Takeover of DWF, Manchester law giant, to close in 2023

Manchester-headquartered international law firm DWF Group plc, which has agreed to be acquired by Inflexion Private Equity Partners LLP for about £342 million, has reported revenue growth of 8.6% to £452 million for the year to April 30, 2023.

DWF said net revenue grew of 8.5% to £380 million, adjusted profit before tax rose 4.7% to £43.3 million and reported profit before tax fell 23% to £17.2 million.

Net debt was £101.7 million, £29.9 million higher than FY22 “due to initial consideration payments of £10m for the acquisition of Acumension and Whitelaw Twining in the year, combined with the impact of the 17 day lock-up stretch versus the prior year.”

DWF said the acquisition by Inflexion is expected to complete during the final quarter of this calendar year.

DWF CEO Nigel Knowles said: “We have once again grown the business profitably in what continues to be a very challenging economic environment. 

“Like other legal businesses, we have seen salary and inflationary pressures, the impact of interest rate increases and variable demand particularly in transactional areas. 

“Despite these challenges, we have seen our organic growth strategy and integrated propositions continue to resonate with clients, and have also added quality businesses to the group via our acquisitions of Acumension and Whitelaw Twining.”

Paul Rimmer, DWF’s CEO of Commercial Services, said: “The senior partners and leaders and I wanted to take this opportunity, on behalf of ourselves and the broader DWF partners and employees, to say thank you to our institutional shareholders for their support since DWF’s IPO.

“The business has made substantial progress over the last 4.5 years in an evolving market and we are now excited about delivering the next stage of our strategy under private ownership.

“The quantum of irrevocable undertakings obtained from the senior partners and leaders demonstrates our collective strong belief in the rationale for the proposed acquisition, especially access to additional capital, more flexibility on investment spend and the ability to maintain additional leverage capacity in the business as we invest to counter macro headwinds.

“This is an essential opportunity to ensure DWF has a firm footing for growth over the medium term and we all look forward to supporting our clients under Inflexion’s ownership.”