Legal Business Blogs

Withers targets global tech industry with acquisition of UK boutique JAG

Withers has bought out six-partner UK tech law boutique JAG Shaw Baker in the latest chapter of its global expansion.

JAG’s 26-lawyer team has today (1 August) joined Withers’ London and Cambridge operations as the private wealth specialist targets investors and entrepreneurs in the life sciences and digital world.

As part of the deal, a new division called ‘Withers Tech’ has launched, bringing together lawyers from its tax, employment and litigation practices to boost the firm’s connections with the tech industry.

Merger discussions started about six months ago with a view to completing by the end of Withers’ financial year on 30 June. ‘It’s only one month after that, it’s all been planned quite nicely,’ Withers’ business division chief executive Jeremy Wakeham told Legal Business.

‘In the months we have been in discussion with the firm we have seen a lot of crossover between us in terms of the opportunities to work together.’

JAG co-founder James Shaw commented: ‘Since we opened our practice in 2013, it has always been our vision to grow our business through global expansion. Over the past five years, we have successfully created a business model that works for the European tech and life sciences ecosystem. The fast growth tech and life sciences markets are a growth area for Withers, so together with our industry expertise and their international reach, we can deliver that global model overnight to all of our clients.’

The acquisition brings Withers’ UK lawyer headcount to nearly 300, but Wakeham said it would impact the firm’s operations across its 17 offices worldwide.

‘It has given us more of an ability to recruit in other tech markets internationally, particularly California and Singapore. It will really give an ability to promote Withers’ connection with tech in those locations.’

He added: ‘This will help support revenue growth in the coming years.’

Withers’ revenue growth slowed this year for a 1% hike to £176.6m after years of pacey increases on the back of international expansion.

The 17-office firm recently re-appointed longstanding chief Margaret Robertson for a fourth term to 2021 after an uncontested election.