NY firm looks for substantial City merger

New York firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle is holding a beauty parade of three City firms, each with over 200 lawyers, from which it hopes to choose a merger partner.

Managing partner George Kahale III told The Lawyer that the deal had a 40 per cent chance of success and said if he does pull it off, it will explode the myth that a transatlantic merger between US and City firms would never happen.

Earlier this month, Paris and London-based Salans Hertzfeld Heilbronn merged with New York firm Christy & Veiner.

And in July this year, The Lawyer reported that 180-lawyer Curtis Mallet-Prevost was close to a merger with a 50-lawyer City practice.

But the ensuing publicity led to several larger City firms expressing interest in a merger deal, which prompted Kahale to expand his search.

“We had misjudged the level of interest amongst firms,” said Kahale. “We had believed the real interest would be among small and medium sized firms, with 50 to 100 lawyers. In fact, interest is broader and includes large firms with up to 300 lawyers.”

He said his firm was looking for a firm with a significant London-based corporate practice and an international workload of project finance and cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

He said he had been “overwhelmed” by the interest in his firm from larger City firms which followed the article in The Lawyer.