DWF enters Germany through boutique merger

DWF is set to acquire German commercial boutique BridgehouseLaw in a move that sees the firm move into its third jurisdiction outside of the UK and Ireland.

The merger will increase DWF’s turnover by £3m and bring total revenue at the firm to £194m. The acquisition will go live on 1 January 2016 and see four of BridgehouseLaw’s partners enter into DWF’s equity partnership.

DWF’s managing partner Andrew Leaitherland said: “BridgehouseLaw is a strong strategic fit with DWF, giving us capability in key geographic regions where we’ve identified growth opportunities with existing clients in our chosen industry sectors particularly tech and energy.

“DWF has a large number of German clients, as well as clients who do business in Germany, the EU and the US, and this strategic acquisition provides a platform to access many of the sectors and markets which are important to our clients’ business objectives and which support DWF’s own strategic plans.”

BridgehouseLaw’s partner Michael Falter will lead the office and act as managing partner of DWF Germany. He will be joined by fellow partners Oliver Bolthausen, Klaus Brisch and Mathias Reif.

BridgehouseLaw operates from Cologne and Munich in Germany but also works through an international network, which has a particular focus on the Middle East and the US. The firm specialises in advising US and Israel-based companies wishing to expand into the German market as well as German companies that are wishing to expand abroad.

The German firm focuses on the energy, real estate retail, food and hospitality and technology industry sectors. Its clients include Carbo, Deutsche Telekom, Media Broadcast, MEP and Univa.

The acquisition is the latest move by DWF to increase its presence overseas. In March the firm opened its first office outside of the UK and Ireland when it opened its doors in Dubai. It was originally opened with four lawyers and is led by non-marine insurance partner Chris Ryan.

At the start of the month DWF also opened its second overseas office when it launched in Brussels. Head of EU and competition Jonathan Branton will run the office, which will specialise in central and local government food and retail, transport and energy and industrial sectors.