Law firm DWF has acquired solicitor company Cobbetts as part of a pre-pack deal following the appointment of KPMG as administrators.
The deal completed yesterday (6 February) after the business filed notice that it intended to appoint administrators last week.
Debt recovery specialist Incasso, which is 100% owned by Cobbetts, will not form part of the deal.
DWF said that it will continue to support those involved at Incasso, “whilst the long term direction of the business can be determined”.
Cobbetts, which has 491 employees based in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London, will migrate to existing DWF office space within the next few weeks.
The DWF acquisition excludes Andrew Bennett and his finance litigation team at Cobbetts, citing the potential commercial conflicts following DWF’s recent merger with Fishburns.
It has been agreed that this team will join Leeds-based law firm Walker Morris.
Mark Firmin, Brian Green and Howard Smith of KPMG’s restructuring practice have been appointed joint administrators to Cobbetts.
Firmin said: “In the current economic climate we are delighted to have brokered a deal that saves more than 400 jobs.
“We have moved swiftly, working in collaboration with a number of stakeholders, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority, to conclude this deal between Cobbetts and DWF. This is a strong result and an important step forward for DWF in the market.”
As part of the acquisition, DWF has confirmed that it will honour all training contracts, which includes those already in place, as well as contracts entered into with trainees who are yet to start.
Andrew Leaitherland, managing partner and chief executive of DWF, added: “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.”
By Ellie Duncan