Legal Business Blogs

Merger watch: Olswang finds a suitor in CMS Cameron McKenna

CMS Cameron McKenna and Olswang could combine to create a £880m firm as it’s understood the LB100 firms have entered into merger talks.

With new managing partner Stephen Millar at the helm, a tie-up will continue CMS’s continuing recent expansion with the firm focusing on its energy, life sciences and financial services sector strengths. The firm is in the second year of its merger with Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson.

The Dundas & Wilson merger has already proved fruitful for CMS, which this year saw a turnover increase of  8.4% to €1.01bn from €934.5.

While Olswang has not posted its 2015/16 results, last year revenue increased by 8% to £126.7m while profit per equity partner was steady at £490,000.

The firm is believed to have had talks with Bird & Bird and Osborne Clarke which have a similar sector focus, while Simmons & Simmons and Cooley have also been mooted as firms that have been on the radar.

Olswang has also historically has strong ties with both Cooley and Greenberg Traurig (GT). Olswang has worked closely with Cooley, but the US firm has recently strengthened its European offering by opening its London office last year diluting the close relationship. In a similar vein, Olswang held a formal alliance with GT for four years before the US firm opened its London office headed by former Mayer Brown partner Paul Maher in 2009 when ties weakened.

In his election manifesto CMS’s Millar promised to globalise the business, targeting expansion in the Middle East, Asia and North America. At the start of 2016 CMS Hasche Sigle announced an outpost in Tehran, making it the first international law firm to launch in Iran after sanctions were lifted on the nation.