City firm Field Fisher Waterhouse is merging with Manchester-based Heatons in a move that will expand the top-50 firm's regional office.

Heatons is a boutique firm specialising in commercial law. In 2013 it reported profits of £2.6m, up 69% from the previous year, on turnover up 55% to £3.42m.

Matthew Fleetwood, managing partner of Heatons, will become managing partner of the joint Manchester operation working with Field Fisher Waterhouse’s Manchester head Sarah Ellson. He will oversee the growth of the merged firm in the north-west region.

Michael Chissick, managing partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, said the firm was not seeking to expand through further acquisition and will focus on growing its presence in Manchester through the Heatons merger.

The acquisition is FFW's first in the UK when since it merged with media firm Allison & Humphreys in 1998.

‘This is not a bolt-on turnover move,’ he said.  A number of closures in the region will provide the firm with plenty of recruitment opportunities, he added. 'There will be the opportunity to pick up people from other firms who want to get involved in a new and exciting venture.’

The decision was passed following a partnership vote at Field Fisher Waterhouse last week. Field Fisher Waterhouse opened its office in Manchester in 2004.