Cobbetts’ Saudi alliance firm in the dark over deal’s future

Cobbetts’ Saudi Arabian alliance partner has been left in limbo following the Manchester firm’s decision to file notice to appoint administrators on Monday.

Cobbetts formed a strategic alliance with Jeddah-based Dr Nidal Atta Law Firm in September 2012, in a bid to form a reliable local presence in Saudi Arabia (20 September 2012). But yesterday news broke that the Manchester firm was looking for a buyer after filing a notice to appoint administrators (30 January 2013), leaving the relationship partner’s status in doubt.

A source at Nidal Atta Law Firm told The Lawyer that the firm had only been made aware of Cobbetts’ troubles yesterday, but that it was possible Dr Atta had had discussions with the firm before then.

The source added that Nidal Atta Law Firm, which is in the middle of drafting several legal opinions for Cobbetts, as well as undertaking other matters, did not know all the details concerning Cobbetts’ position, and that the firm could not yet comment on whether it would be forced to seek another alliance partner in the UK.

Sources in the Manchester market have said that DWF is looking at taking on Cobbetts in a pre-pack deal (31 January 2013). DWF and Cobbetts discussed a tie-up in 2011/12, but called off discussions citing uncertain market conditions (31 January 2012).