You are here

DWF completes Cobbetts acquisition

Deal excludes finance litigation and debt recovery teams 

7 February 2013

Add comment

By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Top-100 UK law firm DWF has confirmed that the deal to acquire distressed top-100 firm Cobbetts is now complete.

The deal follows the appointment yesterday of KPMG as administrator for Cobbetts, which last week gave notice of its intention to sell its business and assets. A day later, DWF announced plans to acquire Cobbetts, exactly a year after its merger talks with the firm were called off.

In a statement, DWF said the Cobbetts acquisition excludes Andrew Bennett and his finance litigation team due to “potential commercial conflicts following DWF’s recent merger with Fishburns”. The team will instead join Leeds-based firm Walker Morris.

Ian Gilbert, managing partner at Walker Morris, said "the opportunity to bring two leading banking litigation teams together was too good an opportunity to miss".

Also excluded from the deal is Cobbetts’ debt recovery team, Incasso. DWF said that it is “supporting those involved, including assisting in the day-to-day management of client affairs for the immediate future, whilst the long term direction of the business can be determined”.

“Both firms agreed that this was the best route forward and so the process was a smooth one, with the two parties working towards the same outcome,” said DWF’s managing partner and CEO, Andrew Leaitherland.

“This is the latest milestone in what is already proving to be a positive year for DWF and one that continues along our clearly defined plan of strategic growth.

“It’s crucial that, when exploring deals such as these, we are certain that the move is the right one, and we’re extremely confident that this is the case.”

As part of the deal, DWF said that it will honour all training contracts already in place, as well as those contracts entered into with trainees who are yet to start.

The Cobbetts team comprises 491 people, of which 72 are partners. Based across offices in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London, they will migrate to DWF’s existing office space within the next few weeks to support the integration with their respective counterparts.

Mark Firmin, Brian Green and Howard Smith of KPMG’s restructuring practice are the joint administrators for Cobbetts.

Deloitte’s Manchester office provided tax, accounting, insolvency and strategic advice to DWF on the transaction. The team was led by restructuring services partner Bill Dawson and assistant director Rick Harrison.

Categorised in:

Business development & Strategy