Solution 6 has sold its "Lawpoint" online legal information service to Thomson Legal and Regulatory in another divestment aimed at cleaning up the company balance sheet.
Although an exact figure for the sale has not been disclosed, Solution 6 finance director was bemused by a media report that suggested the company had made a loss on the investment. Greaves said the Lawpoint business sold for more than its purchase price in May 2000. "You would have to be pretty desperate to sell it for less than you bought it," he said.
Lawpoint is an online Government registry search engine for around 3000 legal professionals. Its sale is the third such divestment under the financial management of John Greaves, who was asked to assist in steering Solution 6's finances around by current chief executive officer Neil Gamble. Greaves announced his resignation today, effective as of mid-April, and will focus his attention on his chairman role at Inteq, a small investment bank that specialises in floats and debt raising.
According to Greaves, the Lawpoint business earnt Solution 6 small profits and as a stand-alone business provided little management headaches, but said it was a business that didn't fit into Solution 6's mould of practice management solutions. With Thomson Legal and Regulatory offering similar services overseas, he expects the buyer to be in a good position to make significant profits from owning the service. In light of his exit and a renewed financial outlook, Greaves now expects Solution 6 to make some small acquisitions rather than any further divestments in the short term.
"We have managed to clean up the balance sheet and put better people in place," said Greaves. "Next we have to get back to basics and grow this business."
Photograph: Solution 6's John Greaves