BM&A quits Affinitas network after Garrigues merger bid

The Brazilian member of Affinitas, the South American alliance led by Garrigues, has left the network to maintain its independence.

Jose Maria Alonso

The Brazilian member of Affinitas, the South American alliance led by Garrigues, has left the network to maintain its independence.

As reported in The Lawyer (2 February), Garrigues wants to merge with the seven members of Affinitas to create a global giant in the Spanish-speaking world.

But Brazil’s Barbosa Müssnich & Aragão (BM&A) has rejected the integration plan and withdrawn from the alliance.

BM&A managing partner Bruno Soter said: “We don’t want our strategic vision to pose an obstacle to the alliance’s expansion plans.”

Garrigues said in a statement that it would move quickly to have an “active presence” in Brazil, adding that Affinitas clients would continue to be handled by BM&A for the time being.

Garrigues managing partner Jose Maria Alonso said: “We’re still working on finding the most appropriate integration methods that will suit everybody’s needs, although there’s currently no merger process in progress.”

Garrigues began its quest for a South American alliance in 2002, after the collapse of the Andersen Network. It is understood that one of the conditions for joining Affinitas was an agreement in principle to a full merger at a later date.

The alliance has member firms in Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru.

Garrigues is holding a meeting in June to discuss the final obstacles to full integration with the seven members of Affinitas.

Garrigues’ key clients are Spanish companies such as Santander and Telefonica, which are undertaking expansion programmes in South America.