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US merger talks: Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders confirm ‘early’ discussions

Washington-based Patton Boggs and transatlantic top 40 Global 100 firm Squire Sanders are in preliminary merger talks, the firms confirmed to Legal Business today (27 February), with a view to creating a 1,700-lawyer firm with 45 offices across 22 countries.

The confirmation, which comes after widespread reports of the talks across the US legal and financial media yesterday (26 February), stressed that ‘discussions are in very early stages, and there is no assurance that a combination will be completed.’

Patton Boggs is a leading public policy and lobbying firm with nine offices, while Squire Sanders is by far the larger of the pair, with 39 offices across 19 countries, 1,257 lawyers and a 2013 revenue of $774m.

For Squire Sanders, Patton Boggs would bring a powerful Washington presence and strong positions in Dallas, Denver, and Anchorage, as well as a network of offices in the Middle East. Squire Sanders, meanwhile, brings a more complete US presence, as well as strong European and Asia-Pacific positions and a highly ranked Latin American practice.

The talks come a few months after the collapse of merger talks between Texas-based Locke Lord and Patton Boggs, which in 2013 reported a 12% drop in revenue to $278m, and has seen a flight of partners and the upcoming closure of its Newark office.

Squire Sanders, which was formed from the 2011 merger between Squire Sanders & Dempsey and Hammonds, disclosed flat 2013 profits of $803,000.

The statement from the firm added: ‘The firms will not make further statements until it has been determined whether to proceed.’