Wilbraham & Co tempt Cobbetts into merger

Cobbetts has announced its third merger in just eight months, following an approach from Leeds-based planning boutique Wilbraham & Co.

The merger, which will take effect on 1 September, follows Cobbett’s mergers with Birmingham’s Lee Crowder in May, and with Fox Brooks Marshall in Manchester last November.

Wilbraham & Co’s five partners will all enter Cobbetts’ equity partnership, bolstering the planning and environmental team. Peter Wilbraham will lead the combined department, which will continue to operate under the Wilbraham name.

Since its foundation 10 years ago, Wilbraham & Co has built up a list of clients that includes Land Securities plc and Severn Trent Properties. It is expected that all the firm’s clients will move to Cobbetts.

Peter Wilbraham described the merger as the next phase of his firm’s development, adding that the niche practice approached Cobbetts as a potential partner.

“We decided that a merger with a like-minded firm was the best option,” Wilbraham told The Lawyer, adding that he and his partners felt “very very comfortable” with Cobbetts.

Michael Shaw, Cobbetts’ managing partner, said: “The two are complementary to each other. There’s a synergy to be realised.”

Cobbetts saw turnover last year rise 17 per cent to £30.4m, with average profit per partner stable at £200,000. It is anticipated that Wilbrahams will generate £1.2m in revenue for the merged partnership.