Coudert Brothers has revealed that it is planning to acquire offices in Spain and Italy by the summer. Jacques Buhart, a partner in the firm's Paris office, says: "We are having merger discussions in Italy and Spain that will become concrete by June. We are negotiating with very substantial law firms in both those countries." He says the Italian practice will handle banking, capital markets and corporate finance work. The Spanish office will carry out corporate finance, capital markets, litigation and project finance work in South America. Buhart stresses that the offices will be "fully-fledged mergers". He says: "In Europe today, with European integration and the launch of the euro, we believe it is very important to have a vertical reach in each major country - not two or three persons, but local lawyers that are integrated in Coudert." The firm has just merged with Frankfurt practice Fiedler & Forster, which becomes Coudert's Frankfurt office. The eight-partner Fie-dler & Forster will complement Coudert's existing office in Berlin, which concentrates on corporate, competition and telecoms. Buhart says: "Fiedler & Forster has major clients that are French banks and companies, and that is important in Paris because we believe there is a lot of room for the development of a Franco-German law firm." He adds that Fiedler & Forster has considerable Chinese expertise, which will combine with Coudert's strength in Beijing. "We expect to represent a lot of German companies in China," he says. Buhart adds that the firm is also having discussions with firms "in several places in Asia" though he would not reveal which countries.