Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) has sold its portfolio company BL Rankings (DBA Best Lawyers) to Abry Partners.
Best Lawyers is a provider of proprietary and peer-reviewed rankings of lawyers and law firms across various practice areas within the legal sector. The company’s digital and non-digital products are published in 75 countries around the world. The 28th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2022) includes more than 66,000 lawyers in 147 practice areas, covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Inclusion in this year’s publication is based on 10.8 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.
Through partnerships with major business and general publications around the world – including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune – Best Lawyers has more than 19 million readers in city, regional, and national publications. Best Lawyers, led by CEO Phillip Greer, was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Augusta, Georgia.
“It has been a pleasure partnering with LLCP over this period of tremendous growth for Best Lawyers,” said Mr. Greer. “Their support, management-centric approach, and strategic insights contributed greatly to the development and expansion of the business.”
LLCP acquired Best Lawyers in May 2018 through LLCP Lower Middle Market Fund II which closed in 2016 with capital of $615 million. According to a source familiar to Private Equity Professional, LLCP’s investment in Best Lawyers returned 3x the firm’s invested capital.
“Phillip Greer and the entire Best Lawyers team have built an exceptional business through their strategic focus on providing credible and unbiased peer-reviewed legal rankings for lawyers and law firms around the world,” said Tannaz Chapman, a managing director at LLCP. “Since our initial investment in 2018, the company has made significant investments in management, sales & marketing, and new product development that enabled the business to expand its offerings and substantially accelerate growth, both in the United States and internationally. Best Lawyers has a great future, and we wish the team continued success.”
Abry invests in the media, communications, and business and information sectors. The firm was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Boston.
“Best Lawyers represents an ideal investment for Abry,” said Nick Scola, a partner at Abry. “Phil and his team have built an amazing company with an industry-leading brand and reputation as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere. We are excited to partner with the team to help accelerate growth and look forward to continuing to invest in the people, technology and resources that will further enhance the company’s product and service offerings.”
LLCP invests in middle-market companies located in the United States and Europe. Sectors of interest include consumer and branded products, franchises, business services, healthcare, education, engineered products and light manufacturing. In September 2021, LLCP closed its latest fund, LLCP Lower Middle Market Fund III LP, with total capital commitments of $1.38 billion. The new fund was oversubscribed and closed at its increased hard cap.
The sale of Best Lawyers is LLCP’s ninth recent exit and follows the sales of Caring Brands (October 2021), FlexXray (July 2021), Trinity Consultants (June 2021), Nothing Bundt Cakes (May 2021), ZorgDomein (January 2021), Jonathan Engineered Solutions (January 2021), Futurewhiz (December 2020), and Pacific Handy Cutter (December 2020).
Since its founding in 1984 by Arthur Levine and Lauren Leichtman, LLCP has managed approximately $12.7 billion of institutional capital across 15 investment funds and has invested in over 90 portfolio companies. LLCP currently has $9.2 billion of assets under management with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, London, Stockholm and The Hague.
Citizens Capital Markets was the financial advisor to both Best Lawyers and LLCP on this transaction.
© 2021 Private Equity Professional | December 3, 2021