15 Oct 2021

UK top 100 firm in merger talks with City player

Royds Withy King and Goodman Derrick merger plan to create firm with revenue in excess of £50m

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UK top 100 firm Royds Withy King has confirmed it is in advanced merger talks with commercial law firm Goodman Derrick, in a move that would create a firm with a combined annual turnover of more than £50m.

The firms plan to merge with effect from next May under the name RWK Goodman and said that discussions ‘are progressing positively and a further announcement will be made when a formal agreement to merge is reached'.

Royds Withy King is headquartered in Bath and has eight offices along the M4 corridor from Bristol to London. The firm has a staff headcount of around 480, including 65 partners, and advises clients ranging from individuals to multinational FTSE companies in areas including corporate, commercial, private client and family.

The firm increased turnover by 2.1% to £38.5m for the year ended 30 April 2020, according to its most recent accounts, while profit before tax dropped marginally to £8.6m.

Goodman Derrick is a commercial law firm based in the City of London, with 20 partners leading a team of 90. The firm’s core practice areas include corporate and corporate transactions, employment law, real estate, construction, dispute resolution and wealth and family.

Its accounts for the year ending 30 April 2020 show that turnover fell to £13.7m from the previous year’s figure of £15.2m, while operating profit was down 35% to £3.7m.

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Recent deals involving top 200 UK firms

Rank* Firm Acquirer Date Announced
134 Taylor Vinters Mishcon de Reya Sept 21
120 Memery Crystal RBG Holdings April 21
149 Kemp Little Deloitte Nov 20
Source: The Lawyer UK 200

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The combined firm’s turnover of just north of £50m would put it into the top 70 UK law firms by revenue.

The deal is the latest in a run of transactions involving top 200 UK boutiques – last November London technology specialist Kemp Little was snapped up by Deloitte and in April corporate boutique Memery Crystal was acquired by RBG Holdings, the parent company for City law firm Rosenblatt, for £30m. 

Last month, Mishcon de Reya forged a ‘strategic combination’ with tech-focused Cambridge firm Taylor Vinters in a bid to extend its reach into ‘the innovation economy’.

Other recent UK law firm mergers include Clyde & Co announcing earlier this month it was absorbing aviation-focused City boutique REN Legal to boost its transactional and commercial litigation offering in its global aviation practice. And in August London-based private equity firm Blixt Group snapped up regional UK firm Fisher Jones Greenwood, as the investment house seeks to build a leading national law firm.

In February, top 200 US firm Armstrong Teasdale expanded into the UK with the acquisition of London-based Kerman & Co, its first office outside of its home country.

 

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