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CMS Cameron McKenna has signalled its intentions to bulk up in Aberdeen with an ultimately unsuccessful bid to take over oil and gas specialist Paull & Williamsons.
Camerons spent several months in talks with the Scottish firm, reflecting the current appetite among major firms for ramping up in the city.
The talks come less than a year after much of Paull & Williamsons’ main competitor in Aberdeen, Ledingham Chalmers, merged with Scottish heavyweight McGrigors.
The talks collapsed last month. The deal would have given Camerons’ upstream oil and gas practice a major boost as Paull & Williamsons has a particularly strong client base among oil field services companies.
The 30-partner Scottish firm also counts BP among its client base, as does Camerons, and in partner Bruce McLeod it features a former BP in-house lawyer in its ranks.
Paull & Williamsons also has a significant private client team, which includes a residential property services practice, but neither are likely to have been attractive to Camerons.
“It is unlikely that there could have been a merger without either significant redundancies or some kind of split of Paull & Williamsons,” said one Aberdeen-based partner.
Neither Camerons nor Paull & Williamsons made any comment.