High-profile media lawyer Paul Tweed has said he will stay on as partner after his law firm was acquired by London-listed legal services group Gateley for £2m.
Mr Tweed, who specialises in defamation, media and arbitration, has in the past represented major international celebrities including Britney Spears, Liam Neeson, Nicholas Cage and Jennifer Lopez in libel cases.
His firm has offices in Belfast, Dublin and London.
Gateley said the purchase gives the group a platform for growth across the island of Ireland.
Mr Tweed said he will remain as a partner in Gateley Tweed.
"It will be very much as before but we will have the strength of Gateley behind us," he said.
"They are a full-service law firm and one of the biggest in the UK, so it will give us a lot more back-up. It's a big challenge, but it's great, and we are really looking forward to it."
He said Selena Kerins, also a partner in Tweed Law, will also remain. But Mr Tweed said the firm will expand.
"We will be offering more legal services, and Gateley will bring in the people with the expertise for that.
"They will be recruiting locally, though I will still be doing what I'm doing at the minute."
A spokeswoman for Gateley said it hoped to grow in Northern Ireland and the Republic following the acquisition, but that it had no specific details on how many people the firm intended to hire.
Gateley chief executive Michael Ward said: "We have considered expanding into the Irish market for some time and Tweed strengthens our presence in the Irish professional services market.
"We see this as a springboard for developing a strong legal services offering in Ireland as well as supporting our growth plans for Gateley Capitus."
Gateley Capitus has offices in Belfast and Dublin. It specialises in providing advice to clients on tax incentives available for investment in commercial property and research and development activities. Mr Tweed left Johnsons Solicitors in 2017 to establish his own law firm.
He has had a diverse client list that in 2016 included Ismail Omar Guelleh, the president of Djibouti, in a case taken against Facebook in Dublin.
Gateley said the acquisition of Paul Tweed LLP expands the group's presence in media law, reputation management privacy, commercial litigation and brand protection.
It said it also presents "cross-selling opportunities in Tweed's existing and future client base".
It added: "The acquisition of Tweed is consistent with Gateley's growth strategy to acquire legal and professional services businesses which offer complementary specialist services."
The consideration being paid by Gateley is being settled by means of £1m in cash and £1m in Gateley shares.
The firm has a £208.7m market capitalisation.