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Wotton + Kearney sells minority stake to Straight Bat

International law firm Wotton + Kearney has entered into a partnership with private equity firm Straight Bat, in which the latter will take a 30 per cent stake in the legal practice.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 16 June 2022 Big Law
Wotton + Kearney sells minority stake to Straight Bat
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The partnership, W+K said in a statement, will see Straight Bat assist the firm in delivering on client solutions and growth objectives, as well as bolstering the firm’s position in the insurance market.

Straight Bat’s minority stake in the firm will be 30 per cent, with the 70 per cent balance to remain with partners/shareholders. However, W+K said in conversation with Lawyers Weekly that the private equity firm’s stake would be “dilutive over time”, as the legal practice looks to allocate more shares to new partners.

The sale of the stake was completed yesterday (Wednesday, 15 June 2022), with Straight Bat paying 30 per cent of W+K enterprise value.


Straight Bat was founded in 2019. It is the custodian of capital provided by more than 65 families, has $150 million in funds under management and is in the process of raising a further $75 million to support its investment activities.

Speaking about the new partnership, W+K chief executive partner David Kearney said: “We’ve always been ambitious for our clients and ourselves, as evidenced by our evolution from a two-partner firm to a leader in the insurance legal services market in just 20 years.

“This new partnership allows us to make a significant investment in accelerating the delivery of our strategy, which is squarely focussed on making Wotton + Kearney the best business it can be for our clients and our people.”

Moreover, the firm noted, the partnership is a response to the growing need to increase investment in data-driven solutions and legal tech innovation.

“Our investment in data solutions is critical as many insurers are looking to leverage our broad range of data to assist with risk selection, risk mitigation and appropriate pricing,” Mr Kearney said.

“The partnership with Straight Bat allows W+K to tap into expertise both complementary and different to the legal expertise and insurance industry knowledge possessed by the W+K team. We look forward to working closely with the Straight Bat team, including newly appointed non-executive directors Rob Nicholls and Steve Gledden, to challenge our traditional thinking drawing on their deep knowledge of business more broadly.”

Mr Gledden, the managing partner of Straight Bat, said that he and his team were impressed with W+K’s market reputation and performance, and are excited to contribute to the firm’s evolving growth story, as a fund “that invests for the long-term in mature, robust and profitable Australian businesses”, rather than shorter-term investment periods.

“We see enormous upside in our partnership with Wotton + Kearney given the firm’s standing in a market, which is likely to grow as business risk becomes more varied and complex,” Mr Gledden said.

“In our discussions with Wotton + Kearney we were also impressed by the firm’s clear client and insurance focus. We saw that Wotton + Kearney’s clients enjoy multi-partner relationships and there is clear collaboration between teams, which is different to the siloed client relationship model that is prevalent in many other law firms.”

W+K was founded in 2002 and now boasts over 300 specialist insurance lawyers across its offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide in Australia, and Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.