The international firm will pick up Waltons 28-strong legal team, which includes five partners. The merger will add approximately £11m to Kennedys top line, making it a £150m business in terms of revenue when the merger goes through on November 1.
All Waltons staff will move from the firm’s Gracechurch Street offices to Kennedys’ office on Fenchurch Avenue.
Waltons managing partner Chris Dunn will join the Kennedys board and head up a new international team: Kennedys Marine.
The new team will be 30-strong, with 12 partners split between the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Australia and the Americas.
Both Waltons and Kennedys share a similar client base, working with insurers, reinsurers, ship owners and commodities trading companies.
Dunn said: ‘I’ve known many of the partners at Kennedys for nearly 10 years. We work for a lot of the same Lloyd’s syndicates and insurers. This is a merger of two very like-minded businesses.’
Kennedys said the merger was unanimously accepted by both partnerships.
The growth of Kennedys’ City office follows a year of expansion driven by new international offices. The firm has opened five new offices in Copenhagen, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia in the last year alone.
Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) said: ‘This merger is an excellent fit for us making an instant impact in marine insurance and shipping and allowing us to further our growth ambitions in areas where our clients need it.’
In June, Kennedys posted a turnover boost of 7% to £138.8m for 2015/16, with its Asia Pacific offices performing particularly strongly.