Legal Business Blogs

End of the affair: Addleshaws Scottish takeover called off

Merger talks between Addleshaw Goddard and Maclay Murray & Spens to create a national practice with combined revenues of around £230m have been called off.

Addleshaws’ takeover of the Glasgow-based practice would have been the latest in a run of Scots takeovers, and was planned to go ahead in May this year. The firm has been clear that it wants to make £250m in fee income by the financial year 2017/18, which a takeover would have helped achieve.

A spokesperson for Maclays confirmed it is not presently in any ongoing discussions with any firm, but it remains open to the option of a merger.

‘We are resolutely committed to growing the firm, organically; through lateral hires; strategic acquisitions; or mergers. However, any such move has been and will continue to be assessed on the individual financial and strategic merits.’

The tie-up would have given Addleshaws a presence in eleven locations, including London, Manchester, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Hong Kong.

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.

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 last 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, McGrigors 2012 tie-up with Pinsent Masons and Clyde & Co’s takeover of Simpson Marwick last year. Maclays had previously entered talks with legacy firm Bond Pearce in 2011.

Addleshaws declined to comment on the matter.

For more on management changes and strategic challenges for Addleshaw Goddard, see: Last orders – Addleshaws gets behind its new leader, but can it regain its form?