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Addleshaws in bid to merge with Glasgow’s Maclays as run of Anglo-Scots consolidation continues

Addleshaw Goddard is in talks to merge with Scots law firm Maclay Murray & Spens in a deal that would create a national practice with combined revenues of around £230m and offices in eleven locations, including London, Manchester, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Hong Kong.

An Addleshaws partner confirmed the discussions. The proposed merger, which is planned to go live on 1 May 2016, is still subject to a partnership vote.

Legal Business understands that Addleshaws partners had a firm-wide meeting on 12 November, and although the possibility of a merger was discussed, the union with Maclays was not mentioned at this time, according to one partner.

Top 25 UK firm Addleshaws saw a turnaround this financial year, after a period dominated by internal discord, management changes and falling revenues. The 2014/15 year saw the firm post revenue growth of 12%, up from £171m in 2013/14 to £193m – the highest levels since 2007/08. Profits per equity partner (PEP) was up 26% to £491,000.

The Glasgow-based Maclays, which announced revenues of £43.5m for 2014/15, has faced its own challenges in recent years amid a difficult national legal market. Growth was stagnant for this year with revenues at the firm down 17% over the last five years. However, PEP was up 10% annually to £283,000.

Maclays is one of Scotland’s last remaining major independent firms, following Dundas & Wilson’s 2014 merger with CMS and McGrigors 2012 tie-up with Pinsent Masons. The firm had previously entered talks with legacy firm Bond Pearce in 2011.

Both firms refused to comment officially on the discussions but made no attempt to deny talks.