Dentons weighs in on Patton Boggs, Squire Sanders tie-up talks

Dentons has made its second US merger play in under a year, entering Washington lobbying firm Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders’ tie-up talks.

Just three months after the firm called off discussions with US firm McKenna Long & Aldridge (27 November 2013), a spokesperson confirmed it “has made a serious overture to Patton Boggs leadership” to combine.

US lobbying firm Patton Boggs entered merger talks with Squire Sanders last month (27 February 2013), following failed negotiations with Locke Lord at the end of 2013 (20 December 2013).

A tie-up with Dentons would give the combined firm around 90 offices across more than 50 countries and hand Dentons the extra US weight it has been seeking.

A Dentons spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Dentons has made a serious overture to Patton Boggs’ leadership about a combination to form a new firm together.

“We hold Patton Boggs and its lawyers and professionals in high regard, and our interest in conversations between our firms and partners remains high.”

It comes just weeks after Squire Sanders and Patton Boggs first kicked off merger talks. The lobbying firm’s tie-up with larger Squire Sanders would give it 1,700 lawyers in 45 offices across 22 countries and would hand Patton Boggs the international platform its clients are keen to grab (4 March 2014).

It comes amid a period of expansion for Squire Sanders and difficult period for Patton Boggs, which announced 65 layoff in the US last year and also faced a multi-million legal battle.

It is not known whether Dentons waited until talks between the two US firms had commenced to make its own overtures. In November 2013 its talks with McKenna Long were called off a week before the expected vote. Board members from both firms had approved plans for the tie-up at the end of October but were not able to push the deal through.

Squire Sanders is said to be constantly on the hunt for merger – and takeover – targets. With 39 offices across 19 countries, a strong European and Asia-Pacific position the firm has grown by merger and is said to be on the hunt. 

Meanwhile Patton Boggs were thought to have been keen on winning a London office from potential merger with Locke Lord. It was thought that that tie-up broke down due to the firm’s concerns about being swallowed up by the larger firm.

Dentons is also no stranger to mergers, having launched its tripartite merger with Salans, SNR Denton and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) on 28 March 2013 (22 February 2013).