Eversheds opens merger talks with Singapore firm

Eversheds is looking to increase its Asian offering through a merger with Singapore-based firm Harry Elias, The Lawyer understands.

A merger with the 56 fee-earner firm would greatly boost Eversheds’ offering in Singapore. Currently, Eversheds only has an eight-strong team in the country, which is led by regional managing partner Oommen Mathew.

An Eversheds spokesperson said: “Growth in Asia is a key part of our global strategy and we’ll continue to look at opportunities with potential partners including firms with whom we have a strong existing relationship.

“Very often such conversations come to nothing but, because of their very nature, we’re unable to confirm whether discussions are taking place let alone discuss detail.”

Harry Elias specialises in construction, corporate and cross border deals. Last year the firm represented infrastructure development company Barito Limited on its disposal to P99 Holdings in a deal valued at $163m. Managing partner Philip Fong leads the firm while named partner Harry Elias works as a consultant.

Eversheds opened its doors in Singapore in 2009. The office opened with the hire of DLA Piper’s former Singapore managing director Desmond Ong and a total of six lawyers, and was designed to become the firm’s hub in South East Asia.

Last year the firm also expanded its consulting arm, Eversheds Agile, to Asia and rolled the service out across Hong Kong and Singapore. The services launched on the continent with a pool of between 20 and 30 lawyers.

Eversheds has been looking to increase its global presence for some time and in 2014 the firm’s partners voted to pursue a US merger. The firm was recently in merger talks with Foley & Lardner but the talks were called off after the US firm backed out of the deal.