A&O in alliance talks with Singapore firm

ALLen & Overy has confirmed speculation that it is discussing a joint venture with leading Singapore banking firm Shook Lin & Bok.

Both are reaching the final stages of negotiations to put forward a bid for one of only five licences available from the country's government. If granted, the licence would permit the two firms to work together in future.

The licences, which will allow a foreign and local firm to adopt a shared brand and work in partnership on banking, corporate and financial legal work, are in big demand and competition is strong to claim the limited number that are available.

Clifford Chance, Linklaters & Alliance and Freshfields have also shown interest, as well as a number of Australian firms.

A spokesman for Allen & Overy says: “We can confirm that we are in discussions with a view to such a joint venture with Shook Lin & Bok, but we cannot yet say anything beyond that.”