Legal Business Blogs

‘The clear leader’: Burford Capital merges with US rival Gerchen Keller to create funding powerhouse

Litigation funding company Burford Capital is set to acquire Chicago-based investment manager Gerchen Keller Capital for $160m to create a firm with $1.2bn in assets in ongoing cases.

The merger will create a company with 80 staff combining UK-based Burford with the US outfit. Gerchen Keller will add $15.4m to Burford’s top line and give the company a 20-person team in Chicago.

The pair are the two largest litigation finance funders globally and their combination creates a giant in the industry. The move also allows the firm to diversify its portfolio, adding Gerchen Keller’s portfolio in management of private capital as well as investment income.

Burford chief executive Christopher Bogart said: ‘Burford and Gerchen Keller are widely regarded as the world’s two leading litigation finance providers. We know each other well and we approach the legal market in similar ways. The opportunity to combine the largest public player and the largest private capital manager is unique and will create the clear leader in this rapidly growing and evolving industry.’

Burford recently appointed former Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson head of competition and antitrust Craig Arnott as its new managing director, following the resignation of Nick Rowles-Davies.

The litigation funder has also moved to expand its portfolio in Europe, having invested €30m in US competition law boutique Hausfeld so it can open in Germany. Burford’s investment was the largest-known facility established to fund litigation in Germany, where Hausfeld claimed there is significant demand, particularly in anti-trust litigation. The office opened in January this year.

In October Burford also launched its own Alternative Business Structure in the form of Burford Law with the hire of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld partner Tom Evans.

For more on third party funding see the feature: ‘The bigger short – third party funding bets on new markets and models’