AF Legal expands into the NT after taking control of local family law firm

AF Legal expands into the NT after taking control of local family law firm

Withnalls Lawyers principal Vanessa Farmer.

For nearly a million dollars, listed law firm AF Legal (ASX: AFL) will make its move into the Northern Territory by taking control of Darwin-based family law firm Withnalls Lawyers.

Darwin is the last mainland capital city AF Legal does not have a presence in, but following the acquisition of 51 per cent of Withnalls Lawyers the national law firm will stake its claim in the territory.

AF Legal will acquire the majority stake for an upfront cash consideration of $447,287 and upfront scrip consideration of the same amount to serve Darwin’s residential population in excess of 250,000 people.

The listed company says there is also a significant transitional population supported by people movements and employment contracts in defence, public sector, mining FIFO, and a renewal in tourism post-COVID.

“We are pleased to continue our growth into new markets in Australia,” AF Legal executive chairman Grant Dearlove said.

“This transaction represents our first partnership where we have invested alongside an existing shareholder principal at a regional level.

“Having worked in the Northern Territory I appreciate it’s a unique market and that working with a partner who has built a successful business in the region is the best strategy for success.”

The deal is a milestone too for Withnalls which has been providing exclusive specialist family law services to Territorians for more than 16 years. Its principal Vanessa Farmer has lived in the NT since 1974 and has practiced for more than 20 years.

“I very much look forward to partnering with AFL as Australia’s largest and most progressive Family Law firm,” Farmer said.

“Withnalls is ready to grow. Our existing practice is underwritten by our history of quality work and referrals.

“Now with AFL’s digital presence and its operating efficiencies we can grow faster and deliver to more Territorians seeking the strength of a modern national family law firm with a longstanding local presence.”

The transaction is subject to the company completing its due diligence and finalising transaction documentation.

Shares in AFL are down 5.32 per cent to $0.44 per share at 10.35am AEDT.

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