Listed UK law firm DWF acquires Chicago managed legal services business

Mindcrest bought for $18.5m in cash and shares adding 360 staff to DWF

DWF chief executive Andrew Leaitherland

Listed top 50 UK law firm DWF has announced the acquisition of longstanding Chicago-based managed services business Mindcrest for $18.5m in cash and shares. The deal will see DWF, which listed on the London Stock Exchange last year, use its financial muscle to take on Mindcrest’s 360-strong workforce, the majority of whom are based in Pune, India.

Mindcrest, which opened for business 15 years ago, expects to record revenue of $12.1m for the 2019 financial year with normalised EBITDA of $1.2m.

It provides litigation support, contracts, compliance and legal analytics for international corporate clients as well as some law firms.

The acquisition effectively hands DWF a readymade low-cost legal centre, which it will bolt on to its existing managed legal services capability.

The firm said the deal would deliver revenue opportunities – by allowing it to grow in areas where it does not have capability including document review and legal process outsourcing – as well as around £2.9m in annual recurring cost savings by the 2022 financial year.

The former managing part of a top 50 UK firm said he thought the deal made strategic sense. “I imagine the key drivers for the firm will be accessing its own cost savings and gaining some new corporate clients,” he said.

The deal comes hard on the heels of the firm’s acquisition of Spanish law firm RCD for for €50m in December.

Group chief executive Andrew Leaitherland (pictured) said: "Following the recent RCD acquisition, the Mindcrest deal further highlights our M&A strategy and the attractiveness of our business model, as we continue to deliver on our IPO promises and grow our international offering in targeted locations and disciplines that complement our existing business, while attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Once the acquisition is completed, DWF will have offices in 33 locations with approximately 4,200 employees.

The transaction is expected to complete within six weeks. DWF is paying $2.4m in cash and $6.5m in shares at completion, with $7.6m in deferred cash.

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