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DWF unveils plan to acquire Cobbetts out of administration

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DWF has unveiled plans to acquire national law firm Cobbetts, which earlier this week sought an interim statutory moratorium to enable the sale of its business and assets.

In a statement DWF said: “Like many businesses, Cobbetts had built an infrastructure reflecting the buoyant economy of the mid 2000’s and had put in place plans to reduce costs.

“However, poorer than expected trading in November and December last year caused the firm to review its financial position and subsequently obtain an interim statutory moratorium to enable a sale of the business and its assets.”

DWF has 1,800 staff across 11 offices, while Cobbetts has around 500 staff across four offices.

If the deal is approved, the process of transferring staff will begin in the next week.

Cobbetts has places on a number of framework agreements run by local authorities and other public bodies.

They include panels set up by the Humber Consortium (North Lincolnshire Borough Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and Hull City Council), the East Midlands Housing Group, and Cornwall Council.

Andrew Leaitherland, managing partner and chief executive of DWF, said: “I am confident that the merging of the two firms would bring genuine benefits to both and, importantly, the joint client base. There are many synergies between the two firms in terms of the sectors in which we operate and this collaboration will further strengthen our existing business. I am very much looking forward to welcoming the new team to DWF.”

Leaitherland added: “The legal industry as a whole has faced significant challenges. We will do all we can to make the integration as smooth as possible, however, as you’d expect in a move of this size, there are some areas of overlap and we may have to displace people or find them alternative roles. We will work hard to support all those involved.”