Irwin Mitchell acquires former Halliwells recoveries business

Irwin Mitchell has acquired the former recoveries arm of defunct Manchester-based Halliwells, HL Interactive, in a deal that completed on Friday (28 February).

The acquisition was made by Irwin Mitchell subsidiary Ascent, which began a TUPE transfer of all 62 HL Interactive staff into the business today (Monday 3 March).

HL Interactive and Ascent staff will remain in their current premises for the time being but consolidation into one location is expected once property and lease reviews have been completed.

HL Interactive was subject to a management buy out in April 2009, the year before Halliwells went into administration (28 June 2010). Under the arrangement, a team led by HL Interactive chief executive Matt Wightman bought out the business with funding from the Co-operative Bank. Halliwells retained a 10 per cent interest for three-years from the date of that deal (6 May 2009).

Wightman, who will join the Ascent senior management team led by chairman Mark Higgins, said: “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.”

Irwin Mitchell group chief executive John Pickering added: “This deal is also further demonstration of the important place that Ascent has in our group structure and plans, and also of our continued focus on Manchester and the north west, including in its business legal services market.”

It is the fifth deal completed by Irwin Mitchell since it became an ABS in 2012 (20 August 2012). The firm’s other acquisitions are PDP Management Services in October 2012 (12 October 2012), Elliot Davies and Fraser Gowrie Johnston last Spring and personal injury firm MPH Solicitors in November (14 November 2013).

The firm broke through the £200m turnover mark for the first time at the end of 2012/13, with total revenue climbing 5.3 per cent rise from £190.1m to £200.2m at the end of the most recent financial year (29 July 2013).