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Withers and Speechly decide against merger

Firms agree move would not be in their best interests but say talks enhanced mutual respect

23 May 2013

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Firms agree move would not be in their best interests but say talks enhanced mutual respect

Top-100 UK law firms Withers and Speechly Bircham have both voted against merging.

"Following detailed discussions between the management and partnerships of Withers and Speechly Bircham, both sides have now concluded that a merger would not be in the best interests of both firms and have agreed not to pursue this further," said a joint statement today.

In the original statement about the talks both firms were said to see "exciting opportunities for growth in such a merger".

The deal would have created a huge private client specialist in the UK, with global revenues of £163m.

Following this morning's joint announcement, Michael Lingens, senior partner at Speechly Bircham, said discussions had been "interesting and positive but both sides separately concluded that we should pursue independent paths".

"For Speechly Bircham, that means continuing our strategy of developing our well-established commercial and private wealth practices in an increasingly international context," he said.

"We have recently opened an office in Zurich as part of our focus on international private wealth, and growth in the funds and tax work of our Luxembourg office has just led us to move to larger offices there.

"We intend to open a third office in a major European location this autumn, with a significant team hire. The office will be focused on providing corporate and tax services to a commercial client base in line with the profile of our other offices.

"The firm's management team is already well advanced in developing our independent strategy for the next three years."

Withers has ten offices across Europe, the US, the Caribbean and Asia.

Meanwhile, Thomas Eggar's merger with City firm Pritchard Englefield took effect on 1 May.

The merged firm, which will have a combined turnover of £42m, will be known as Thomas Eggar, with the words 'incorporating Pritchard Englefield' added to the name in the London office.

Ros Ashby, managing partner of Pritchard Englefield, said the firm had been looking for opportunities to grow for a number of years. "We strongly believe this merger is the best way to enable us to deliver an even better offering to our UK and international clients," she said.

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