Troubled German firm BBLP Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener has held an emergency meeting for its partners to discuss the future of the firm, following Simmons & Simmons' decision to put merger talks on hold.
The meeting, which took place yesterday (29 July), was called to sort out internal problems within the firm so that it can progress with its plans to merge with a UK firm. Beiten Burkhardt approached Simmons last month, despite ongoing discussions with two other UK firms. However, Simmons has called off the talks amid rumours that the BBLP alliance is crumbling. Beiten Burkhardt remains close to the Swiss member firm Meyer Lustenberger, but the relationship with French firm Moquet Borde & Associés and Italian firm Pavia e Ansaldo is waning, and there have been predictions that the alliance will not last out the year. Beiten Burkhardt also faces internal problems following the announcement that private equity rainmaker Gerhard Schmidt and three other partners are moving to the Frankfurt office of Weil Gotshal & Manges. In a separate move, partners Christoph Kuhmann, Christoph Hoebbel and Michael Walther have all resigned from the Munich office and partner Benno Schwarz has quit in Berlin. So far, none of them have accepted offers from other firms, and Beiten Burkhardt is believed to be trying to persuade them to stay. It is understood that Simmons would resume the talks if the internal problems were resolved and Beiten Burkhardt is still believed to be in talks with the two other UK firms. Both Beiten Burkhardt and Simmons declined to comment.