Oakley Capital, the pan-European private equity investor, has bought a majority share of vLex, the legal research platform that has been on a rapid expansion drive in recent years.
The deal will see the founding brothers Lluis and Angel Faus of the company stay in place, with the new capital from Oakley being used to expand the business via M&A and also organically.
vLex has made several purchases and partnerships in recent years, including the UK’s Justis.
Headquartered in London, Miami and Barcelona, vLex provides over two million users with access to an online library of global legal and regulatory information, including case law, legislation, journals, and dockets from over 100 countries.
The company said ‘vLex’s scalable and smart data ingestion process, coupled with AI-powered search engine functionality, makes research and analysis faster and easier, increasing productivity for users. The company’s diverse customer base includes law firms, universities and law schools, government agencies, and corporate enterprises across Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, and the Americas.’
They added that the company is ‘profitable and has consistently generated double-digit revenue growth in recent years’
They also stated that the global legal tech market is worth $21 billion and is growing as ‘legal information users digitalise their business models further, and amid the growing complexity and internationalisation of laws and regulations’.
Oakley Capital Founder and Managing Partner, Peter Dubens, said of the deal: ‘vLex has all the hallmarks of an Oakley deal: a fast-growing, disruptive business model in a niche sector, led by ambitious business founders. We look forward to partnering with Lluis and Angel to help them build a successful product in the global market for legal information.’
vLex Co-Founder and CEO, Lluis Faus, added: ‘Oakley has a strong track record of helping successful, tech-enabled businesses grow, through internationalisation, product optimisation and buy-and-build, both in Spain and abroad. We particularly liked their entrepreneurial ethos and heritage, and look forward to working with the Oakley team as we deliver on our strategic objectives for vLex.’
The move makes a lot of sense. The one thing that legal research companies need is content – lots and lots of content. Hence you need capital to buy up other publishers and legal content holders to expand the business. This is especially the case when you are competing with the likes of Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and Wolters Kluwer.
The move also signals continued M&A activity across the legal tech sector – and it seems likely that there is much more to come….