Legal Business Blogs

The £250m ‘expertise merger’: Irwin Mitchell agrees takeover of south east stalwart Thomas Eggar

After six months of talks national firm Irwin Mitchell and LB100 firm Thomas Eggar have voted to approve their union, creating an £250m firm with plans to establish a leading private wealth business.

Announced today (26 November) the addition of Thomas Eggar to Irwin Mitchell’s 700-lawyer, £210m practice would be a more than credible addition to its business in the area outside the M25. 175-lawyer Thomas Eggar has six offices in Chichester, Gatwick, London, Newbury, Southampton and Worthing.

While Thomas Eggar’s revenues for 2014/15 were flat at £41m, the firm has seen an 18% increase in turnover over the last five years. It is regarded as having a heavyweight private client practice and is cited as top tier in The Legal 500 for planning and sports law.

Irwin Mitchell has carved a name for itself in the private client space also having acquired Mayfair boutique Berkeley Law in November 2014. 

Contracts have been signed and the merger is expected to formally complete in December. All 450 Thomas Eggar employees, including 67 partners, transfer to Irwin Mitchell after a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) process beginning today.

Thomas Eggar will adopt the national firm’s brand in the first half of 2016 while  managing partner Vicky Brackett will join Irwin Mitchell’s executive board.

Speaking to Legal Business earlier this year, Brackett said Thomas Eggar would seek out a merger to improve its strategic positioning, with reasons cited including gaining geographic advantage and deepening particular service lines to create an ‘expertise merger’.

Today, Brackett said: ‘We did engage in talks with other firms. Then, we were approached by Irwin Mitchell. The need to consolidate arises from client demand and provides a much better service.’

She added that there will be no requirement for partners to serve particular notice periods as a result of the merger, and that the firms’ remuneration structures were broadly the same. As such she said management would not be looking to review the model in the foreseeable future.

Thomas Eggar, according to the latest Legal Business 100 report, has 22 equity partners with a PEP of £259,000. They will all become full share partners at Irwin Mitchell. 

Irwin Mitchell group chief executive Andrew Tucker added: ‘This deal will significantly add to the value and diversification of our business and act as a catalyst for further growth. It will add significant additional scale to our Business Legal Services division which, if it were a standalone business, would now be a top-50 legal firm in its own right.’