Cobbetts and DWF abandon merger talks in uncertain market By Joanne Harris 31 January 2012 11:40 17 December 2015 13:47 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 12:21 That statement doesn’t make sense. The first paragraph says “The preliminary discussions….have now come to a conclusion”. The second says “…but until any discussions are brought to a conclusion, we will not be in a position to talk about them publicly.” Have talks concluded or not? Or are they just buying time until they get the support they need? Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 12:31 The explanation of “uncertain market conditions” is almost as unconvincing as blaming an “overzealous” techie for buying the domain name in November. Whilst I have no ideal whether the merger was a good idea, taking so long to execute (compare with McGrigors/Pinsent Mason) was always asking for trouble. Cobbetts will have to pick-up the pieces as their talent is now in play. DWF’s dash for growth (being Top 30 is not a tribute to Jimmy Saville) I think is driven by Andrew Leaitherland’s appetite to float/be bought-out. Yesterday’s RJW announcement shows the money is gravitating to commodity legal services which can be provided by a pliable workforce and not by high-maintenance middle-aged partners. DWF’s insurance practice has plenty of the former whilst Cobbetts has a surplus of the latter. Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 12:43 Word on the street is that DWF have massive holes in their finances which meant the merger could not move forward. Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 12:46 Who’s Shaw calling out by LBW? Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 13:28 Conclusive proof – if it were needed – that turkeys do not vote for Christmas. Whilst I suspect there are some at dwf shaking their heads ruefully at an opportunity missed, there will be as many looking at news of Cobbetts’ £10M worth of bank debt and heaving a sigh of relief. Few at Cobbetts will be saddened by this news. – I think dwf and all they stand for is complete anethema for many at Cobbetts. Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 13:40 I have worked at Cobbetts. Cobbetts are a very worthy outfit with some very committed staff. They will move on and do ok. Reply Link Mancs Cat 31 January 2012 at 13:43 You can just imagine the guy in the photo asking: ‘Are you a blue or a red’? Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 13:50 @12:43 – yes I’d heard that too. Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 14:11 DWF’s appetite for growth is a bit over done, almost “alla halliwellls”, just because you can put together a mass of people to make £132m a year doesnt imply the firm is going to be improving profit margins or giving better advice. Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 15:31 Think it is also worth pointing out that DWF approached Cobbetts. Think there has been a lot of spin by DWF that the reverse is true. Suppose if you say something enough times you believe it will happen. Reply Link Anonymous 31 January 2012 at 17:02 Well, on 4 November 2011 it was an over zealous IT chap. Then, by 18 January 2012, they were officially talking. Now, late January 2012, it’s all off. How much are we supposed to believe market conditions have become uncertain since 18 January (or even 4 November assuming the guy in IT was leading the talks)? Their public pronouncements really are an insult to everybody’s intelligence. Little wonder so many of the the staff seem miffed if this is typical of the quality and honesty of communication from management. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 08:59 Who has the most to lose from this PR debacle? Cobbetts – B’ham. No duplication of office and more support under the DWF brand to recruit higher earning Partners. It will be an interesting time to see what happens next…. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 10:02 I don`t buy it that the Cobbetts Birmingham office will lose from this. All in all it is a well-performing office with distinct successes, especially in litigation and corporate. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 10:42 Well here’s a surprise. Cobbetts dire financial performances have been all over the legal press for ages. DWF now rumoured to have massive holes in their finances as it scrambles around to buy itself bigger. A well thought out match made in heaven – no? Perhaps they could both do with remembering that “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity…”. DWF seems to be randomly grappling for them and Cobbetts would probably be happy with either. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 10:55 Well my hunch that Dickinson Dees will end up merging with Cobbetts, still might come true. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 13:43 Cobbetts are in a much better financial position than Dickinson Dees, so I doubt a merger would happen. Especially as Cobbetts probably know which Dickinson Dees partners have already agreed to join DWF in Newcastle and Leeds. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 14:04 Dicky Dees, no. Bet it’s the sticker album people though they are rumored to be in a worse shape than us. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 18:02 I think DWF and Cobbetts have made a good point. I’m sure that there will be a certain market soon. Then they can start chatting again. They must rue the day that the errant IT chap purchased the domain name. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 20:27 Rumours about a hole in DWF’s finances are wide of the mark. Borrowings down, PEP up, Newcastle office off to a flying start. There’s one reason why this merger didnt happen and that’s because they didnt fancy swallowing Cobbetts’ debt. Reply Link Anonymous 1 February 2012 at 22:54 A lot of us in competition are worried about DWF’s incessantly strengthening position, but DWF having holes in finances?- You’re having a laugh. Just look at their figures, and their chief finance officer (who I understand is the ex chief at CMS Cameron McKenna and Baker and McKenzie) is highly respected. Come up with theories by all means, but let’s at least make them plausible. Reply Link Anonymous 2 February 2012 at 13:19 Both Cobbetts and DWF are good firms. They have very distinct cultures. That is no bad thing. However does this mean the negotiations are at an end? Does it mean that each is still looking at other merger options? Reply Link Rob 3 February 2012 at 12:04 It seems more like a case of DWF, drunk on recent expansion success, were teased by a couple of Cobbetts’ assets. However, having had a touch and a feel and stripped off a few layers I think what lies underneath isn’t quite what they were looking for. Bacon sandwich anyone? Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.