry Partners.
Media companies including the Financial Times today reported that the legal directory publisher was sold by its former owner, Inflexion Partners, in a deal said to be worth around £400 million (just under $500 million).
That represents an impressive return on investment for Inflexion, which bought Chambers in 2018 from founder Michael Chambers.
At the time of the Inflexion buyout, people I spoke to suggested Chambers had been sold for around £70-80 million.
With private equity firms showing heightened interest in recent years in specialist information providers, more legal titles and products have fallen under the same corporate ownership.
Notably, Abry, which was founded in 1989 in Boston, and has completed close to 1,000 investments, acquired Best Lawyers, another leading legal ranking specialist, in December 2021.
Abry took control of Best lawyers, a Georgia-based company that pioneered the peer review style of lawyer directory, in 2018 from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based investor.
That deal marked the end of more than 30 years of private ownership by Best Lawyers co-founder Steven Naifeh, who stepped away from the company.
Naifeh, with his partner Gregory White Smith, launched Best Lawyers in 1989 as a way to identify the best lawyers based on who received the most recommendations from fellow practicing attorneys.
2018 also saw Chambers & Partners founder Michael Chambers exit the legal publishing world after having set up the London-based legal directory business in the late 1980s.
Chambers & Partners was sold that year to a buyout group led by the legal publishing entrepreneur Mark Wyatt and backed by Inflexion.
Wyatt later departed the business and was replaced by a new-look management team headed by chief executive Tim Noble.
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, the same firm that invested in Best Lawyers in 2018, also backed a deal in which two leading London-based legal publishers – Law Business Research and Globe Business Media Group – were merged together.
Pictured: Chambers & Partners is headquartered in the Fleet Street area of London