CMS group to pursue US merger as priority

CMS Cameron McKenna and its affiliate firms have agreed to focus on delivering a transatlantic merger over the next year as the European network moves closer to integration

CMS Cameron McKenna and its affiliate firms have agreed to focus on delivering a transatlantic merger over the next year as the European network moves closer to integration.

The CMS group, comprised of ten member firms including Bureau Francis Lefebvre in France and Germany’s Hasche Sigle, got partner backing for the move at the group conference in London on Thursday 14 June.

“We’ve agreed we’re going to prioritise our US initiatives,” said a source present at the partner meeting. “We’re a billion-dollar European law firm and we’re looking at the regions where European businesses invest.”

“We’re looking for a strong national firm that is able to offer us a leading position in the US market as we can offer them a European platform.”

Norton Rose, which operates as a Verein, has yet to find a US merger partner despite its extra weight following the Deacons merger. It has subsequently bulked up its Verein through acquisitions in South Africa and Canada.

However, it is understood that CMS has rejected Australasia as a prime focus.

The source said: “Australia’s not of interest to us. We need to prioritise the States.”

The move marks the latest step in the CMS group’s integration as one strategic entity. Across the entire CMS network, turnover was up 3.9 per cent in euro terms, from €767.9 (£658.7m) last year to €797.5m (£692.1m).

Howver, UK member firm CMS Cameron McKenna revealed a 1 per cent revenue increase for the 2011-12 financial year, posting an increase from last year’s figure of £225m to £227.6m.