National firm Irwin Mitchell has announced the acquisition of Manchester firm HL Interactive as it continues its expansion.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, comes through Irwin Mitchell’s debt legal services arm Ascent and involves the transfer of 62 staff members.

HL Interactive was formed in 2004 as a subsidiary of now-defunct Manchester firm Halliwells, which went into administration in 2010.

The subsidiary was the subject of a management buy-out in 2009 led by former Halliwells partner Matt Wightman, who will now join the Ascent senior management team.

It specialises in legal issues relating to credit services, repossessions and debt recovery, with clients including blue chip companies and large estate landlords.

Wightman added: ‘Ascent represents the perfect partner to help build on our previous achievements and to ensure that, as a group, we become the leading provider of debt recovery services in the UK.’

Ascent has acquired three firms – PDP Management Services, Elliot Davies and Fraser Gowrie Johnston – since the Irwin Mitchell group became the first multiple-licensed alternative business structure in 2012. Irwin Mitchell also bought the personal injury firm MPH Solicitors last year.

John Pickering, group chief executive for Irwin Mitchell, added: ‘This deal once again highlights our determination to take advantage of opportunities which arise which we deem to be right for our business. This is an important addition to our debt legal services business which will further strengthen our position in this important market for us.

‘It builds on other investment we have made, including very significant recruitment in both our business legal services division and in our personal legal services teams. In a legal market that continues to be challenging, we are in a very strong position and intend to build on that.’