WFW in merger talks with Chadbourne

Watson Farley & Williams

(WFW) and Chadbourne & Parke are in merger talks to create a transatlantic projects powerhouse with the aim of dominating the burgeoning energy market.

The Lawyer can reveal that the firms have been in talks to discuss the potential combination since the beginning of this year.

WFW managing partner Michael Greville said: “There are great synergies between the two firms and we’ve been considering a merger.

“I’ve known Chadbourne for quite some time, but the exploratory talks didn’t start until the beginning of this year.”

Charles O’Neill, Chadbourne managing partner, who is based in the firm’s New York headquarters, and Greville are leading the talks, which could lead to the creation of a highly profitable firm in the competitive projects sector.

Chadbourne has 250 lawyers in New York and 40 in London, while WFW has 120 lawyers based in London and 12 in New York.

Greville said: “You can see that they’d benefit from us in London and it would be beneficial to us to have their New York presence.”

WFW has had discussions with other firms about a potential merger, including with Texan energy firm Haynes & Boone, but none have progressed as far as this.

O’Neill agreed that the two firms could be suitable for a merger and confirmed that talks were proceeding. “Although there’s potential, talks are still very much in the preliminary stages,” he claimed. “There have been no decisions made at present and we don’t want to rush the discussions in any way.”

Chadbourne’s turnover stood at $254m (£129m) last year, while WFW posted a revenue of £54m last year.

The combined firm would have offices in energy hotspots such as Almaty, Beijing, Dubai, Houston, Moscow and Tashkent.