Italian merger partner Rossotto's strength in sports law sparks UK merger
Hammond Suddards Edge is to take over sports boutique Townleys. The combined sports practice will comprise six partners and 22 fee-earners in London, making it the largest in the country. The impetus behind the deal came from Hammonds' Italian merger partner Rossotto e Associati. Mike Henley, partner and head of Hammonds' enterprise and technology practice, said: "We've been growing our European presence with mergers in France, Germany and Italy. Rossotto are known for sports work in Italy and we're looking to develop this practice area in all our offices." Henley sees considerable growth potential in sports-related work. "Our problem has been that the clients we've got on the sports side are very hungry and take up our resources," he said. Townleys partner Jonathan Taylor said: "Henley saw that they had a small but very profitable practice. The people they had were straining to exploit the potential in the market." Hammonds gained a foothold in sports work following last year's merger with Edge Ellison. Mainly known for football and cricket clients, the firm has a strong presence in the Midlands. But this has yet to be translated to other offices. Henley said: "One of the important parts of making this deal work is leveraging off it in our regional offices." Stephen Townley, senior partner at Townleys, said that the merger would bring increased financial and infrastructure resources for his firm, while Hammonds will benefit from a new depth of knowledge. Taylor said that Townleys had been constantly subjected to merger interest from a number of firms, but only Hammonds was suitable. He said: "We have a unique culture and we didn't know that we'd mix too well with other firms." He added it was Henley's statement to the firm concerning his ambitions for its future that convinced him of the logic behind the merger. Townley agreed, specifying culture and opportunity as motivating factors. He said: "At the end of the day, I think we liked one another." Hammonds is understood to have allocated significant resources to develop and promote the merged sports practice.