The end of A&O’s marathon O’Melveny merger bid reveals the stark choices facing the Magic Circle

The end of A&O’s marathon O’Melveny merger bid reveals the stark choices facing the Magic Circle

This article sits in the news leader slot of our latest issue, but when considering Allen & Overy (A&O) and its epic courtship of O’Melveny & Myers, the defining factor has been the absence of news. Since it emerged last spring that A&O was in merger talks with the Los Angeles-bred firm, there have been bare scraps of information, alongside alternating whispers the deal was/was not on. Finally the resolution came on 2 September, with the pair announcing the end of the talks with the traditional noises about mutual respect.

The reason for the long delay was as much the scale and ambition of the merger as the inevitable complications of bringing 700 partners on side. The looming spectre of a messy ‘no-deal’ Brexit and fresh falls in sterling further strained a delicate situation, probably tipping it over the edge. Not only were the firms aiming for full financial integration upfront – a move never attempted on the scale of a £2.4bn transatlantic union – the aim was to do an immediate merging of governance, leadership and remuneration. Forget vereins and grace periods kicking tricky issues down the road. That all-in approach raised the stakes and logistic issues enormously. Not least it would have involved substantive reform of A&O’s remuneration structure to make it more compatible with a US firm. Continue reading “The end of A&O’s marathon O’Melveny merger bid reveals the stark choices facing the Magic Circle”

Dentons furthers pan-African play as it announces five new local deals

Dentons furthers pan-African play as it announces five new local deals

Dentons is showing no sign of slowing its expansion spree of late, making it ten tie-ups in less than two months after announcing it is to enter another five African countries and add a further 54 lawyers to its ranks.

The 10,000-lawyer firm said it is to combine with a firm each in Angola, Morocco, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia, building on what chief executive Elliott Portnoy described as a strategy to ‘become the first pan-African law firm, owned and controlled by Africans’. Continue reading “Dentons furthers pan-African play as it announces five new local deals”

Dentons to enter New Zealand legal market through merger with 100-lawyer Kensington Swan

Dentons to enter New Zealand legal market through merger with 100-lawyer Kensington Swan

Dentons is to grow its global headcount further past the 10,000-lawyer mark after announcing a merger with 113-strong full-service New Zealand firm Kensington Swan.

The combination, announced today (31 July) and subject to approval by partners, will see Dentons enter the New Zealand legal market, with offices in Auckland and Wellington, nearly three years after launching in Australia. Continue reading “Dentons to enter New Zealand legal market through merger with 100-lawyer Kensington Swan”

Italian legal market consolidates as local champion Bonelli merges with rival Lombardi

Italian legal market consolidates as local champion Bonelli merges with rival Lombardi

The leadership of Slaughter and May’s Italian ally, BonelliErede, claims the firm has moved far ahead of its competitors after the recent takeover of litigation and corporate independent, Lombardi e Associati.

In a significant move for a market traditionally used to schisms, the merger – effective from July – sees Bonelli strengthen its position as the largest of the country’s three champions, growing its lawyer headcount by 70 to more than 500. Continue reading “Italian legal market consolidates as local champion Bonelli merges with rival Lombardi”

Eversheds launches in Chicago and dreams of California in first post-merger US moves

Eversheds launches in Chicago and dreams of California in first post-merger US moves

Eversheds Sutherland has chosen one of the most competitive legal markets for its first US office launch since its transatlantic union went live just over two years ago.

The firm in June opened its seventh US base in Chicago, home to strong Global 100 players Sidley Austin and Mayer Brown, and the world’s highest-grossing firm, Kirkland & Ellis. The focus will initially be on real estate, M&A and litigation, targeting the diversified industrials, technology, media and telecoms, financial institutions and energy sectors. Continue reading “Eversheds launches in Chicago and dreams of California in first post-merger US moves”

Ince Gordon Dadds sees share price fall following critical administrator report

Ince Gordon Dadds sees share price fall following critical administrator report

Merger vital to saving ‘unmanageable’ Ince business, says Quantuma

Newly-merged listed firm Ince Gordon Dadds saw its share price dip to an all-time low of 130p in March, following a damning creditor’s report from administrator Quantuma on the legacy Ince & Co business. Continue reading “Ince Gordon Dadds sees share price fall following critical administrator report”

Embattled barristers sets Arden Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square to merge

Embattled barristers sets Arden Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square to merge

After sharing a turbulent recent history of departures, barristers chambers 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square is merging with housing and local government specialist Arden Chambers.

Arden denied the merger following questions from Legal Business earlier today (21 September), before publishing a statement a few hours later confirming the merger from 1 October. The new set will initially be known as 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square incorporating Arden Chambers. Continue reading “Embattled barristers sets Arden Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square to merge”