DWF LLP’s strategic international expansion merger with Germany’s BridgehouseLaw

To further the law firms’ client-led international expansion leading UK legal business DWF LLP has announced that it is to acquire the German international commercial law firm BridgehouseLaw.

The strategic acquisition will help build the law firm’s international capability, particularly in Germany and will strengthen DWF’s capability in its chosen industry sectors, specifically energy, real estate, retail, food & hospitality and tech.

BridgehouseLaw operates from Cologne and Munich in Germany and is supported by a strong international network focused on the Middle East, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US. The firm concentrates on advising foreign, especially US and Israel-based companies expanding into Germany and German companies expanding abroad, especially into the US, and advises them on the full range of commercial issues with particular expertise in corporate/M&A, distribution and franchise law, employment, IT/IP and dispute resolution matters. BridgehouseLaw has a strong focus on the energy, real estate, retail, food & hospitality and tech industry sectors, complementing DWF’s own sector focus, with clients including Carbo, Deutsche Telecom, Media Broadcast, MEP and Univa.

The merger will strengthen DWF’s international offering, giving DWF access into the German market and enhancing DWF’s existing MENA offering, which is led through DWF’s office in Dubai. DWF established its Dubai office in March 2015 following demand from clients across the construction, energy, insurance and transport sectors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to support the construction boom in large infrastructure, housing, tourism, and air and port facilities across the Middle East. DWF has been advising clients in Germany and the USA, as well as Canada, China, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States and India, both on UK and international matters for over 20 years. Earlier this month the firm opened an office in Brussels to provide greater competition and regulatory support to its major UK and international clients.

DWF’s CEO and Managing Partner, Andrew Leaitherland, said:- “BridgehouseLaw is a strong strategic fit with DWF, giving us capability in key geographic regions where we’ve identified growth opportunities with existing clients in our chosen industry sectors particularly tech and energy. DWF has a large number of German clients, as well as clients who do business in Germany, the EU and the US, and this strategic acquisition provides a platform to access many of the sectors and markets which are important to our clients’ business objectives and which support DWF’s own strategic plans.”

BridgehouseLaw’s Michael Falter, said:- “DWF is an ambitious, fast-growing business with a strong track record for its innovation and there’s clear strategic alignment in our vision and culture, in the geographic markets we’re targeting, and in the industry sectors upon which we focus, so, in combining our strengths there’s a real opportunity for us to enhance our international capability for the benefit of our clients.”

The merger will take effect on 1st January 2016 with DWF’s Managing Partner & CEO, Andrew Leaitherland, continuing to lead the overall business and with BridgehouseLaw’s Michael Falter leading operations in Germany as Managing Partner of DWF Germany. The merged firm will have a turnover of £194million and will employ approximately 2360 people across 16 locations. BridgehouseLaw’s four equity partners – Oliver Bolthausen, Klaus Brisch, Michael Falter and Dr Mathias Reif – will become equity partners of DWF LLP.

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