National firm DWF has announced its intention to acquire troubled firm Cobbetts.

In a statement this afternoon, DWF said the process of transferring people across to the firm will start in the next seven days if the deal is approved. There was no confirmation on how many of the 492 Cobbetts staff would be retained.

The announcement comes just a day after Manchester-based Cobbetts confirmed it was looking to sell the business due to difficult trading conditions in the professional services sector.

The two firms dropped merger talks more than a year ago after failing to agree terms.

DWF said Cobbetts had built an infrastructure ‘reflecting the buoyant economy of the mid-2000s’ and had put in plans to reduce costs.

However, poorer than expected trading in November and December caused the firm to review its financial position and seek an immediate sale of the business and assets.

Andrew Leaitherland (pictured), managing partner and chief executive of DWF, said: ‘DWF’s plans to grow, in a strategic, targeted way have been clearly set out and this move supports that goal.

‘I am confident that the merging of the two firms will 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.’

The firm added that the move would ensure ‘business as usual’ for Cobbetts’ clients.

The acquisition continues DWF’s rapid growth of the past year, having announced a merger with London firm Fishburns earlier this month and Scottish firm Biggart Baillie last year.

The firm has 1,800 people based in Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Preston and Teesside.