400 jobs saved as Cobbetts deal goes through
Topics: Law firm & practice management
All training contracts will be honoured and more than 400 jobs saved at defunct firm Cobbetts, administrators today confirmed.
National firm DWF said it has completed the deal to acquire Cobbetts following the appointment of KPMG as administrators yesterday.
Cobbetts filed notice last week that it intended to appoint administrators following poorer than expected trading in November and December, which forced the firm to place the business and its assets up for sale.
DWF, which had been in talks with Cobbetts about a merger until January 2012, stepped in last week with a takeover bid.
Mark Firmin, UK regions head of structuring at KPMG, said a deal had been brokered which will save more than 400 jobs.
The Cobbetts team has a total of 491 people, of whom 72 are partners, based across offices in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London.They will move into DWF offices within the next few weeks.
As part of the deal, DWF said it will honour all training contracts, which includes those already in place, as well as contracts with trainees who are yet to start.
The move will exclude partner Andrew Bennett and his finance litigation team, due to potential conflicts following DWF’s recent merger with London firm Fishburns. That team will join Leeds-based firm Walker Morris.
DWF will not acquire Cobbetts’ debt recovery business Incasso, which employs some 50 people. The future of that business is still undetermined.
‘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 managing partner and chief executive of DWF, Andrew Leaitherland (pictured).
Deloitte’s Manchester office provided tax, accounting, insolvency and strategic advice to DWF on the transaction.
Restructuring services partner Bill Dawson, who led the team, said: ‘This has been a difficult time for Cobbetts, a highly regarded national law firm with a proud history.
‘However, we are pleased to have helped achieve a transaction which gives partners, employees and other stakeholders the best outcome in the circumstances and should help to ensure minimal disruption of service to clients of Cobbetts.
‘We think the quality of partners and people joining DWF will support the firm's growth strategy and help it continue to go from strength to strength.’