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Ashurst is in advanced discussions to launch in Stockholm as early as January next year through a formal alliance with local M&A specialists AJB Bergh.
The silver circle firm is understood to have been in negotiations with the 16-lawyer Stockholm practice since before the summer.
Partners are expected to vote on the alliance within the next few weeks with the aim of formally launching a combined office in January or February. It would be Ashurst's first office in Scandinavia.
If given the go-ahead the alliance would break with Ashurst's traditional strategy of organic growth in Europe. The firm did reach advanced stages of transatlantic merger talks with Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in 2003, but those talks subsequently failed.
Ashurst has worked with AJB Bergh on several deals in the past, including providing advice to key private equity client Cinven. Other joint mandates have included advising industrial specialist Ashtenne Holdings and its subsidiary Ashtenne Europe on the £27.88m acquisition of 46 properties across Europe in 2003.
AJ Bergh, which is strong in M&A, private equity and real estate law, was launched in 2000 by Jonas Bergh, a former partner at Lagerlöf & Leman, which is now part of Linklaters.