Law firm DWF makes its foray into Canada with £28m acquisition

Law firm DWF Group expands into Canada with £28m acquisition of independent rival Whitelaw Twining

  • DWF said acquisition of Vancouver-based firm was a ‘a strong strategic fit’ 
  • Deal expected to boost Whitelaw Twining’s profit by £600m a year from 2024
  • DWF, the only law firm to be listed on LSE, saw shares fall in early trade 

Law services group DWF has expanded its presence in Canada by agreeing to buy independent firm Whitelaw Twining in a deal worth up to £27.7million.

The company, which is the only law firm to be listed on the main market of the Stock Exchange, said the acquisition would bring ‘a strong strategic fit, greater scale and an enhanced platform in North America’.

The deal with Whitelaw Twining, which provides legal services, offered ‘clear synergy opportunities’ with DWF’s existing claims and adjusting businesses in the country, the company told investors on Monday.

‘Strong strategic fit’: DWF said there were clear synergies between the two firms

DWF, which counts the NHS and Allianz among its clients, said both firms have ‘global insurer clients’ and the deal allows it to develop new opportunities and ‘capture referral work’. 

It ‘prudently’ estimates that the transaction will allow it to boost Whitelaw Twining’s profit by around £600million a year from 2024, thanks to synergies between the businesses.

DWF chief excecutive, Sir Nigel Knowles, said: ‘Whitelaw Twining is one of the country’s top legal businesses and represents a high quality opportunity for our clients. 

‘It also allows us to expand our claims and adjusting presence in Canada and wider Connected Services and Mindcrest capabilities in North America.

‘We have worked hard to ensure DWF is in a strong position so we can confidently make these key international acquisitions, enabling us to make further progress against our strategy to be the preeminent global provider of integrated legal and business services.’

DWF shares fell 2.4 per cent to 67.53p in early trade on Monday as investors digested the news. They have lost around 38 per cent of their value over the last year.

DWF already operates in around 30 counties around the world, employing around 4,000 people.

It provides legal advice to firm in areas such as hiring and firing, mergers and acquisitions, business restructurings, and regulation. But it also has two related divisions – Mindcrest and Connected Services.

Mindcrest has created software to do certain types of legal work faster and more cheaply than lawyers, while Connected Services helps clients in risk assessment, auditing, claims management, training and forensic accounting.

Whitelaw Twining is a full-service litigation law firm, founded in Vancouver with over 150 fee earners in its Vancouver and Calgary offices. 

It operates in the fields of insurance, commercial litigation, construction, plaintiff’s personal injury and alternative dispute resolution services.