DWF acquires BT’s legal ABS as relationship grows
International firm DWF has acquired telecommunications giant BT’s legal arm six years after its creation as an alternative business structure. A notice was posted this week on Companies House that DWF Connected Services Holding Limited holds 75% or more of the shares in BT Law Limited. DWF CEO Andrew Leaitherland and Chris Stefani, chief financial officers, have agreed to be directors.The acquisition comes three months after DWF won a five-year contract to become BT’s ‘strategic legal partner’.BT said: ‘Following on from the appointment of DWF as a strategic legal partner earlier this year, we are continuing to transform and simplify the way we work across BT. The acquisition of BT Law by DWF is an exciting step forward for both businesses, who will continue to deliver outstanding services.’DWF told the Gazette that the acquisition ‘is a natural step to take for both DWF and BT following our strategic partnership. It will ensure continuity of service for all of BT Law’s clients, many of whom are also existing DWF clients’.BT moved into the legal services market in 2013, initially to offer claims-handling services involving BT’s own vehicles. According to statistics published on its website, BT Law handles, annually, around 7,000 motor claims, 6,000 public liability claims with a value of £8m, and 150 employers’ liability claims with a value of over £20m.Full accounts made up to 31 March 2019 state that pre-tax profits were £149,596, up from £118,352 in 2018. Profit tax was £28,423, which left a profit for the financial year of £121,173, up from £95,576 the previous year.The report states that the company meets its day-to-day working capital requirements through its cash reserves and borrowings, but ‘the current economic conditions continue to create uncertainty particularly over the level of demand for the company’s products’.After BT and DWF announced their strategic partnership, BT general counsel Sabine Chalmers said the telecoms company was ‘transforming and simplifying the way we work across BT’. A spokesperson told the Gazette that this involved ‘looking at ways we work internally, how we operate, what tech we use and how we create the right work environment for our people’.