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Moving up: Browne Jacobson targets top-50 spot through merger talks with Beale & Company

Midlands-based Browne Jacobson is in late-stage merger talks with London-based construction and insurance specialist Beale & Co to create a combined outfit with eight offices and a turnover of £82m – putting the firm firmly in the top 50 of the Legal Business 100.

In a joint statement, Iain Blatherwick, managing partner at Browne Jacobson, and Anthony Smith, senior partner at Beale & Company, said the combination, which would have over 1,000 staff and 137 partners, would offer clear strategic benefits.

‘We have been in discussions for some time and can now confirm that we have agreed heads of terms. Our practice areas are highly complementary and we believe there is a strong strategic and cultural fit. Over the coming months, further discussions will take place to agree the steps for bringing both firms together in a merger. No further comment will be made by either firm until those discussions have concluded.’

Browne Jacobson, the larger partner in the merger, has offices in Birmingham, Exeter, London, Manchester and Nottingham, and, in addition to building up strength in London, would gain a presence in Bristol, Dubai and Dublin from the tie-up.

Last year Browne Jacobson announced a 9% increase in turnover to £64m, leading to a 5.5% award to employees as part of its annual performance award scheme. Fee income for Beale & Co stood at £14.7m for the financial year 2015/16.

Key sectors for Browne Jacobson include brands, education, financial services, health, insurance, private sector, public, retail and technology while Beale & Co has strong offerings in construction engineering & infrastructure as well as insurance.