Birketts aims for top 100 with tie-up

Ipswich firm Birketts is planning to merge with Chelmsford-based Wollastons to create a firm that would be propelled into the top 100 UK firms by turnover.

No deal has been reached as yet, but according to ­Birketts managing partner Nigel Farthing, “partners from both firms have confirmed their enthusiasm to progress with negotiations”.

If talks go well the firms would aim to complete a merger by 1 September 2010.

Farthing said the deal would be “the final piece of the jigsaw” for Birketts, which has been looking for a way to complete its ­coverage of East Anglia following office launches in Norwich and Cambridge in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

If the deal goes ahead as planned, nine-partner Wollastons will operate under the Birketts brand, with central management decisions being shifted to Birketts’ Ipswich office. Wollastons founding partner Richard Wollaston will step aside as senior partner, but remain at the firm as a consultant.

Birketts posted a turnover of £17.8m in 2009-10, while Wollastons’ revenue is around £6m. For the 2008-09 financial year the firm ranked 100 in The Lawyer’s UK 200, Sacker & Partners, had a turnover of £21m.

Forty one-partner Birketts is known for its property practice, while Wollastons is a corporate boutique that focuses on mid-sized private company M&A.