Legal Business Blogs

Norton Rose Fulbright delays Chadbourne merger due to a ‘few material conflicts’

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has delayed its US merger with New York firm Chadbourne & Parke due to a ‘few material conflicts’.

Peter Martyr, global chief executive of NRF, said today in a statement that the combination process included an in-depth review of potential conflicts and as a result some material conflicts had been identified which the firm was working to resolve.

‘We expect our proposed combination with Chadbourne & Parke to enhance our capabilities and add tremendous value to our collective clients.  As we are in the process of working through the technicalities of bringing both firms together, it is premature to discuss any further at this stage. An update will be provided in due course,’ he said.

The merger with the $250m US firm will be NRF’s second North American merger in two years after NRF first entered the US through its combination with Texas practice Fulbright & Jaworski.

The deal will add to NRF’s $1.7bn top line and take the firm up to almost $2bn in total revenue worldwide.

Chadbourne is centred in New York, with a presence in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Istanbul, Dubai and Johannesburg. It has a small insurance-focused offering in London.

Chadbourne has been on the merger hunt before, entering into talks with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in 2015, before talks ultimately fell through later that year.

Meanwhile yesterday (13 June), partners at NRF and Australian law firm Henry Davis York formally agreed to merge, less than a week after it was confirmed they were in late-stage discussions.

The merger will give the combined firm 160 partners in Australia with offices in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. It is expected the merger will go live later this year.