International firm DWF has confirmed that it will become the latest member of the growing cohort of legal services businesses to float on the London Stock Exchange. It is understood to be hoping to raise between £400m and £600m from an initial public offering (IPO), by far the sector's most ambitious share placing.
DWF will be the first law firm listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange rather than the AIM secondary market.
In an update posted today, DWF Group Limited announced its potential intention to undertake an IPO. It said that a registration document has been submitted for approval to the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
DWF revealed in June last year that it was considering a public offering as 'one of a number of strategic offerings'. Gordon Dadds Group is currently the largest listed law firm.
Manchester-based DWF has announced a series of international ventures over the past 18 months including an ‘exclusive association’ with Los Angeles-headquartered firm Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman (WSHB). In the year ending 30 April 2018, DWF opened offices in Singapore, Italy and Qatar, as well as adding new offices in Australia and forming a ‘strategic alliance’ in Turkey.
DWF would be comfortably the biggest law firm so far to have chosen to list on the stock exchange, and its decision could spark other top 50 firms to advance their plans for a similar move. Firms were allowed to go public as a result of the Legal Services Act 2007, although take-up was slow initially until a handful listed in the last year.