BLP is in merger talks with Bryan Cave, RollOnFriday understands.
Berwin Leighton Paisner has been looking to merge with a US firm. Last year talks with Greenberg Traurig collapsed because of fears that the far larger Greenberg (whose partners earn twice as much) would demand a painful restructuring of the UK firm. BLP insiders said at the time that a purge of its equity partners would have been on the cards, and they worried that a flog-now, die-later US culture would have turned the place into a sweat shop. BLP partners also didn't like the prospect of Greenberg's black box remuneration being forced upon them, where partners aren't told what anyone else earns and are paid on the basis of year-to-year merit rather than seniority.
|Bryan Cave is waiting.|
There is less chance of that pressure being brought to bear by Bryan Cave, which is half the size of Greenberg. Though it's still considerably larger than BLP, with around 900 lawyers compared to BLP's 500, and revenues in 2015 of £463m versus BLP's £259m.
How likely is a merger? Well, it is one of half a dozen merger rumours that have sailed in to BLP for comment in the last seven days. Last week, RollOnFriday understands, the firm had to bat away suggestions it was in talks with Simmons, Norton Rose Fulbright, Hunters (some US firm) and Kattens (some other US firm). So either it's speed dating firms, it's all bull or BC is the one. Watch this space. Not literally, it would be dull and you probably need to do work and eat.
UPDATE: BLP has confirmed it is in talks with BC. Read more on Friday.