Lee & Priestley and Lupton Fawcett eye Yorkshire merger

Yorkshire firms Lee & Priestley and Lupton Fawcett are in merger talks, with a tie-up potentially marking the latter’s third major consolidation deal in under four years.

Richard Marshall
Richard Marshall

The two firms have confirmed that they are in discussions over a possible combination, which would create a major regional force with offices in Leeds and Sheffield.

Lupton Fawcett manager director Richard Marshall said: “We have known the Lee & Priestley team for many years now and they have built a tremendous and high-quality law firm serving the vibrant Yorkshire market. Combining our two businesses in Leeds will create a tremendous platform to jointly serve that market.

“Suffice it to say that this is a very positive story for both firms, and whilst there is a risk of one or both firms concluding that a merger is not appropriate we are sufficiently comfortable with the idea to announce our intention.”

Lee & Priestley managing partner James Richardson added in a statement: “The prospect of a merger with Lupton Fawcett presents our niche practice with a very exciting opportunity and would provide a strong platform from which to serve our clients with a wide range of services whilst also helping us to grow and fully exploit the opportunities arising from a rapidly changing legal market. We are also excited at the prospect of working with Lupton Fawcett to develop a wider regional and national offering in our specialist sectors.”

The combined firm’s turnover would be approximately £17m.

Lupton Fawcett, whose turnover rose from £12.2m in 2010-11 to £12.4m in 2011-12, has bases in Leeds and Sheffield and around 100 fee-earners including 32 partners on its books. Its acquisitive trail has seen it take over Leeds firm Fox Hayes’ commercial and private client business in January 2009 (19 December 2008) and Sheffield firm Hackett Windle in August of the same year (3 August 2009).

Lee & Priestley’s only office is in Leeds, with its website listing roughly 10 partners. It focuses on advising small and medium-sized enterprises.

Both firms stressed that the deal was still provisional and that the talks could conclude in no merger taking place.