Preston firm completes MBO after entering administration

North West firm Marsden Rawsthorn has been acquired by its partners in a management buyout (MBO) after going into administration.

The Preston and Chorley outfit has been bought by Marsden Rawsthorn Solicitors Limited, a new company (newco) led and owned by the former firm’s partners.

Paul Flint and Brian Green of KPMG were appointed as the original firm’s administrators last Wednesday (20 February), with the administrators selling the business and its assets to the newco on their appointment.

The new firm will be branded as Marsden Rawsthorn Solicitors and will remain as a limited company, in contrast to the legacy firm’s status as an LLP.

The Lancashire firm said the deal secured all 80 jobs at the firm, whose practice covers business and commerce, property, dispute resolution, family law, wills and estates.

Marsden Rawsthorn turned over just under £4.3m in both 2009/10 and 2010/11, with its average member’s remuneration rising from £63,795 in 2009/10 to £109,015 in 2010/11, according to the firm’s most recent LLP accounts.

The highest-paid partner’s remuneration increased from £73,416 in 2009/10 to £112,466 in 2010/11, according to the accounts.

Debbie Pettitt, CEO of Marsden Rawsthorn and now the newco, said in a statement: “The restructure provides excellent opportunity for growth and is in line with our strategic development plans. Operations are unaffected and we continue to provide our clients with the same outstanding service as before.”

Pettitt was appointed as the firm’s first non-solicitor CEO last year after joining the firm as its marketing manager in 2008.

Last month the firm linked up with financial advisers Torquil Clark to launch Marsden Rawsthorn Wealth Management, claiming to be the first solicitors’ firm in the region to offer such a service.

The news comes after another North West firm, Forster Dean, was sold in 2007 in a deal thought to be the first pure MBO of a UK law firm (26 March 2007).

In 2009 Hextalls effectively underwent an MBO when it was bought out of administration by a newco, Hextalls Ltd, owned by a group of partners (16 April 2009).

The deal follows confirmation of the pre-pack sale of Manchester-based Cobbetts to DWF following the former’s administration (6 February 2013).