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Linklaters and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek have resumed merger discussions after they broke down over a series of problems six months ago.
A spokesman for the leading Dutch firm said: "We decided last week to get the talks back on. Before that there were no formal discussions or negotiations, but we were working very closely together; and of course, when we work together we talk together. Some trust was built up between the two firms." The spokesman said the firms agreed that the merger would be beneficial to both firms and their clients and that their differences could be resolved. "Our board asked our partners last week if it has the mandate to resume discussions, and the partners said yes," he said. A report commissioned by De Brauw from consultants McKinsey & Company also contributed to the firms' decision to restart talks. There is no timetable as yet, though, as to when the firms will merge. A partner at De Brauw said that cultural issues had scuppered the talks last time around. "If you negotiate from two different cultures, sometimes there are misunderstandings," he commented. "The stronger the cultures, the more difficult it is. "We're clearly a very strong, well-built firm. You have to get the cultures together. I think it will work."