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South coast firm Blake Lapthorn has set its sights on a merger as it attempts to bounce back from a dramatic fall in profitability.
Blake Lapthorn is understood to have held preliminary discussions with a number of firms, including West End outfit Finers Stephens Innocent, although both firms stressed that they were not currently in talks.
A source close to Blake Lapthorn said that financial director Andrew Hillman had identified a merger strategy at the end of last year.
But managing partner Walter Cha countered: “Regarding growth opportunities at the firm, the reality is that this is one element of the firm’s strategy, and at the moment there’s nothing in the pipeline.”
Earlier this year (27 July) The Lawyer revealed that the Southampton-headquartered firm had seen average profit per equity partner (PEP) fall by 68 per cent to £65,000.
It is understood that contact with Finers did not progress past exploratory discussions, but widespread rumours forced the West End firm to circulate an internal email denying a merger.
Finers managing partner Paul Millett told The Lawyer there had never been official merger negotiations with Blake Lapthorn, but did not deny having spoken to the firm.