Rapidly expanding national firm DWF is aiming to acquire more practices across the UK, managing partner Andrew Leaitherland has told the Gazette.
Revenues at the firm rose by 84% to £188m in 2013, following a string of acquisitions, including collapsed national firm Cobbetts.
Leaitherland (pictured) said that while merging with a similarly sized firm would be ‘culturally too much of a challenge’, there are opportunities ‘in the sub-£50m space or even with sub-£10m niche practices’.
‘We may be looking for something in Dublin in terms of commercial services, or an insurance practice in Scotland. And there are certain niche areas in London and Birmingham. But it’s less about the location and more about the opportunity.’
Leaitherland said he expects turnover and profits for 2013/14 to be modest, as the firm has concentrated on ‘consolidating’ its spate of acquisitions.
Last year’s Cobbetts deal brought in nearly 500 people, including 72 partners. About 40 support staff were made redundant.
In 2012/13 DWF also acquired Scottish firm Biggart Baillie and professional indemnity firm Fishburns.
‘Our focus has been on consolidation and investment. So while we’ll have grown revenue, this won’t be a massive growth year like the last few years. Likewise we will not show massive growth in profits, as we have been investing in our people and in IT systems,’ Leaitherland said.
‘Deloitte is predicting 5% growth in the market, so it will be interesting to see how we compare.’